WOOSTER, Ohio – The Wooster Chorus, a music ensemble comprised of students from all academic areas within The College of Wooster, has been selected for a pair of prominent awards, taking second-place in the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music and third-place for The American Prize in Choral Performance (college/university division). Though both of these prizes were announced recently, they were judged on performances from the 2018-19 academic year.
The Ernst Bacon Memorial Award “recognizes and rewards the best performances of American music by ensembles and individual artists worldwide, based on submitted recordings” and it is “focused exclusively on works by American composers from any period and in any style, (as) the contest not only judges performances, but in the case of new or unfamiliar works, the music itself.”
The American Prize in Choral Performance honors go to “the best recorded performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the U.S. at the professional, college/university, church, community, and secondary school levels.”
“We are incredibly honored to be amongst the recipients of this year’s American Prize awards. To be included amongst such seminal programs as Indiana University and Westminster Choir College is a tremendous honor for any choir, and it certainly speaks to the strong work ethic and dedication of our Wooster students,” commented Lisa Wong, the director of the Wooster Chorus and an associate professor of music. “The Wooster Chorus makes a concerted effort to perform the music of living American composers, and it is wonderful to see our performance and programming recognized through these awards.”
For the award applications, Wong submitted 30 minutes of recordings by a range of American composers, including Morten Lauridsen, Jake Runestad, and Eric Whitacre. The Wooster Chorus has premiered works by both Runestad and Whitacre within the last decade.
The Wooster Chorus was founded in 1964 and currently consists of about 65 members. It is regularly praised for its beautiful sound, high level of artistry, and engaging performances. The Chorus presents several concerts both on and off campus throughout the academic year, including a weeklong domestic tour during spring break.
In addition to her duties at the College, Wong is the director of choruses for the Cleveland Orchestra, and due to that connection, members of the Wooster Chorus are given the opportunity to sing alongside the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus at the annual holiday concerts inside Severance Hall. This year, 36 members will be part of the concerts on Friday, Dec. 13, and Saturday, Dec. 14.