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Mason City High School Choir in Chicago

The Mason City High School choir performs in Millar Chapel at Northwestern University in Chicago. 

MASON CITY — Mason City High School choirs brought home the gold from the Chicago World Strides National Music Festival this weekend, winning five trophies in all.

The school’s vocal music program was named the Outstanding Choral Program Sweepstakes Award winner after earning the highest overall average score of the competition.

It received first-place gold ratings for both the Chamber Choir and Concert Choir as well as two Adjudicator Award trophies for the highest score in their category.

A number of the competing ensembles entered in The Chicago World Strides National Music Festival were from schools that tour internationally. Mason City was one of the smaller schools at the festival that included a field of large programs, some with enrollments of more than 2,000 students.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity served as an extension of the classroom, according to Director of Choral Activities Joel Everist.

“Working with five incredible professional conductors and performing on stage with some of the best musical ensembles from North America was a wonderful way to challenge ourselves, elevating our level of performance,” Everist said in a release. “The students have worked very hard to maintain our tradition of excellence while serving as outstanding representatives for our community.”

The Concert Choir took part in extensive clinics over several days to prepare for the competition, working with Lee Nelson at Wartburg College and David Nally at Northwestern University.

Fundraising paid for the cost of the trip.

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