Congratulations to Katrina Abreu, Lisa Occhino and all of the Westhill HS Chamber Singers on Winning the Gold Cup in the International Choir Competition in Verona, Italy
April 27th, 2009 by Jamie

Westhill HS Chamber Singers Win Gold Cup
in International Choir Competition in Verona, Italy


On April 20th, 2009, the Westhill High School Chamber Singers returned from
Verona, Italy, with a prestigious Gold Cup after competing against the top
choirs from around the world at the 20th Annual International Choral
Competition. Under the musical direction of Jonathan Curri and accompanied
on piano by Josh Sette, the elite choir of twenty-seven Chamber Singers
received an overall “ottimo” (excellent) rating and the top four highest
scores among thirty competing adult and high school choirs as scrutinized by
a panel of six judges evaluating intonation, rhythm, dynamics, presentation,
vocal technique, balance, voice quality and performance. On April 17th at
3:00 pm at Verona¹s Teatron Nuovo, the Chamber Singers performed four songs
in English, German and Latin including Die Nachtigall (Mendelsohn), Witness
(Halloran), Wie Lieblich (Brahms) and Ave Maria (Biebl). The opening
ceremonies were held at Verona¹s Teatro Filarmonico on Wednesday, April
15th, followed by the competition at the Teatro Nuovo on April 17th, and the
closing reception with all participating choirs gathering at the Arena Di
Verona (a Roman amphitheatre built in 30 A.D.) for a final group singing of
Va Pensiero, Ode to Joy and Amazing Grace.

“With the art and music budget cuts, this competition was truly a labor of
love by all the students and parents who devoted months of rehearsals and
fundraising efforts to make this trip possible,” explains Mr. Curri. I
have known and musically trained some of these talented young vocalists
since they were in sixth grade at Cloonan Middle School, and now to have an
opportunity to see them be part of this win in their senior year is an honor
and joy that far exceeds my expectations.

This international event was a cultural learning experience that gave
opportunities for Stamford students from all economic sectors and
nationalities to expand their knowledge of music, art and history as well as
interact with vocalists from around the world. Their travels included Lake
Garda, Lasize, Venice, Vigasio, Verona and Florence with excursions to view
famous masterpieces like Michelangelo¹s David, Venice¹s gondolas, St. Mark¹s
Basilica, monuments, churches, theatres, Roman arenas and Piazzas among
others. The choir also sang at other venues such as at a mass at Florence¹s
Basilica di Santa Croce and in a church at the quaint village of Vigasio
where the priest was so overcome with emotion by the eight-part harmony of
Ave Maria that he requested an encore met with a standing ovation by the
townspeople. Afterwards, the singers interacted with the Italian community
and with local teenagers as they enjoyed a reception with homemade risotto
and desserts. At any given time, the competing international choirs would
cross paths on the streets in various cities and break into impromptu
sing-a-longs and friendly “sing-offs.” At one restaurant in Florence that
happened to have a piano, the Chamber Singers were inspired to start playing
and singing to the delight of the management and its patrons.
The students described the trip as the experience of a lifetime, with
memories and lessons that changed their view of the world, expanded their
personalities and talents, and inspired new friendships and dreams. Videos
and photographs of the event will be posted on the Chamber Singers website

One Response  
  • debbie schoenfeld writes:
    April 28th, 20091:52 pmat

    I don’t know any of the members of the Chamber Singers but I must send sincere congratulations for their efforts and for their fabulous gold prize! The whole experience in Italy was conveyed so well, and sounded so special. Thank you for conveying that to all of us reading Jmie’s website. Very inspirational.

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