Choral Excellence “Ovation” Awards Nominations Announced

Awards Reflect Area’s Vibrant Choral Music Scene

Choralis is pleased to announce that the Eighth Annual Greater Washington DC Area Choral Excellence “Ovation” Awards will be presented at its “Black and White” dinner and awards ceremony on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at The Clarendon Ballroom.  Maestro Tom Hall, Music Director Emeritus of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, will receive the J. Reilly Lewis Award for Outstanding Contributions to Choral Music, the Ovations’ highest honor.  Past winners of this award are Joan Gregoryk, Pamela Lassell, the late J. Reilly Lewis, Mark Ohnmacht, the late Norman Scribner, Robert Shafer, and Stanley J. Thurston.  Nominees for three additional Ovation awards also are being announced.

For Most Creative Programming the nominees are:

  • Capitol Hill Chorale, Fred Binkholder, Artistic Director;
  • Carmina & Illuminare, Vera Kochanowsky, Director and Hubert Beckwith, Assistant Director
  • Master Singers of Virginia, Dr. Erik Reid Jones, Artistic Director
  • Thomas Circle Singers, James Kreger, Artistic Director

For Best Symphonic Chorus the nominees are:

  • Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Tom Hall, Music Director
  • Choral Arts Society of Washington, Scott Tucker, Artistic Director
  • City Choir of Washington, Robert Shafer, Artistic Director
  • National Philharmonic Chorale, Dr. Stan Engebretson, Artistic Director and Conductor

For Outstanding Specialty or Show Chorus the nominees are:

  • The Alexandria Harmonizers [Barbershop], Joe Cerutti, Music Director
  • The Alexandria Singers [American Popular Music], Bill Colosimo, Music Director;
  • The Washington Revels Chorus [Theatrical Show], Elizabeth Fulford, Music Director

Susan Frost, Chair of The Choralis Foundation Board of Directors said, “Choralis is honored and pleased to recognize Tom Hall’s stellar career in choral music, during which he has nurtured and trained countless singers and brought the gift of well-performed choral music to delighted audiences not only in the Baltimore/DC area, but nationally and internationally.  Tom also contributed his great administrative skills to serving as Chair and in various other capacities at the national choral music association, Chorus America, which was recognized when he was named only its second Director Laureate in 2014.  We also are proud to highlight the achievements and contributions of the eleven nominees in our three additional award categories.”

“The Choralis Foundation is proud to have initiated the Ovation Awards, providing an opportunity to celebrate the rich choral tradition and diverse choral community of the greater Washington, D.C. area,” said Choralis Artistic Director Gretchen Kuhrmann.  “This year, we especially are pleased to honor Tom Hall, one of the great treasures of the greater DC area choral community who is retiring after 35 amazing years at the helm of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.”

The Baltimore Sun has proclaimed that “all that has been routine about the performances of Tom Hall and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society is how consistently good they are.”  Appointed Artistic Director in 1982, Maestro Hall is only the second conductor of the 50-year-old choral society, which received an Emmy Award in 2006 for the broadcast of its annual Christmas with Choral Arts concert. Mr. Hall and the Choral Arts Chorus were also featured in Jews and Christians:  A Journey of Faith – an award-winning documentary broadcast nationwide on PBS.  In addition, the National Symphony Orchestra engaged the chorus to appear with it at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on several occasions.

Maestro Hall is a frequent guest conductor in the United States and in Europe.  He has appeared with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston’s Symphony Hall, with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris in New York and Paris, New York’s Musica Sacra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Louisiana Philharmonic, and many others.  He has prepared choruses for Leonard Bernstein, Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling and others, and served for ten years as the Chorus Master of the Baltimore Opera Company.  Maestro Hall has also been an invited Artist in Residence at The Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, the University of Cincinnati, Syracuse University and Temple University.  He has served as the Director of Choral Activities at Goucher College for the past 33 years.

The “Black and White” event (black and white attire suggested) at which this year’s Ovation Awards will be presented includes a reception, seated dinner, songs and tributes, and will be held at The Clarendon Ballroom on Tuesday evening, June 6.   Choral directors, choristers, board members, financial supporters and appreciative fans of all DC choruses are invited to attend; ticket information is available at

    Contact us:

  1. The Choralis Foundation
    PO Box 6012
    Falls Church, VA  22040
    (703) 237-2499 (t)