Westminster Choir strives to be people’s choice

By Lauren Lavelle

Conductor Joe Miller leads the Westminster Choir during the January tour Homecoming Concert in Richardson Auditorium in Princeton.
Conductor Joe Miller leads the Westminster Choir during the January tour Homecoming Concert in Richardson Auditorium in Princeton.

After eight nominations and six wins, the prestigious Westminster Choir will once again appear on the ballot for New Jersey’s Favorite Choral Ensemble in the 2016 JerseyArts.com People’s Choice Awards.

“We have been honored to have won this award several times,” said choral director Joe Miller. “It is wonderful recognition of the work of the students.”

Now in its eighth year, the People’s Choice Awards highlight talent within the state arts community by nominating several artistic outlets for residents of New Jersey and surrounding areas to vote on and decide which local arts organizations reign supreme.

“I believe that the contest is important because it creates interest, and people know more about the tremendous opportunities that our state has for access to the live arts culture,” said Miller. “Our university is dedicated to making the lives of those around us better, and through these types of awards and organizations, individuals may gather a stronger base of support to help us achieve the goal of making our communities more cohesive.”

Active in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia, the Westminster Choir has been known for choral excellence for over 94 years.

“The ensemble members take time to perform for many audiences through touring and concerts,” said Miller. “They also work in the schools to promote arts advocacy.  It is rewarding when this type of commitment is recognized.”

Miller, while proud of the choir’s accomplishments, feels its success is because of the arts community as a whole rather than the number of votes it receives.

“A.O. Scott says, ‘The making of art — popular or fine, abstruse or accessible, sacred or profane — is one of the glories of our species. We are uniquely endowed with the capacity to fashion representations of the world and our experience in it, to tell stories and draw pictures, to organize sound into music and movement into dance.’ Through the work on the New Jersey Council and the support of the arts on our campus, we are able to make a broader impact on our community,” said Miller.

One of nine choral groups nominated, the Westminster Choir is up against the Newark Boys Chorus, Childrensong of New Jersey, the Princeton Girlchoir, Ars Musica, the Greater South Jersey Chorus, the Monmouth Civic Chorus, Princeton Pro Musica and the Morris Choral Society.

To vote for the Westminster Choir, log on to JerseyArts.com by Feb. 11 to register a ballot.

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