During its first appearance in the national competition, the Saint Mary’s Women’s Choir earned second place in the American Prize in Choral Performance competition in the college and university division in October. The contest recognized the College choir as one of nine finalists for the award. Conductor Dr. Nancy Menk said her group set a precedent for an all-women’s choir placing near the top at the competition. “We were the first women’s choir to place in the top three,” Menk said. “That was an honor.” Menk is a professor of music, director of choral activities and the Mary Lou Judd Leighton Chair in Music at the College. She also serves as conductor and music director of the South Bend Chamber Singers, which also competed for the American Prize and placed among the top eight finalists in the community division. “I am proud of both choirs,” she said. Founded in 2009, the American Prize honors outstanding choirs that submit recordings to be reviewed. There are six categories: professional chorus, college or university level chorus, community or faith-based chorus, secondary school chorus, youth chorus and children’s chorus. The Women’s Choir, currently comprised of approximately 45 students, has performed across the country as well as internationally and recorded four CDs. For the competition, the Women’s Choir submitted a CD entitled “Anima mea,” Latin for “My soul.” The CD includes a number of relatively current, 20th– and 21st-century songs. Senior Ashley Stopczynski credited much of the group’s success to Menk. “Dr. Menk ensures that we get a well-rounded choral experience by including upbeat, slower and different styles of music,” said Stopczynski. Stopczynski said its “Anima mea” CD is a testament to the choir’s talent, an excellent tool for sharing that talent with others. “Dr. Menk makes it a point to give a good example of women’s choral music to younger singers,” Stopczynski said. Menk and Stopczynski both said being an all-female choir did not give them any kind of edge in this competition. “A good choir is a good choir,” Menk said. Stopczynski agreed, but she said the group is still unique. “I actually don’t think women choirs get enough recognition for the beauty of the sound,” she said. “However, being the only female group to win is an amazing experience. … It’s wonderful to be recognized for the work we put into our music.”
By Greg SoukupEAGLE, Neb. (Sept. 2) – The winners of the last two Sprint Nationals ran 1-2 in Friday’s qualifying feature for this year’s IMCA EMI RaceSaver Sprint Car event.2014 champion Jack Dover led defending king John Carney II across the stripe in opening night action at Eagle Raceway. Chad Wilson and Shon Pointer completed the top four. One hundred and seventeen cars vied at the fourth annual Nationals.“I got a really good jump at the start from fourth. Actually, it was an awesome jump,” Dover said following the $700 checkers. “We set up for a slick track, and after they farmed the track it worked in our favor.”“I can’t wait for the Race of Champions and getting to start on the pole Sunday,” he continued “Hopefully we can bring home the win.”Dover led the opening lap with Andy Shouse, Luke Cranston and Wilson rounding out the top four. Dover pulled ahead to a straightaway lead by lap five.Lap eight saw Pointer move into fourth and two laps later, Wilson advanced to second. Carney jumped up to the third spot as Shouse fell back to fourth.Dover started encountering heavy traffic shortly after that, allowing his pursuers to close in. Dover ran high, low and wherever he had to in order to slice and dice around the lapped cars.With nine laps left, Carney advanced to second and moved in on Dover. Carney needed just three trips around the oval to move to within Dover’s push bumper but try as he may could never complete the pass.Saturday sees the second night of Sprint Car qualifying for Sunday night’s big show plus the Jake Ita Race of Champions.The main event pays a minimum of $2,500 and as much as $5,000 to win.Qualifying feature results – 1. Jack Dover, Springfield; 2. John Carney II, Lubbock, Texas; 3. Chad Wilson, North Richland Hills, Texas; 4. Shon Pointer, Grand Island; 5. Jason Martin, Lincoln; 6. Andy Shouse, Mustang, Okla.; 7. Trevor Grossenbacher, Hickman; 8. Blake Robertson, Visilia, Calif.; 9. Adam Gullion, Lincoln; 10. Kevin Ramey, Fort Worth, Texas; 11. Luke Cranston, Holcomb, Kan.; 12. Jake Bukak, Arvada, Colo.; 13. Toby Chapman, Panama; 14. Gregg Bolte, Lincoln; 15. Dusty Ballenger, Harrisburg, S.D.; 16. Michael Day, Greenville, Texas; 17. Jaremi Hanson, Dillsburg, Pa.; 18. Tyler Russell, Abbott, Texas; 19. Gene Ackland, Martell; 20. Stuart Snyder, Waverly.Bubak won the “B” feature. Justin Melton, Flower Mound, Texas, won the “C” feature. Chris Kelley, Oklahoma City, Okla., won the “D” feature. Dan Satriano, Papillion, won the “E” feature. Doug Lovegrove, Waverly, won the “F” feature. John Ricketts, Burleson, Texas, won the “G” feature.Heat winners were Cranston, Robertson, Snyder, Carney, Ramey, Chapman, Ballenger, Martin, Dover, Wilson, Russell, Gullion, Grossenbacher and Pointer.Race of Champion heat winners were Ty Williams, Arcadia, Okla., Gullion, Robertson and Martin.