Hailed as the Event of the Year, the Third California International Choral Festival & Competition, the biennial Festival expects sell-out performances based on 2007 and 2009 attendance

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – The 3rd California International Choral Festival & Competition (CICFC) is setting the stage for another lively and spirited competition on the beautiful central coast of California. The 3-day festival and competition, hosted by the San Luis Obispo Vocal Arts Ensemble, takes place June 24, 25, 26, 2011 and features international and national choirs vying for awards and accolades.  Audiences can expect to hear the best works from each choir which includes a performance that features costumes, native instruments and choreography. A panel of distinguished judges will award prizes for the general choral sound, rhythm, style and other technical areas.  Audiences can vote for their favorite choir for the “People’s Choice Award.”  The competitions will take place at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center on the campus of the California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

2007 and 2009 Re-cap l The inaugural CICFC in 2007 was a success with sold out performances and exuberant audiences and the 2009 Festival enjoyed the same reception.   Choirs from Finland, Uganda, Spain, Macedonia, Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, and the United States participated. The community embraced the visiting choirs, taking them into their homes; playing tour guide to area attractions and having them perform at area churches.  As patrons put it:
“Of the many arts events we’ve been to, the Choral Festival is by far the most memorable… exciting and moving.   We’ve been telling everyone we know about it.”
“You did it all.  I have to think this was the event of the year in SLO…I can’t think of anything at CICF 2009 that wasn’t buffo!”

2011 Choirs l   The original intention of the Festival was to invite mixed (male and female) adult choirs.  But in 2009, as the buzz spread about the Festival, organizers had applications from both all-male and all-female choirs.  In order to increase the quality and the diversity of the Festival and offer the audience the widest possible experience, single- gender choirs have been accepted to the Competition.  The participating mixed choirs will also have the opportunity to break out their male or female sections to compete with same-gender choirs.  An additional competition may be added at a later date to accommodate the choirs who wish to participate.

The choirs are accepted to participate in the Festival on the basis of their submission of an audition CD evaluated by Gary Lamprecht, Artistic Director of CICFC and the Festival Steering Committee. “We have heard some exceptional recordings of choirs this year,” says Lamprecht.  “The 2011 Festival will indeed expand our reputation as a world- class Competition because of the unusually wide range of choirs that have been accepted to participate.  It serves our objective to bring the power and passion of the universal language of music to our community for their appreciation and enjoyment.”

Choirs that have committed to the 2011 CICFC thus far include the following:

Pektoral, Kyiv, Ukraine  • Andriy Karpinets, Director
Pektoral ‘s creative energy focuses on the treasures of Ukrainian vocal music and works by international composers. The choir participates in festivals and competitions both at home and abroad, and has given guest performances in Norway, Slovakia, Estonia and Lithuania.  They have just released two CDs of their music.

The University of Redlands Chapel Singers, Redlands, California • Jean-Sebastien Vallee, Director
It was a great honor when The Chapel Singers were selected to perform for the 2010 California Music Educators Association convention. They have toured nationally and internationally and this year, celebrate their 45th anniversary of sharing music with many audiences.

Christ the King Church Choir, Kampala, Uganda  • Louis Sekyewa, Director
The Choir has performed for His Majesty the King of Buganda Kingdom and for other important dignitaries. They have been invited to sing at music festivals in Kenya, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and Rwanda, and were audience favorites during  the 2007 California International Choral Festival & Competition.

Riverside City College Chamber Singers, Riverside, California  • John Byun, Director
In 2009, the Chamber Singers garnered prizes in the Eisteddfod Choral Competition in Wales, including 1st place in the Mixed Competition.  They were only one of five college choirs selected to perform for the 2010 American Choral Directors Association National Conference.

Lembaga Karsa Cipta Indonesia,  • Gita Menaka Kumentas, Director
Lembaga  is dedicated to introducing, promoting and preserving the cultural wealth of Indonesia. It provides an opportunity for young people to channel their artistic talent and the choir hopes in these efforts to strengthen friendships between countries.

