Chorale to travel to Austria for its first competition abroad

Alexandra McCray

Tonight, the Georgia Southern Chorale will hold “The Journey Begins” sendoff concert in preparation to compete as the only American team at an international vocal competition in Linz, Austria next week.

The free concert will be at 7 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, but the choir will be accepting donations to help cover the choir’s traveling fees. The members will be traveling to Austria from May 29 to June 2 to compete in the International Anton Bruckner Choir Competition. They will compete with 19 other institutions from around the globe.

“The main purpose of the concert on Thursday is to sing in front of an audience pieces we haven’t performed before, so we can get some live recordings of our concerts to send to American Choral Directors Association. We want to get invited to sing at their conference, it’d be a huge deal,” Jacob Furse, Chorale member and senior music education major, said.

“Dr. Jefferys has done this at other schools before, but this is our first time and Georgia Southern’s first time being in a competition,” Furse said.

Southern Chorale will be joined by Fermata the Blue, a vocal jazz ensemble also conducted by Dr. Shannon Jefferys, Director of Choral Activities at GSU.

“The choir has been amazing. They’ve come together and grown so quickly and been very disciplined and worked diligently. Now I feel we’re going to be very competitive. I wouldn’t be surprised if we placed, and of course I’m hoping that we win,” Jefferys said.

After the competition, the Chorale will tour Italy and have the opportunity to perform during High Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on June 8.

“For non-music people, I compare this to the BCS in college football. We’re going to this competition to get on to the world ranking list, which is an international list that rates the best choirs in the world,” Jeffreys said.

The competition has several different levels and categories for the international crowd to fill in, from amateur choirs to professional and state choirs.

Jeffreys said, “It’s amazing how much our administration has supported this endeavor and sees the value for the students and for the university to have our music program recognized at an international level.”