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IWA Choir Shines in 2021 TPSMEA Concert Contest

The Incarnate Word Academy Choir is known throughout the school for creating beautiful melodies. And even though this school year created several challenges due to the pandemic, their voices lifted high in song raised school spirits, and captured the attention of judges at the 2021 Texas Private Schools Music Educators Association (TPSMEA) Contest.

The choir received an overall rating of II (Excellent) in the contest for their "Heart and the Joy of Singing" concert. The program included Orlando di Lasso's "My Heart is Offered Still to You," "Heart, We Will Forget Him!" with music by Laura Farnell from the poem by Emily Dickinson and Greg Gilpin's arrangement of the "How Can I Keep From Singing?" featuring a solo by Sofia Garza '21 and piano accompaniment by Aaron Hervey.

"Heart and The Joy of Singing," performed by the Incarnate Word Academy Choir, Joshua Wilson, director.

The contest, usually held in person, was online this year, with choirs submitting recordings of their concerts to the judges. In addition to the choir concert, which you can watch above, six soloists entered the TPSMEA Solo & Ensemble contest online.

Zoe Yokubaitis '23 and Iman Haddad '23 both received a rating of II (Excellent) on their solos. Denise Walsh '24, Katie Dickinson '24, Elise Potier '22 and Sofia Garza '21 earned a rating of I (Superior) on their solos. The four will receive medals for their accomplishment.

"In this long season of Covid, choirs were hit particularly hard, as we had our outlet of creative sharing taken away from us," said Joshua Wilson, IWA's choir director. "In-person concerts have not been a possibility, and even singing together was a great challenge due to the need for masking and distancing, as well as the realities of hybrid and online learning. The IWA Choir was never all in the same place at the same time until well into the second semester this year, and we still had to sing with the use of masks and distance, making the process of becoming a unified voice a very difficult one. And yet - and yet! - these tenacious, energetic, dedicated young women musicians never complained, never gave up, and showed up every morning ready to sing their best under whatever circumstances we had to face. As the words of our closing song from our Contest set say, 'How can I keep from singing?' They took this spirit and truly inspired me through this year. I couldn't be more proud of their work, and I am looking forward to everything they have to share with the world as we emerge from this season into a brighter future!"

In addition to its concert, the choir also submitted two ensemble works for competition. The performance of Tomás Luis de Victoria's "Duo Seraphim" earned an Excellent rating from the judges, while the ensemble rendition of Orazio Vecchi's "Let All Who Sing Be Merry" received a Superior rating.

"Duo Seraphim," Tomás Luis de Victoria. Featuring Sofia Garza '21, Iman Haddad '23, Zoe Yokubaitis '23, Sarah Popeney '22, Claire Garcia '22, Emily Green'22, Persia Fombin '22, Emily Quin '22, Ana Sofia Bello '22, Gabby Mamaradlo '22, Felecia Gonzalez '21, Alessa Elkareh '22, Mel Horner '22, Clarissa Flores '23, and Elise Potier '22.

"Let All Who Sing Be Merry," Orazio Vecchi. Featuring Sarah Edwards '23, Reese Mason '24, Eleanor Seaton '24, Reagan Hucke '23, Courtney Hall '24, Katie Dickinson '24, Alexia Nanquil '24, Flinn Burrell '24, and Denise Walsh '24.

"It's wonderful to see our choir recognized like this!" said Andrea Smith, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, IWA's principal. "These young women have beautiful voices and we're so grateful they chose to share their gift of song with our community. And we truly appreciate Mr. Wilson's dedication to this artistry."

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