Monday, July 14, 2008
Judging a Fijian choir competition
On the Saturday night of the Fijian Conference at the Shores village in Adelaide there were many performances, skits, cultural dances, action songs, modern gospel songs and four choirs performed anthems to be judged in a choir competition: Sydney/Canterbury, Melbourne/Chadstone, Parramatta, and Dandenong. The Conference was very fortunate to have such an esteemed and knowledgeable singer, Esther King, as judge. On the Sunday the results were announced and her informative explanation of her criteria will be helpful to choirs in the future. Here are her ten main points when selecting winners.
I. Choice of song – that it suits the singers that you have – good soloists, trios, older voices, younger voices.
II. Presentation of the song
III. Pitch is correct and not flat such as singing under the note
IV. Attire – costume and the appearance of the group
V. Dynamics – warm, sharp, movement, interesting shifts
VI. Musical technique – the song is put across to make you believe that the singers mean it
VII. Diction – the clarity of words
VIII. Balance of voices – what should be done – heart, mind, body, spirit. The Kingdom of God is believable
IX. Style – young crisp voices or older voices, high and low voices, all ages and tonality, the ability to project voices. Some experienced choirs have developed their own tonality and style.
X. Lyrics and arrangement – is it a set arrangement or newly composed by a member of the choir? The judge needs to see the score to check pitch and voice parts. Try and write your own music if possible.
So according to these ten points the judge decided upon a winner. All choirs were excellent, looked attractive and sang very well. However, the winners according to the criteria of the judge Esther King (Litia Daveta) were
First: Sydney with 95 points,
Second: Melbourne with 94 points,
and equal Third Parramatta and Dandenong (each 90 points).
Actually my favourite was Dandenong and the soaring soprano soloist Apesai Smith's wife) with the choir, lovely sweet song, very well done. Of course I usually like choirs such as the Choir of Hard Knocks as there is more to singing than perfect pitch!