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Chamber Singers shine at international competition

  • Chamber Singers1
  • World Choir Award
    Dr. Greg Detweiler, left, and Holly Nibert accept the award for the MSU Chamber Singers
When it comes to awards, the Morehead State University Chamber Singers might be the unsung heroes of the University’s prestigious Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. During the summer, the Chamber Singers accomplished something that put the group in the spotlight on an international level.

The group traveled to Cincinnati to perform and compete in the World Choir Games, the largest choral competition in the world featuring 345 choirs from 64 countries performing during 11 days from July 4-14.

While the Chamber Singers are featured performers in popular MSU events, the group had never attempted singing on a competitive level. It was senior vocal music education major and soprano Holly Nibert who first proposed the idea to Dr. Greg Detweiler, director of choral studies and associate professor of music. It was the first time this bi-yearly contest was held in North America and Nibert thought she and her fellow singers were capable of competing with the very best.

Financial contributions from the MSU Foundation, the dean of the Caudill College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences and an anonymous donor covered the expenses to send all 17 singers to Cincinnati.

“When we got there, I think it was kind of a shock to everyone,” Nibert added. “We were like, wow, it’s like the Olympics. We really are competing here.”

In the Mixed Chamber Choir Open Competition, a division for chamber choirs without previous experience performing for international competitions, the group was required to sing choral music that reflected different foreign countries and its home country. The program required the group to sing in Italian, Hungarian, Spanish and English. The five-person panel, featuring judges from Hungary, Russia, China and Lithuania, handed out gold, silver and bronze medals to reflect the singing group’s rating with one group winning the entire category. Not only did the Chamber Singers receive the division’s only gold medal, it won the entire Mixed Chamber Choirs Open Competition category.

“I think for the individual students, it was life-changing. They realized if they put the effort into it, the sky is the limit for what they can achieve in life,” Detweiler said. “I think they are going into this school year expecting a whole new level of achievement and, hopefully, they motivate other students to accomplish more.”

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