May I make a few comments on your recent story of the local choir Shallaway being awarded top marks at the prestigious Bella Bartok International Choral Competition in Hungary. I write not as a musical specialist but as the proud grandfather of one the choir's members.
The Camerata Ensemble sang its farewell concert at the D.F. Cook Hall on July 22, leaving next day for Hungary. The test pieces they would sing in Hungary were in Hungarian, so hours and hours of extra practice had been needed to make sure that the choir’s command of the Hungarian language would be as near perfect as possible — it was amazing.
No Canadian choir before Shallaway’s Camerata Ensemble had ever got past the first round of this competition, so Camerata’s achievement in moving on to the second round was very significant. Congratulations to conductor Kellie Walsh and all others responsible!
In the first round Camerata received two standing ovations, and in the second round it got three. Here in St. John’s, a standing ovation is really not all that surprising — it happens frequently. But in Europe, audiences do not often give such ovations. For example, when, in 1996, the Holy Heart Chamber Choir (conductor Susan Quinn) travelled to the 25th International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna, where it won the Gold Medal and the City of Vienna Trophy, it was the only choir to receive a standing ovation.