U singers continue success on local and international scenes

By By John Collins

By John Collins

This year alone, the U Singers have sung in 13th-century churches, enormous underground caverns in Slovenia and the third-largest cathedral in Europe. The U’s top choral ensemble is conducted by Brady Allred, the U’s director of choral studies. Under his direction, and showcasing his compositions, the choir has put itself on the map8212;musically and literally.

Last summer, the singers’ three-week tour of Eastern Europe culminated in the Marktoberdorf International Choir Competition in Germany. It has a reputation in the international choral scene for highlighting the best choirs in the world. All ensembles undergo a rigorous screening process before being invited to compete, which is an honor and a rare opportunity.

“When we were notified of our invitation to perform at the competition, we were also notified that we would be the only ensemble from the United States competing,” Allred said. “My expectation was simply that we would be well-prepared and that we would represent the United States and the University of Utah to the best of our abilities.”

Ultimately, the U took first place in a mixed choir category and third in another. Allred also received a special award for the best interpretation of a 20th-century work (Nancy Wertsch’s “Hail Holy Light”).

With its tremendous success abroad, the ensemble has no plans to slow down. In the next few months, it will be releasing two CDs featuring arrangements from the competition program as well as much of the music it performed throughout Europe.

The singers also recently accepted an invitation to perform at the American Choral Directors Association Western Division conference to be held in March in Arizona. No other U choir has ever been officially invited to the prestigious event. Only five collegiate choirs are represented. In May, the group will again head overseas8212;this time to perform at the Abu Gosh Music Festival in Israel.

Despite the singers’ robust schedule, they haven’t forgotten their home and have several concerts planned for Utah at Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

“While the singers are very excited to travel and sing around the country and around the world, some of our most rewarding musical experiences are had right here at home.” Allred said. “We have a very full and exciting schedule this year of performances right here in Salt Lake.”

[email protected]