Katie Walters, CFNN Editor/Reporter
On Friday, March 6, 2020, the Cape Fear Proficient Choir traveled to Methodist University to perform for MPA. After much dedication and practice, our Colts came out with a Superior rating – the highest possible score!
MPA stands for Music Performance Adjudication. To break it down, choirs and soloists travel to perform prepared works for a selected adjudicator, usually qualified as a current choral director for North Carolina. These adjudicators provide beneficial feedback that the groups can use to help them improve for the future.
They are scored on several factors, such as, “Tone and Technique, Intonation, Diction, Musical Accuracy, Balance and Blend, Artistic Expression, and Presentation,” said Mr. Jason Britt, Cape Fear’s Choral Director. These total together to calculate a final rating, which ranges from I- Superior/Distinguished, II- Excellent/Accomplished, III- Fair/Developing, and IV- Improvement Warranted. The Proficient Choir received the highest rating, I- Superior/Distinguished!
The choir prepared two pieces to perform, Go and Tell John by Lloyd Pfautsch and Aint-a That Good News by William Dawson. Both of these can be classified as traditional choral music. Aint-a That Good News is also considered a spiritual.
Since the choir received a Superior score, they are a distinguished, and well-practiced choir (hence the name, Proficient)! However, there is always room for improvement.
Mr. Britt said, “Both works have their own set of challenges. With Go and Tell John, it was dynamics and change of dynamics. With Aint-a That Good News, it was accents and articulations. We had been working on this music since the beginning of the semester. There’s always room for improvement, and it is evident to me that we can improve the little things; phrasing, articulations, dynamics, response to the director, etc. to make these works even better.”
There are two sections for the choirs to be classified in, Small Ensemble and Large Ensemble. Usually, the Proficient Choir participates in the Small Ensemble and is divided into two smaller choirs, with some students participating in both.
“This is the first time in seven or eight years that we participated in Large Ensemble. A Large Ensemble is defined as 25 or more members in the choir and this semester we have 34. We normally go as two small ensembles created from members of equal ability, but rule changes have prohibited choirs from doing that,” Mr. Britt stated.
As for our soloists, some of the students who wanted to go the extra mile had to prepare a piece of their own, and sing on stage to the adjudicator. These students put in much time and effort, practicing after school and at home. They are judged similarly to the choir, and we had three Colts get a Superior rating for their solos – Matthew Drake, Caitlin Smith, and Joyce Majors!
Matthew Drake, a junior who has performed solos since his Freshman year, said, “I think my solo went good. This year I tried to challenge myself. Usually, I sing songs in English, and I wanted to try something else. So, I sang an Italian piece, and it paid off.”
Lorelei Harr, also a junior who has been going to MPA since middle school, felt that MPA was a huge success. “It’s very rewarding to work hard on something for months and have it pay off at the end of the day. We did a great job, and I’m glad that I’m a part of this group.”
“I am very happy with the rating and the progress of the Proficient Choir,” said Mr. Britt. And so are we!
A big congratulations to the Proficient choir! This was well-earned, and you all deserve it. Keep on singing, Colts!