Association of Canadian Choral Condutors

Association of Canadian Choral Condutors

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spiritus Wins Two Prizes at Prestigious International Choral Competition

The award-winning Spiritus Chamber Choir, Calgary, has capped a memorable first international tour with a tremendous showing at a prestigious international choral competition in Europe.

Spiritus earned second prize in the mixed voices category at the 40th Florilège Vocal de Tours international choral competition, held May 27-29, 2011 in Tours, France. The competition attracts some of the best choirs and vocal ensembles from around the world. Spiritus was the only choir from Canada – and one of only three from North America – invited to participate in this year's competition.
“It was a thrill for our choir to perform for an international audience!” says Artistic Director Timothy Shantz. Earning an invitation to this competition was a victory in itself. Winning second prize and the Ministry of Culture prize was an added bonus.”

France's Ministry of Culture awarded Spiritus a €1600 prize for the best performance of a work by a French composer. The choir won the award for its performance of Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur's Epithalame, from the suite Le Cantique des Cantiques.

“I am very proud of our choice of Daniel-Lesur’s music for this tour,” says Shantz. “Epithalame really became a kind of signature work for our performance tour. Having our performance of this piece recognized by an international jury was a thrill.”

Spiritus was in Tours on its first international tour, which included stops in Paris and Dijon. The tour included a 30-minute performance at the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

As part of its tour repertoire, Spiritus commissioned pieces by Calgary composers: Cold Spell by George Fenwick, Alberta Autumn and Intruders by Georgina Craig, and Quiet by Allan Bevan, which was also performed in competition. Fenwick and Craig are both choristers with the choir.

“It was a goal of mine to be able to represent Calgary on tour,” says Shantz. “To be able to perform music by Calgary-based composers was critical to our role as cultural ambassadors.”

The choir maintained a blog of its journey ( and posted a few performances from the tour on YouTube.

Since its founding in 1995, SPIRITUS has enriched the Calgary and Canadian choral scene with performances of high-quality choral repertoire and has released a number of recordings. Its most recent CD, Of Stars and Solitude, was released in May 2010, the same month that Spiritus was named a winner in the 2010 National Competition for Amateur Choirs by the Association of Canadian Choral Communities. Past conductors include David Wilson, Janet Youngdahl and Pierre Simard.

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