Sola Dei Gloria, Fresno, California  • Julie Carter, Director
The all-women’s chorale derives its name from the practice of Bach who inscribed many of his compositions with the Latin phrase, Soli Del Gloria which means “to God alone be the glory.”  They are committed to excellence in the performance of diverse and challenging choral literature.

Bangelus Choir, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo • Jaebets Bakala, Director
“The Angels” is the translation of “Bangelus” and their focus is to perform music of love, peace, charity and equality among people. They have won prizes from the Arts and Cultural Ministry in Brazzaville for their performances and are in great demand for special events and festivals.

Extensive biographies for each choir can be obtained at www.CaliforniaChoral.org.

Judges l Returning as judges are Professor Christian Grube, William Hatcher and Dr. Ginger Covert Colla.  Professor Grube is Professor for Choir Conducting at the Berlin University of Arts and former Director of the famous Boys’ Choir, the State and Cathedral Choir of Berlin. Because of the diplomatic influence of his work, in 1995, Grube was awarded the National Medal for Distinguished Service, the highest civilian honor given by the German government. Professor Hatcher retired in 1999 from the University of Iowa after 43 years of conducting and teaching choral music. He was the recipient of both the Howard S. Swan Award and Weston Noble Award for lifetime achievement by the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Dr. Colla  is an adjunct professor for Modesto Junior College. She holds the title of Professor Emeritus at California State University, Stanislaus where she was Professor of Music Education and Director of Choral and Vocal Studies from 1986-1999. Colla received the California Music Educators

Association Award as the Outstanding Choral Music Educator in 1989 and was honored with the Howard S. Swan Award for Choral Excellence by the California ACDA in 2004.

Performance Schedule l The performance schedule for the 2011 California International Choral Festival & Competition is as follows:

Friday, June 24, 6:30 p.m.  Opening Night Bash!
Patrons are invited to a celebration of the opening of the Festival to meet the visiting choirs’ directors and to enjoy refreshments.  This new event is held in the upper lobby of the Performing Arts Center.

Friday, June 24, 8:00 p.m.   Ready, Set, Sing!
The Festival begins with the introduction of the visiting choirs who will sing a patriotic song from their country.  Next, the San Luis Obispo Vocal Arts Ensemble performs the final concert of their 2010-2011 Season with a program of American music, and ending with a welcome song in each choirs’ native language.

Saturday, June 25, 10:00 a.m.  Required Pieces Competition
The Required Pieces is the first day of the competition.  Each choir performs the same two pieces of music while the judges listen for their strengths.   The concert is FREE and audiences may come and go during the performances.

Saturday, June 25, 8:00 p.m.  Folk Song Competition
This is the most colorful evening of the competition.  Each choir, dressed in native costume, performs folk music of their country.

Sunday, June 26, 1:00 p.m.  Choir’s Choice Competition
Each choir chooses a 12-minute program of their finest music to perform.  The competition showcases the choirs’ unique styles and musical skills in the final competition of the Festival.  At the end of the concert, audience members vote for their favorite choir.

Sunday, June 26, 8:00 p.m.  Grand Finale & Awards
The Festival & Competition concludes with the awards ceremony, honoring the winning choirs in each category.  The first, second and third place winners sing selections of their choice.  For the grand finale, all choirs join together for the performance of All Breathing Life by Bach, Ave Maria by Lauridsen, and are joined by the one-thousand people in the Performing Arts Center to sing “This is My Song,” from Finlandia by Sibelius.

Tickets l Ticket prices for all events are $20, except for the Required Pieces concert which is FREE and open to the general public. Tickets for all performances/competitions can be purchased for a 10% discount by calling 1.888.223.2787/805.756.2787 or walking up to the Performing Arts Theater box office. All concerts are at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center on the Cal Poly campus. Single tickets to each performance/competition will go on sale April 1, 2011.