Award recognizes performance standards, strong organization, and cultural contribution.
Vancouver’s Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, under the artistic direction of Erick Lichte, has won the most prestigious choral award in North America given by the professional association Chorus America. The Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence is an holistic award that recognizes not only the excellence of the recipient’s performance standards, but also its contributions to American and/or Canadian music, and its strong organizational structure and financial stability for a significant period of time. The Award also recognizes the recipient’s commitment to outreach, education, and/or culturally diverse activities. A choir may only win the Margaret Hillis Award once in its lifetime and comes with a $5000 US prize.
Chor Leoni is the first Canadian adult volunteer choir to receive this award, and it tops off a landmark year that includes multiple prizes at the Bali and Singapore International Choir Festivals, a new major commission commemorating the 100th anniversary of the WWI armistice, and a tour to Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
“We sing to more than 15,000 people a year, run a free youth program to inspire young singers, commission music from some of the world’s greatest composers, and work tirelessly to represent Canada in the choral sphere. Amidst all that, our volunteer singers also have lives and jobs,” says Executive Director Stash Bylicki. “I’m thankful to each one of them, and am honoured that their work is being recognized in such a prestigious way.”
“This is a landmark award for any choir to win,” says Artistic Director Erick Lichte. “It recognizes the unique way in which Chor Leoni makes deep, meaningful, and positive change in the world through song. It is also a testament to the choir’s ability to connect and beautify its local, national and international communities. I could not be more grateful or proud of everyone who has helped us attain this honour.”
Bylicki and Lichte will accept the award in front of choral colleagues from across the world at the Chorus America conference in Philadelphia, June 26-29.
About Margaret Hillis
The award is given in memory of Margaret Hillis, founder of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and its conductor for 37 years, for her more than 40 years of professional achievement and outstanding contributions to the choral art.
About Chorus America
Chorus America is the premier choral advocacy, research, and leadership development organization in North America, serving more than 6,000 choruses, individuals, and businesses across the continent.