Choir groups win awards during Spring Break tour

Pim Otero

The Wolverine Chorus, Chamber Singers, Bel Canto, and Jazz Singers won a total of seven awards, as well as one solo award for Benny Weisman ’15 at the Heritage Festival in Santa Clara during the past week.

The all-male Wolverine Chorus won Gold Rank first place in Men’s Choral Division IIIA and an Adjudicator Award. The Adjudicator Award is given when the choir receives above a score of 95 during a judged performance.

“For each choir, one of the adjudicators would come up on stage and critique us on the spot, and seeing how they nitpicked at small things in our performance—meaning they had nothing really bad to say about our performance—made me think that we were successful,” Juliet Nguyen ’16 said.

The Women’s Festival Choir (a combination of all female choristers)  also won a Gold Rank First Place in Women’s Choral Division IIIA, while the Harvard-Westlake Festival Choir (a combination of students in Chamber SIngers, Bel Canto, and Wolverine Chorus), won Gold Rank First Place in the Coed Division, as well as an Adjudicator Award.

“I think we were all a little nervous, because most of us started learning new music two weeks prior to the trip,” Nguyen said. “But we managed and I think we did pretty well for our situation.”

A Choral Sweepstakes Award was awarded to the all the competing Harvard-Westlake choirs as a whole. In order to win the Choral Sweepstakes Award, the two highest scores amassed throughout the competition (through performances any choir within one school) were combined, and whichever school had a total score closest to 200 points won the award.


“We were all elated and excited,” James Hansen ’16 said. “At the time, we were just finishing three incredibly fun but very tiring days, and the awards were a welcome bolt of energy.”

The last award, the Outstanding Choral Group award, was given to the Harvard-Westlake Festival Choir for their overall performance during the competition. The choir that wins the Outstanding Choral Group award is chosen by a majority vote by judges presiding at the competition.

Weisman won the Maestro Award for his solo performance of “Offertory” from Faure’s requiem, which he had only sung through twice (during rehearsal and another competition). It had been previously performed by Will Hariton ’15 during the Spring Major Works concert, but Weisman was chosen to perform it during the tour.

“It was kind of stressful because I didn’t realize the song had to be memorized, so the whole time I wasn’t really able to focus as much on the musicality because I was hyper focused on getting all the notes and rhythms correct,” Weisman said. “But in the end I was really happy with how it turned out.”

The trip took place during Spring Break April 7 through 12, where students traveled via bus to Fresno, Sacramento, Santa Clara and San Francisco. Along the way, the choirs visited attractions such as the amusement park California’s Greatest America and performed at the California Senate Building, the Santa Clara Heritage Festival, Fresno State University, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Clovis High School and Sacramento State University. The students returned