Post updated at 12:12 p.m. Wednesday, July 12:
Members of the top choir at the University of Kansas are heading back home soon after traveling to Greece for a competition and festival, where they earned a clean sweep in both of their categories as well as surprise awards for the best overall program and best conductor.
KU Chamber Choir, the most advanced audition-based choir at the university, won first place in mixed choir category and the free category at the Preveza International Choir Competition in Preveza, Greece, according to a KU School of Music news release. The choir sang songs in several languages — such as Estonian, Latvian and Latin — all memorized. (Visit this article to read more about the Chamber Choir’s preparation ahead of the trip to Greece.)
Choirs from countries including Greece, Israel, the United Kingdom, Italy and more convened in Preveza to formally compete as well as sing on the streets of the town. Out of choral programs from around the world, KU Chamber Choir was deemed best overall program, according to the release.
Additionally, Eduardo García-Novelli, KU’s director of choral studies and the Chamber Choir conductor, was named best conductor of the competition.
“We are enormously proud of the KU Choirs and the incredible work of our choral faculty of Eduardo Garcia-Novelli and McKenna Stenson,” Interim Dean Paul W. Popiel said in the release. “This is just one more example of their remarkable efforts in recruiting and building our choral program over the past few years, and their unwavering commitment to teaching. Our KU choir students have worked diligently for the past several months and we are so proud of their accomplishments on this world stage.”
Outside of their successes during the competition, Chamber Choir members were submerged in culture and new sights, according to the release. They sang in the Preveza community as part of the festival aspect and explored other parts of Greece, such as Athens, the capital.
Following one of the competition days, KU Chamber Choir bonded with a choir from Slovenia after realizing they knew the same song. A video of the two choirs joyously singing together in the street was posted on the KU School of Music’s Facebook page.