COMMISSIONING – Singing Competition draws groups from every division

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by James Anderson, territorial music secretary – 

Leeward Corps Singing Company

It was a beautiful southern California spring morning, blue skies, warm sunshine, as scores of young Singing Company members resplendent in their smart uniforms, eagerly assembled to participate in the biennial Singing Company Competition. Established over 22 years ago by (then) Territorial Music Secretary Bandmaster Ivor Bosanko, this biennial vocal celebration has now become an established tradition and a much looked-forward to event.

One hundred forty-nine young people and 22 leaders representing nine of the 10 Western Territory divisions participated.

Since this was my first experience of the singing company competition, I was not quite sure what to expect but was amazed and delighted at the meticulous attention paid to pre-competition matters of uniform and deportment.

A panel of four distinguished judges and eminent musicians, Lt. Colonel Diane O’Brien (Sierra del Mar), Songster Leader Bruce Freeman (Tustin Ranch), Divisional Music Director Derek Helms (Del Oro) and Pasadena Youth Choir Director Songster Barbara Allen were given the challenging task of selecting the winners. Although called a competition, this event is really all about encouragement, the joy of music and trying to develop in corps young peoples’ singing groups who will regularly participate in and enhance worship. It is also a way to memorize Scripture and internalize the verities of our faith.

The rules of the competition are such that each singing company had to sing two songs, one preset, compulsory song and an “own choice.” This year the preset song was entitled “Children Praise” and was written especially for the competition. The other song had to be selected from previously published Singing Company albums.

When the great moment arrived, an expectant hush descended on the congregation as Allen, chair of the judges, delivered the verdict.

  • Third place: Southern California (Santa Fe Springs – Anna Phrasavath)
  • Second place: Cascade (Pendleton – Shane Halverson)
  • First place: for the last three consecutive competitions – Hawaii (Leeward – Jennie Onitsuka)

There was great excitement as Commissioner Linda Bond graciously presented each group with a participant trophy and Hawaii with their first place commemorative plaque.

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