|The Westminster Chorus|
|Position Reached||Vegas Round|
In March, 2002 a group of five young barbershoppers met to discuss forming a new chorus, a chorus composed of other young singers, as a means of involving more of their peers in singing barbershop harmony. New director Terry Ghiselli approached the old Westminster chapter with an idea. Since the Westminster chapter’s membership had dwindled to eight active members and they had not competed in almost 10 years, how would they feel about letting a group of young guys create their own chorus under the chapter’s charter? The leadership and current members could not have been happier and offered their support in any way possible.
The chorus grew and evolved over the next few years, always both benefiting from and suffering by their core attribute: youth. Musical learning came fast and the high energy performances always thrilled audiences, yet behind the curtain issues of organization, attendance, and funding were constantly dragging and hindering the chorus in realizing its aspirations and dreams. Yet the many growing pains were endured and surmounted, and by the District contest of 2005 the chorus members and the audience alike where amazed at what a force the sound had already become – with potential to ring still truer with more hard work and dedication. Now 45 strong, the chorus won the contest and received excited praises from both local fans and the society abroad.
The next great achievement of the Westminster Chorus culminated in the summer of 2006 at the International contest in Indianapolis. Now under the direction of Royce Ferguson, the chorus was riding a new tide of momentum with 56 strong on the risers. Taking the stage with no especial expectations, the young chorus dazzled and touched the giant audience of 10,000 at the Pacer’s enormous basketball stadium in Indy 2006. The indescribable excitement was felt by the entire convention when the young chorus was awarded the second place Silver Medal, coming in only 17 points behind the 160 man Vocal Majority chorus from Texas. 1
The Westminster Chorus' audition in Episode 203 consisted of singing together as a group. Sharon Osbourne, David Hasselhoff, and possibly Piers Morgan all voted "Yes," sending the group to the Vegas Round.
It is unknown whether or not The Westminster Chorus was present during the Vegas Round as they were never seen. But even if it was, the group did not progress to the Semifinals.
After the Show
The chorus quickly regrouped after realizing their own potential and widespread fan support to chase the great Barbershop Society dream: a chorus Gold Medal. The chorus embarked on taking a new and fresh approach – a challenge to the status quo would be needed to make musical history. Great mentors and coaches were brought in to help and guide the chorus. The chorus arrived 63 strong in Denver. When the moment came to announce the new 2007 champion chorus, the stilled tension in the stadium exploded in shouts and gasps – an exact tie for first place. It was announced that in such cases the tie-breaker is the winner of the ‘Singing Category’. The bright, clear sounds of the young and committed group were rewarded – Westminster Chorus was crowned the new 2007 International Champion.
The 2008 year began with new director Justin Miller guiding the championship chorus onward. Barbershop Harmony Society rules mandate that the champion chorus must sit out the international competition for three years after winning. The chorus prepared to return to the International stage in Nashville not to compete, but rather to offer their best wishes to the current competitors.
In July 2009 the chorus traveled to Wales, UK to compete in the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Festival. The Westminster Chorus was named the 2009 ‘Choir of the World’ Pavarotti Trophy winner. Click Here for more info.
Regardless of what their individual preference of music includes, members of the Westminster Chorus come from all walks of life for one purpose: To sing at a very high skill level and enjoy the company of young musicians who share this goal. 2