ISU choir wins top American Prize


Photo courtesy of James Rodde

Iowa State Singers is the only co-ed choir on campus and is directed by James Rodde. 

Delaney Vierkandt

The Iowa State Singers have won the American Prize in Choral Performance.

The American Prize awards winning teams at all different levels with a cash prize, professional adjudication and recognition at the regional, national and international levels.

The Iowa State Singers won the prize this year after James Rodde, professor of music and director of the State Singers, sent in a 30-minute voice recording of the choir to the organization.

“The songs were ready, which is why it was so easy,” Rodde said. “I got an email along the way saying we were a finalist, along with some other choirs and thought, ‘Well, that’s nice.’ Then I got the email the other day saying that the judges placed us first.”

To receive an affirmation from esteemed judges that they think well of the choir is a great honor Rodde stated.

“I thought it would be nice to hear some judges comment on my group,” Rodde said. “And that’s really as far as I was thinking.”

Members like Kersten Tipping, junior in music, believes that winning The American Prize ensures a tradition within the choir.

“It gives us a title to our name that we can show people,” Tipping said. “It’s a morale booster.”

For Kelly Lockerbie, senior in civil engineering and president of the State Singers, every day in choir is a joy with the 72-member group.

“It is just incredible. We’ve travelled to many different places. Just to be recognized for this is really exciting for our new members, and for our old members who have graduated,” Lockerbie said. “It’s also really great for our director.”

For the State Singers, this is not their first accomplishment. The singers haav had a number of accomplishments throughout the years. Rodde said he believes their biggest accomplishment would be performing at National American Choral Directors Association and National Collegiate

Choral Organization conventions.

“I think we can take a lot of pride in our organization here,” Rodde said.

The award has been presented annually since 2009 and this is the first American Prize win for the State Singers.

For Rodde, he saw it as a competition that the group would not have to travel for.

“I noted some people that I respected that had also been involved in this, and so I thought, ‘Well, this would be interesting to do. I’ll submit the Iowa State Singers’ recordings, and it’ll be fun for me to get some feedback,’” Rodde said. “It’s nice to know that the judges placed us the best out of everyone that submitted their tapes.”

The award is administered by a non-profit organization which is based out of Danbury, Conn.

The winners were posted on Sept. 16.