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.”
TUCSON, Ariz. – Sophomore wing Josh Shipp grabbed the ball on the left side, rapidly tried to set his feet and launched a 3-pointer. Clink. Or clank. UCLA’s perimeter-oriented offense flows much better when three players are scoring consistently. Guards Arron Afflalo and Darren Collison are doing their part, but Shipp has gone from having a few subpar performances to being in a colossal shooting slump. Heading into today’s contest between No. 5 UCLA and No.19 Arizona at the McKale Center, Shipp said his confidence remains high despite his shooting percentage being so low. “I feel comfortable,” Shipp said. “They’re all right there. A lot of in and outs. I just have to go in the gym and work on that.” Shipp is shooting a horrid 15.8 percent (6-for-38) from 3-point range in Pac-10 play, and made 2 of his last 19 shots from beyond the arc. Since sitting out Jan. 13 at USC with a hamstring injury, he is 3-for-24 (12.5 percent) on 3-pointers, has not reached his season scoring average in any of the nine games, and saw his scoring average drop from 14.7 to 12.8 points. In UCLA’s last three games, he did not score in the first half. “Josh is tantamount to our success,” Howland said. “Having him out there has been key to our success all year long. Even though he may not be shooting as well as he’d like right now, we’re not winning if he’s not playing.” Afflalo had five first-half points at West Virginia but finished with 27. He scored 15 points in the first half against Arizona State, but was scoreless for the first 15 minutes of the second half. Such scoring rushes and droughts have been part of Afflalo’s season, and Howland said part of the reason may be the minutes Afflalo is playing. In addition to carrying a scoring burden, Afflalo is UCLA’s best defender, and often draws the opposition’s top scorer, like he will today in Arizona’s Marcus Williams (16.7 points per game). Afflalo is averaging a team-high 32.4 minutes per game, including 33.8 per game in Pac-10 play. “It’s a lot of minutes for anybody, especially somebody who plays so hard on the defensive end of the floor,” Howland said. “And he’s incredible in that respect. He’s not ever trying to pace himself. Sometimes that may affect his offense a little bit because I’m asking him to do so much, but that’s just the way it is. I’m much more comfortable with him on the floor.” So will Howland cut down Afflalo’s minutes? “Probably not,” Howland said. INJURY REPORT Power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (eye), point guard Darren Collison (shoulder) and center Lorenzo Mata (hip) all came out of the ASU game fine and should play today. CONTROLLING ALFRED Within moments of entering a game, UCLA backup enter Alfred Aboya is an odds-on-favorite to commit a foul & Or four. The 6-foot-8 Aboya has been productive lately, averaging 7.3 points and seven rebounds in the last three games. However, keeping on the floor is an issue, and was against Arizona State. He is averaging a foul every 6.4 minutes of action – the reason he is playing just 16.5 minutes per game. At ASU, Aboya fouled out in 19 minutes. One foul came 90 feet from the basket and another was on a hold during an inbounds play, which was set up by another Aboya foul. So what did Howland tell Aboya? “It’s not smart. We need you in the game,” Howland said. “It’s hard for him because he’s so aggressive. He plays so hard. It’s not like he’s not trying to do what I want him to do. He just errs on the side of aggression, which, if you’re going to err on one side of the other, is where you want him to err on.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!