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High School Choirs Shine at Prestigious Festivals

Oak Ridge Rhapsody ChoirCONROE, TEXAS (March 8, 2023) – Conroe ISD’s six comprehensive high school choirs delivered outstanding performances at the 2023 American Classic Madrigal and Chamber Choir Festivals.

Oak Ridge, The Woodlands College Park and Caney Creek High Schools competed at the 5th Annual American Classic North Texas Madrigal and Chamber Choir Festival at Messiah Lutheran Church in Plano.

The Oak Ridge Rhapsody (pictured), under the direction of Thomas Kang, received a Superior Rating First Division Award, placed first overall in their division and were named the 2024 Honor Choir to be featured at next year’s event.

The Woodlands College Park Rhythm ‘n’ Blue, under the direction of Erin Bodhaine and Ben Horton, also received a Superior Rating First Division Award. The Caney Creek Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ren Robertson, earned the Newcomer Division Rising Star Award.

The Woodlands, Conroe and Grand Oaks High Schools competed at the 52nd Annual American Classic San Antonio Madrigal and Chamber Choir Festival at University United Methodist Church in San Antonio.

The Woodlands Chamber Choir, under the direction of Patrick Newcomb, received a Superior Rating First Division Award and were named the second runner-up. The Conroe Cantare, under the direction of Evan Key, Emily Eisterhold and April Devin, and the Grand Oaks Chamber Singers, under the direction of J.R. Smith, each also received a Superior Rating First Division Award.

The festival is open to mixed choirs of 32 singers or fewer. A three-judge panel evaluates each performance and provide both ratings and written comments, as well as rank each choir’s performance in order to designate first place and first, second and third runner-up. Following the performance, each ensemble participates in a clinic with a nationally-recognized university choral conductor.

The history of the event began in 1972 when Mary Ann Winden founded the Roosevelt Madrigal Festival with the sole purpose of encouraging quality performances of chamber repertoire in a collaborative atmosphere. American Classic hosts music festivals across the state, as well as domestic and international music tours.