Winthrop University: Winthrop Choirs Place Third in National Music Competition
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Winthrop Choirs Place Third in National Music Competition

October 13, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Winthrop University Chamber Singers won 3rd place in the Choral Performance – College/University Smaller Program Division.
  • Inspirar won 3rd place in the Community Division. Inspirar is relatively new, having formed in 2021, and made up of mainly Winthrop alumni and others affiliated with Winthrop.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA—One thing music faculty member Jeremy Mims frequently tells his students: “Let’s not be boring.”

“I’m always preaching, ‘There are a lot of boring choirs out there; don’t be one of them,’” said Mims, director of choral activities and associate professor of music at Winthrop University. “Getting the right notes? A lot of choirs can do that. 

“But the passion and the way in which our singers here perform – it’s inspiring. We strive to tell a story with our performances versus just standing on the risers and singing.”

That passion and talent rang clear and true for The American Prize, an organization that recognizes the best in music across the nation. The American Prize recently announced:

*Winthrop University Chamber Singers won 3rd place in the Choral Performance – College/University Smaller Program Division. The Chamber Singers is a 24-student ensemble specializing in a cappella and chamber music from Renaissance music to selections from the 20th century. You can watch one of their performances here

*Inspirar won 3rd place in the Community Division. Inspirar is relatively new, having formed in 2021, and made up of mainly Winthrop alumni and others affiliated with Winthrop. You can watch one of their performances here.

Both groups are directed by Mims. 

Mims said the journey – from collecting videos of their various performances, submitting them, hearing they were finalists and now finally winning – has been a long, but fun one.

“They [the students] were really excited; they were sharing it on their group chat,” Mims said. “In rehearsal, we all said we plan to work harder to continue this kind of progress.”

‘Rising above bigotry and violence’

Mims believes both groups’ musical selections make them stand out from other nominees. They perform everything from pop song arrangements such as “True Colors” to spiritual hymns to traditional Latin selections. 

“Thematic concerts can take audiences on a journey of some aspect,” he said. “We’ve been singing about hope and offering hope to the world, rising above bigotry and violence.”

What’s next?

Mims will submit more recent performances for the next year of The American Prize’s competition categories. The chorale will also tour the Upstate and continue recruiting. In addition, the Department of Music hosts the South Carolina all-state choir competition each year. He also hopes they can return to Carnegie Hall in New York City. Contributions to the Winthrop Chorale Travel Fund can be made at www.winthrop.edu/advancement.

Either way, Mims finds inspiration in song – and the student-singers. He recalled several years ago handing out a piece of music to students and instructing them to learn it before auditions. 

“Those 24 students went into a small practice room and had already learned the piece of music by the next day – together,” he said. “Our tradition song, ‘Flight Song,’ speaks to the journey that we take in song. Our flight begins together in song.”

For more information, contact Mims at 803/323-2250 or at mimsj@winthrop.edu

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Last Updated: 10/19/22