Some of the world’s most beautiful voices were heard during the recent Grand Prix of Nations in Magdeburg, Germany. Among those earning the top honors at the esteemed choral event were talented singers from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music.
UH’s Moores Concert Chorale returned home from this festival and competition with the World Championship in the Youth Choir category. The chorale – led by professor Betsy Cook Weber – also earned gold awards in several categories including pop, jazz, youth choir and folk.
Works performed in Germany included country standards, folk classics and spirituals. The group also delivered classics from composers Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck and Francis Poulenc. During its championship performance, the group offered “I Saw Eternity” by longtime friend of the chorale – and UH professor – David Ashley White.
"We were honored to have been accepted into the Grand Prix of Nations competition," Weber said. "It was a great experience singing and competing with other beautiful choirs from around the world. We are gratified by the competitive results and are so grateful to the many, many patrons, donors, alumni and colleagues who contributed to our successes. Finally, we are happy to have had the opportunity to contribute to the record of outstanding, world-class achievements that are taking place in every corner of the University of Houston."
Weber’s passport has quickly filled up with stamps in the past six years. Since 2009, she has led the Moores Chorale to four international events. During each outing, the group has earned the acclaim of global audiences, as well as awards and accolades.
In 2013, the group received first prize and the award for best interpretation of a religious work at the International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany. Two years prior, Weber and the chorale ventured to Tours, France for the Florilege Vocal de Tours. At that event, they received second place in the competitive Mixed Choir category and were honored in the Best New Creation category for White’s composition “I Cannot Live With You.” During its first international competition, the 2009 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Weber and the chorale took first place in the Chamber Choir category.
"All of us in the Moores School and the University of Houston are so proud that our choral program continues to distinguish itself as one of the premiere programs in the world," said Andrew Davis, director of the Moores School of Music. "Congratulations to Professor Betsy Weber and all of our fine students on this magnificent achievement."
The Moores School of Music is one of the premier music schools in America. Offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, it serves approximately 600 students annually. Areas of study include composition, conducting, performance, theory and musicology. Its faculty consists of internationally recognized performers, composers and scholars. Among its ensembles are the Moores School Symphony Orchestra, Moores Jazz Ensemble, Moores Opera Center, Concert Chorale, Concert Women’s Chorus, Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. A majority of the school’s concerts are performed in the 800-seat Moores Opera House. For more details on the Moores School of Music, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/.