After being invited to the 2019 World Youth Choral Festival on Jeju Island, South Korea, in mid-July, the Cantabella Children’s Chorus earned the prestigious top honor — the Grand Prix.

The Tri-Valley’s Cantabella competed against 11 choirs from the United States, China, Hong Kong and Korea. After two days of rehearsals and competitions, the top-performing choirs were selected to enter the Grand Prix phase of the competition on the third day. On top of receiving the Gold Medal in two categories — Sacred and Secular — Cantabella was selected as one of the choirs for the Grand Prix competition.

Despite the excitement of the Grand Prix phase, the Cantabella singers were feeling the strain of both jet lag and the competition’s hectic schedule. Director Eileen Chang and tour manager Joy Tsai also struggled to muster the energy and morale required to excel during the Grand Prix competition.

However, everyone ultimately carried the intensity and high standard of performance to the Grand Prix. Maintaining focus and top competition form paid off, as Cantabella was selected by the adjudicators as the 2019 Grand Prix Winner. Each Cantabella member was called up to the stage to be presented with the trophy as the Grand Prix winner and to receive the well-earned congratulations from all of the adjudicators.

Taking home the Grand Prix trophy and the Gold Medals was exciting, but as one choir member put it, “At that moment, I didn’t care whether we would win or not, because our performance just felt right and other things no longer mattered.”

That was the real highlight of the competition — the moments of musical awareness and synergy that the Cantabella members shared.

Eileen Chang, artistic director of Cantabella Children’s Chorus, is proud of the results at the competition, and equally proud of the way the Cantabella singers kept working to improve, and continued to find new depths of musicality during the entire competition.

“Cantabella singers earned the Grand Prix with their hard work and have had the memorable experience of working together to achieve a level of performance previously unknown to them,” Chang said. “They are wonderful.”

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