Southwestern Michigan College Concert Choir and Director David Carew finished second in the Detroit Spiritual Festival collegiate division.
Westminster Church of Detroit hosted the 2017 Detroit Spiritual Festival Jan. 26-28.
This was SMC’s second appearance, again securing a spot in the closing Winners’ Concert, which featured top high school choirs from the competition such as Detroit School of Arts and Ohio’s Bowling Green State University Concert Choir, which won in 2016.
“The festival not only provided an excellent performance experience, but also interest sessions in the historical significance and deeper meaning of the traditional spiritual,” Carew said. “This trip provided an excellent opportunity for our students to raise their level of performance in a friendly competitive atmosphere, as well as build a stronger sense of community among themselves and singers from other school districts. Several high school students approached our students about Southwestern Michigan College.”
The event sponsored by United Voices of Detroit included solo and choir performances and competitions.
First place went to Voices at BGSU Ladies Ensemble.
Christopher Carter, founder and executive director, was quoted as saying, “The ladies were all really excited. I almost cried when I heard the news. We competed against Southwestern Michigan College Choir. They sounded really great, so when we heard the news we were proud of what we had accomplished.”
Featured clinicians included Detroit native Dr. Lori Hicks, Associate Professor of Voice and Opera at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., since 2009 and lyric baritone Dr. Robert Sims.
Hicks earned a doctorate from the University of Michigan and her master’s degree from Bowling Green, which enrolls about 17,000 students. She wrote her first composition at 14.
Her performance, teaching and composition career encompasses a wide variety of genres, including opera, gospel, spirituals, R&B, soul, jazz, musical theatre and techno.
Sims is a Gold Medal Winner of the American Traditions Competition who has given recitals throughout the United States, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Sims toured Japan with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, where he was featured in a nationally-televised performance of Bernstein’s “Opening Prayer.”
He has appeared with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and performed on the “Hour of Power” broadcast internationally from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.