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Elora Festival Singers up for a Grammy

The Elora Festival Singers and conductor Noel Edison have been nominated for a Grammy Award.The local choral group is nominated for a 2010 recording of the music of Eric Whitacre, in the "Best Small Ensemble Performance" category."It's an overwhelming vote of confidence that the singers have done well, and an honour to be in such prestigious company with the others that have been nominated," Edison said."Regardless of the outcome, I am looking forward to attending the awards in February," he said.Released by Naxos, Eric Whitacre: Choral Music features the Festival Singers performing the Nevada composer's music – not traditional church choir pieces, but with secular texts by poets like Emily Dickinson, E.E. Cummings and Octavio Paz. Whitacre credits The Beatles, electronic music, and his mentor Bruce Mayhall as inspirations for his music.The release marked the first time a choir has produced an entire CD of the composer's works.Also nominated for the Grammy in the same category as the Festival Singers are The Sixteen performing Music for the Tudors; The Tallis Scholars for Victoria: Lamentations of Jeremiah; Trondheimsolistene – In Folk Style; and Hesperion XXI and La Capella Reial De Catalunya for Dinastia Borja.Released just before this year's Elora Festival in the summer, the CD quickly started receiving great reviews from classical music critics around the world."Eric Whitacre's choral works have been generously surveyed on disc, but only a handful of choirs have yet devoted an entire recording to his music. He couldn't have more luminous or illuminating interpreters than the Elora Festival Singers, a choir that I've heartily praised in the past and that deserves the same recognition here…" says Classics Today.The sound in St. John's Church in Elora where the recording was made is "well-nigh perfect," says Audiophile Auditions' Steven Ritter. "It was also very good programming to include just a few pieces that make use of piano or percussion … as it breaks up choral monotony and adds a delicate sense of color to distract one's ears briefly. As an introduction to Whitacre's art this can hardly be better."The American Record Guide's Lindsay Koob says: "None of this is easy to sing, but the Elora Festival Singers shine here from start to finish. Along the way, they deliver whatever Whitacre calls for: from hushed, crystalline vocal transparency to shrieking power. Excellent recorded sound reveals their every note and nuance…"The Toronto Star's John Terauds said, "Listen, and be seduced by 61 minutes of 21st century choral bonbons, as rendered by one of Canada's finest professional choirs and their founding music director of three decades, Noel Edison."The 53rd annual Grammy Awards will take place in Los Angeles at the Staples Centre on Sunday, Feb. 13, with the highlight awards broadcast live through CBS. The classical award presentations are not usually part of the TV show, although winners are often listed onscreen.Meanwhile, back in Centre Wellington, the Singers had a great success with the annual "Village Messiah," the traditional Christmas oratorio by Handel – despite the snowy weather on Dec. 12."The best I have ever heard," and "I can't believe how incredible they sounded," were some of the comments from the audience after the show, says marketing manager Julie Denneny.Moved to Knox Church in Elora this year, the Singers' Messiah maintains the intimate atmosphere local audiences have come to enjoy, and uses members of the choral group as the piece's soloists.The Singers other winter concerts, three performances of the "Festival of Carols" Dec. 21 and 22 are all officially sold out.

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