UND Concert Choir wins 2014 American Prize in Choral Excellence


Kate Menzies

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UND Concert Choir wins 2014 American Prize in Choral Excellence

The University of North Dakota's Concert Choir is singing a sweet tune after winning the 2014 American Prize in Choral Excellence.

The award recognizes and rewards the best performances by choruses in America based on submitted applications.

"It's an incredible honor," said Joshua Bronfman, director of UND's Concert Choir. "We rehearse almost every day and sometimes the daily grind of fixing this little thing or that can get to you. To be recognized for our work really puts things in perspective."

The UND Concert Choir has been representing UND throughout the United States and around the world since 1961. In 2012, the UND Concert Choir was selected to perform at the North Dakota and North Central American Choral Directors Association conferences, receiving standing ovations at both. The group also recently traveled to Cuba, where they performed with the National Choir of Cuba and Coro Exaudi.

The Concert Choir comprises 50 talented vocalists, about 60 percent of whom are music majors, and 40 percent are non-music majors, studying subjects such as aviation, education and engineering.

Not only does this award bring prestige to the UND Music Department, Bronfman said, but it also benefits the University as a whole.

"It really speaks to the world class music making that is going on here," he said. "I think sometimes the UND Music Department sometimes does not get the respect it deserves. We have our supporters, sure, but when folks come and visit us, or hear one of our choirs, they are surprised by the size of the department, the quality of the music making and the excellence we demand from our students."

Bronfman spoke of the sheer size of UND's Music Department and its diverse offerings in terms of programs of study.

"I think people don't know this about us and hopefully this award can help to get the word out about how we do things here," said Bronfman.

The Concert Choir performed a number of different pieces from the last 500 years of choral music for their submitted recording.

One judge commented, "The Concert Choir's consistency and ability to so perfectly maneuver a series of complex cluster-chords with such grace and poise is a testament to their musicianship."

Though it's their sound that helped the judges take notice, Bronfman claims it is the group's dedication and hard work that got them the award.

"The members of the Concert Choir make very generous sacrifices of time, energy and money to be a part of this group, and without these gifts from the students, this choir wouldn't be where it is," said Bronfman.

Kate Menzies University & Public Affairs student writer

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