Southwestern Michigan College’s 30-member Select Voices won the collegiate category at the eighth annual Detroit Spiritual Festival Jan. 23-25.
SMC’s singers were invited to be the closing choir for the winners concert on Saturday.
“Our students have never sung with more energy, intensity and spirit than they did on Saturday night,” Director David Carew said. “They received standing ovations after every piece.”
“Our singers were met with such appreciation and kindness, which has renewed a level of commitment and raised the bar of minimum expectation. This choir is not the same group of students that left SMC on Friday morning,” Carew said. “I have heard several of them comment on how glad they were that they chose SMC and are deeply appreciative of having this opportunity.”
Carew said this “transformative event” hosted by the United Voices of Detroit Choir at Bushnell Congregational Church in Southfield combines workshops and concert sessions.
Competition took place all day Friday and Saturday morning and included categories for high school, college, community and church choirs.
Each ensemble prepared three selections and sang for a panel of four judges, including university conductors, arrangers and performers.
Dr. Robert A. Harris, a Detroit native, for example, is a choral composer and Northwestern University professor emeritus whose works have been performed in South Africa and Europe.
Carew said SMC finished two points shy of a perfect score.
“Our main adjudicator was Dr. Marvin Curtis, assistant dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences from IUSB,” Carew said. “Several of our students were able to speak with him about transfer options.”
There were several schools from the Detroit metropolitan area, including the Detroit School for the Arts, which offers one of the best choral programs in Michigan.