W&L University Singers to Perform at 2021 VMEA Conference Performance at the VMEA conference is the highest honor for a university choir student in Virginia. This is the second time W&L has made VMEA.
The Washington and Lee University Singers, an a cappella choir, will be the featured collegiate performing choir at the 2021 Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) Conference on Nov. 19.
“Being recognized by my choral peers in the state of Virginia to perform at this conference is the highest honor they can bestow on our students,” said Shane Lynch, director of choral activities and conductor of the Washington and Lee University Singers. “I think our participation in VMEA is so important for W&L as it lets us be a vibrant presence in the state of Virginia’s performing arts world. This is the conference for professional music educators in the state, and they treat it as such.”
Initially, Washington and Lee’s choir was chosen to perform in November 2020. However, the conference was moved online due to the pandemic, and the performance ensembles were canceled, thus the group delayed its acceptance until this year.
At this year’s conference, which will be held at the Sheraton Waterside in Norfolk, the group will perform a varied selection of music for about 30 minutes, including the world live debut of Santiago Veros’ “Galaxias.” Veros is an Argentinian composer who was in residency at W&L in early November, helping W&L students prepare for the performance.
The process for selection is highly competitive, and the students have dedicated years to preparation. Choirs submit several years of performance recordings, which are evaluated by a conference committee of choral professionals from around the state.
The committee then proceeds with a blind selection process, listening to the submitted recordings without any identifying information. Typically, there are between 15 and 25 submissions for the college category, with only one selected per year.
This is the second time W&L has been selected to perform at the conference, the first being in 2013.
“When the University Singers made the 2013 conference, it was the first time in the history of the school that a performing ensemble from W&L had been selected for this honor, which says a lot about how far the performing arts have come in the past years,” said Lynch. “Being selected a second time, and in the first time we have resubmitted since that 2013 selection, just shows how the performing arts here at W&L continue to grow and expand in the 21st century.”
Note: Lessons and Carols, the University Singers’ annual holiday hymn performance, will not take place this year because the group will be busy practicing for the VMEA performance. However, there will be holiday pops performances in Wilson Hall on Dec 6 and 7 at 7 p.m.
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