The fourth season of western New England’s premiere celebration of choral tradition concluded with the much-anticipated Together In Song Regional Choral Awards, where the seven top groups from this season (listed below) SANG for a chance to win their very own television special on WGBY-TV. The overall top performer was the Amherst Regional High School Chorale.
The Together in Song Regional Choral Awards Finalists:
Elementary/Middle School: Hampshire Young People’s Chorus Chamber Singers
High School: Amherst Regional High School Chorale
College: The Smithereens
Adult: Non-Classical: Chill Harmonics
Adult: Classical: Schola Nova
Voters’ Favorite: Kurn Hattin Homes Select Choir
Voters’ Favorite: Strike a Chord!
Joining series host Kevin Rhodes, Conductor/Director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, as co-hosts for the special live awards broadcast were Rus Peotter, General Manager of WGBY-TV, and “red carpet” correspondent Zydalis Zayas, WGBY-TV’s Senior Community Engagement Associate.
Judges for the live Regional Choral Awards were Clifton “Jerry” Noble, Jr, Joseph Schwantner, and Jane Hanson. Their scores, along with votes tallied live from your viewers, determined this year’s top group! Congratulations to our top performer, the Amherst Regional High School Chorale.
As in past seasons, the live broadcast concluded with a special performance that included members from the season’s 39 choral groups. The show was a spectacular showcase of our region’s best choral talent! In addition to being broadcast live on WGBY, the show was also streamed live over the internet and can be viewed in its entirety here.
In addition to our support for the 4th season of Together in Song from MassMutual and The Community Foundation, additional support for the finals was provided by The New England Farm Workers Council and McClelland’s Florist. We also want to thank the following for their help with the live broadcast:
- WGBY Volunteers
- Mark Todd & Holyoke High School
- Terry Larsen
- Wayne Abercrombie
- Kayla Werlin
- Falcetti Music
- Dinn Brothers Trophies
- Partners in Community
- City of Springfield
- Springfield Police Department
- American Convention Services
- Marie Waechter
- Dan Harrington
- Jim Gallerani
- Valet Park of America
- Taylor Rental of Holyoke
Jane Hanson has a singular mission: Joy and Excellence through the Performing Arts, providing an ideal balance of passion and technique. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in voice and choral conducting from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass) and the Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music, respectively. She served on the faculty of the Dept. Of Music and Dance at UMass. from 1999-2001. She went on to found her own company, The Proficient Musician (now part of Jane Hanson Productions), which is dedicated to providing exceptional skills-based professional development opportunities to music educators and performers. She has taught voice to students of all ages and abilities, from amateurs to professionals, in any and all genres — from musical theater to opera to heavy metal — technique is technique! Her former students can be found at top music conservatories across the country, on national Broadway tours, and on album covers featured by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Ms. Hanson served for six seasons as conductor and director of the Keene Chorale, a ninety-voice community choir in Keene, New Hampshire. Ms. Hanson has been fortunate to music direct and conduct many wonderful projects, including a presentation of Paula Kimper’s opera The Captivation of Eunice Williams at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., a performance of Kimper’s opera The Bridge of San Luis Rey, PACE Theater’s hip-hop-inflected version of “West Side Story”, Pioneer Valley Ballet’s 40th Anniversary Concert of Cole Porter, and Keene Chorale’s 30th anniversary celebration concert, featuring Beethoven’s Mass in C and Choral Fantasy. She has enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration with the Northampton Community Music Center (www.ncmc.net), through which she has been able to offer Solo Vocal performance Classes for teens, among other programs.
Due to health issues, Ms. Hanson is currently on hiatus from her professional musical activities.
Clifton “Jerry’ Noble, Jr.
Composer/pianist Clifton “Jerry” Noble, Jr. was born in 1961. His father taught him to play piano and guitar at age 5, and encouraged him to write music shortly thereafter. He earned degrees from Amherst (BA 1983) and Smith (MA 1988) Colleges, and has served as the Staff Accompanist at the latter institution for 25 years. His compositions and arrangements include vocal, choral, chamber, and orchestral music and he has been commissioned by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Holyoke Civic Symphony, the Longmeadow Chamber Music Society, the Assabet Valley Mastersingers, the Canticle Singers of Baltimore, saxophonist Lynn Klock, the choral societies of Smith, Amherst, and Mt. Holyoke Colleges, the Mak’hela Chorus and many more ensembles throughout the United States. His choral music is published by Treble Clef Music Press, Warner-Chappell Music Publishing, and Artisttec, Inc. A CD of his sonatas for violin and piano was released by Gasparo records in 2006. The CD “Connections,” containing music he has written for Lynn Klock was recently released by Albany Troy. An avid traditional jazz pianist, Jerry has also recorded 9 CDs with clarinetist Bob Sparkman, improvising their way through the American songbook, and he recently played on Kelson Smith’s “Comfort Zone” CD. Visit him on the world wide web at www.cliftonjnoblejr.com or www.bobandjerry.com.
Known for his dramatic and unique style and as a gifted orchestral colorist, Joseph Schwantner is one of the most prominent American composers today. He received his musical and academic training at the Chicago Conservatory and Northwestern University. He has previously served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, the Eastman School of Music and the Yale School of Music.
Schwantner’s compositional career has been marked by many awards, grants, and fellowships, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his orchestral composition “Aftertones of Infinity” and several Grammy nominations. Among his many commissions is his Percussion Concerto, commissioned for the 150th anniversary season of the New York Philharmonic and is one of the most performed concert works of the past several decades. Christopher Lamb, soloist in the recent Naxos recording of Schwantner’s music by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra received a 2012 Grammy Award for “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” with Schwantner’s Percussion Concerto. Schwantner is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
In January 2007, the League of American Orchestras and Meet the Composer announced that Schwantner had been selected as the composer for the second cycle of the nation’s largest commissioning consortium of orchestras: Ford Made in America. Schwantner’s work, entitled Chasing Light…, received its world premiere with the Reno Chamber Orchestra in September 2008 and was performed over sixty times by orchestras in all fifty states.
Other recent commissions include works for the 75th anniversary of the National Symphony Orchestra, eighth blackbird, Flute Force, the Galax Baroque String Quartet, a Concerto for Percussion Section, Timpani and Orchestra for the Percussive Arts for the Society’s 50th anniversary performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and a recent work for chorus and orchestra commissioned by Northwestern University.
Schwantner’s music is published exclusively by Schott Helicon Music Corporation and recorded on the RCA Red Seal/BMG, Hyperion, Naxos, Koch International Classics, EMI/Virgin, Sony, Delos, New World Records, Klavier and Innova labels.