Chamber Choir recognized as finalist in WASH-FM Holiday Choral Competition


Photo courtesy @WhitmanChoirs Twitter

Whitman’s Chamber Choir after earning a perfect score at an adjudication in March of 2022.

By Ines Foscarini

Whitman’s Chamber Choir earned recognition as a finalist in the 2022 WASH-FM Holiday Choral Competition on Dec. 1 for their rendition of “Jingle Bells.” The group’s performance of the song will continue to air at scheduled intervals on the radio station 97.1 through Tuesday. 

The Chamber Choir achieved finalist status as part of the station’s Christmas High School Choir Competition, which solicits a recorded performance of one out of 15 Christmas songs from music programs across DMV. Community members may vote online for three out of seven finalists through Dec. 6, and a panel of judges will subsequently select a winner from the top three submissions. The winning choir will receive $5,000 for the music program and the school and have the opportunity to perform at The Washington Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 17.  

Whitman’s Chamber Choir is composed of about 30 advanced singers that have taken at least one year of choir. This year marks the first time Whitman’s program has entered the competition. The station required entrants to perform original work not previously submitted as an entry to a competition or won any previous awards. Three weeks after choral director Michelle Kim submitted a recording of “Jingle Bells” to the radio station, WASH-FM selected Whitman’s submission amongst eight DMV schools based on the criteria of creativity and performance. 

“We only submitted a recording at first because we were proud of how well we had prepared and how good we sounded,” said a member of the vocal group Aurora Dainer, a sophomore. “We took the nomination as a recognition of our hard work rather than the validation of it.”

Like Dainer, many members of the choir aren’t competing for the prize but for the chance to be acknowledged for their artistry and dedication, she said. 

“I want to win the WASH-FM competition mostly just to be able to say that we did it,” Dainer said. “The prestige of being recognized by an institution such as WASH-FM as a good choir is something I think a lot of musicians thrive for.” 

While Whitman is home to four other choir groups, the Chamber Choir is the only group that requires students to audition to participate. The choir consistently performs the most difficult songs on the Maryland Music Educators Association scale, and their performances in their adjudications are top-ranked, according to Dainer. In addition to taking the Chamber Choir class, vocalists in the group must also enroll in a second choir class period like Trebles, Tenor/Bass or Advanced Trebles.

For junior Ashley Sharpf, the Chamber Choir is a unique environment that allows students to create music. She is proud that the group achieved recognition as a finalist, she said.

“We work very hard, and auditioning for the competition was a chance for us to prove to not only Whitman, but to basically everyone who listens to the radio, what we are capable of,” Sharpf said. “This is our chance to make our peers, our teacher and ourselves proud.”