MSM choral ensembles receive top scores at state festival

After the regional Choral Performance Assessment and State Choral Festival were both canceled last spring due to the pandemic, the Concert Belles and Harmony Belles were more than ready to showcase their talent in this year’s Arkansas Choral Directors Association (ArkCDA) events. Their hard work and dedication during a challenging year paid off as both choral ensembles qualified for the 2021 State Choral Festival at which they both scored all superior ratings and earned the highest scores in the state for their respective categories. The 25-member Concert Belles received Best in Class awards for 6A Medium Treble Chorus and 6A Medium Chorus Overall. The smaller Harmony Belles, with just five members, received Best in Class awards for 6A Small Treble Ensemble and 6A Small Ensemble Overall.


“I cannot explain just how excited, impressed and proud I am by the success of the Concert Belles and Harmony Belles this year,” said MSM Choral Director Chelsea Allman. “I get to hear these girls soar in class every day, so I am certainly not surprised. However, to have their talent affirmed by trained adjudicators and fellow musicians is incredible.”


Both events were held virtually this year, requiring participants to submit audio recordings in lieu of the traditional in-person performances. The Concert Belles and Harmony Belles each submitted two songs in March’s regional Choral Performance Assessment and qualified for the State Choral Festival in April by earning superiors ratings for their entries. The same process applied for the state event, except that the groups were each able to submit recordings for three songs.


“What impresses me the most is that these two groups were able to pull this off in the middle of a pandemic,” Allman said. “It has been really hard to make good music happen this year. We did not have a normal rehearsal, performance or procedure, but these girls stepped up despite all of the obstacles. I am especially proud for my senior choir members; they wanted success at CPA and State more than anyone, and they definitely deserved it. I am thrilled they were able to accomplish this and take back a piece of normalcy.”


To receive a “Division I – Superior” rating at the State Choral Festival represents “the finest possible performance for the event…worthy of the distinction of being recognized as among the very best,” according to the ArkCDA’s website. The Concert Belles have regularly received all superior ratings and Best in Class awards. However, this is the first year the Harmony Belles, a relatively newer group at Mount St. Mary, have earned such recognition. They advanced to the State Choral Festival for the first time in 2019.


Congratulations to Mrs. Allman and our 2020-2021 award-winning, best-in-the-state choral ensembles:


Concert Belles: Gabriella Angtuaco ’23, Blythe Bozeman ’21, Lillian Brooks ’23, Olivia Cordell ’22, Anne Marie Coy ’21, Fran Edwards ’21, Layne Edwards ’23, Abby Ellis ’21, Vivian Fischer ’23, Maya Henry ’23, Allie Keene ’21, Caroline Lauer ’21, Gracie Limmer ’22, Patty Logan ’21, Belle Mentgen ’23, Grace Moody ’24, Mari Negrete ’22, Beatrice Nkunga ’23, Cabe Parrish ’21, Grey Parrish  ’23, Sophia Parrish ’22, Elizabeth Pellicciotti ’22, Reilly Principe ’21, Camilla Ricaurte ’22 and Natalie Vailes ’22


Harmony Belles: Ella Burdine ’24, Aubree McCullough ’24, Taylor Moore ’24, Neaven Nichols ’23 and Clara Principe ’24


In addition to the group accolades, 23 Belles earned All-Region and All-State recognition for their exceptional singing ability this year. According to the ArkCDA’s website, the selected students represent some of the finest musicians in the state.


2020-2021 All-State Choir members: Grace Moody, Beatrice Nkunga, Cabe Parrish and Reilly Principe


2020-2021 All-Region Choir members: Gabriella Angtuaco, Blythe Bozeman, Olivia Cordell, Anne Marie Coy*, Fran Edwards, Layne Edwards, Abby Ellis, Vivian Fischer, Allie Keene, Gracie Limmer, Patty Logan, Aubree McCullough*, Belle Mentgen*, Mari Negrete, Grey Parrish*, Sophia Parrish*, Clara Principe, Camilla Ricaurte and Natalie Vailes


*qualified to audition for All-State Choir


Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.