The Mount St. Mary Academy Concert Belles earned yet another “Superior” Rating at the State Choral Festival hosted by the University of Central Arkansas on April 13. Adding another plaque to an already crowded wall of awards, this year’s chorus received two BEST IN CLASS awards: 2018 6A Best Medium Female Chorus and 6A Best Medium Chorus Overall.
The State Festival by the Arkansas Choral Directors Association (ACDA) invites the best choirs from around the state to come together to make beautiful music, have fun and perform for a panel of judges. To be eligible for participation in the state festival, ensembles and choruses must receive a minimum composite rating of “Excellent” at the region Choral Performance Assessment in early March. The Concert Belles performed three songs at the state festival, two of which they had perfected since the CPA and one new piece, said MSM Choral Director Chelsea Frazier.
“Every single year, people are RAVING over what these girls can do, from the warm-up room to the stage,” said Ms. Frazier, commenting on how much positive feedback the chorus received from choir directors, other high school students and student workers from around the state. “It is such a humbling and rewarding experience, and I want [everyone] to be aware of how amazing these girls are!”
To receive a “Division I – Superior” rating at the State Festival represents “the finest possible performance for the event,” according to the ACDA website. Out of approximately fifteen other choirs within their classification, the Concert Belles received the highest total score, with their superior rating earning the distinction of “being recognized as among the very best.”
This is not the first year the Mount St. Mary Concert Belles chorus has competed against 6A medium choruses from larger schools and come away with Best in Class awards. Because of the school’s size, Mount St. Mary Academy would be considered closer to the Arkansas Activities Association 5A classification, except the all-female status combines enrollment with the all-boys school and increases the classification for choral assessment to 6A — 7A for athletic teams. Still, the Concert Belles have consistently fared well at the state festival; the chorus earned the 6A Best Medium Female Chorus and Best Medium Chorus Overall in 2017 and was awarded Best Medium Female Chorus in 2016.