JOHNSON CITY - The BucsWorth Menâ€™s Choir of East Tennessee State University recently received national honors in The American Prize in Choral Performance competition.
BucsWorth tied for third place for 2017-18 in the college/university division of the competition with the Bob Jones University Choirs and Symphony with Rivertree Singers from Greeneville, South Carolina. The University of Denver Lamont Chorale was the winner of the division and the Portland (Oregon) State Chamber Choir placed second.
The American Prize: Celebrating American Excellence in the Arts is a series of non-profit national competitions in the performing arts. Unique in scope and structure, the program provides cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition. Each year, The American Prize rewards the best recorded performances by individual artists and ensembles in the United States at the professional, community/amateur, college, university, church and school levels.
The BucsWorth Menâ€™s Choir originally formed in 1989 at ETSU as a primarily a cappella ensemble named TenBucsWorth. The name referred to the number of men in the ensemble, which changed occasionally, and was a play-on-words reference to the universityâ€™s athletic team name, the Buccaneers.
Today, BucsWorth is over 50 members from across all majors on campus and performs a mix of traditional and contemporary music. BucsWorth founded the annual â€œMen in Songâ€ Choral Festival, which is now co-sponsored by the ETSU and Milligan College departments of music and draws over 150 men from throughout the region to sing together and promote choral music.
BucsWorth has received significant recognition over the past few years. The choir was selected to perform for the Tennessee Music Educators State Conference in Nashville in April. In 2016, BucsWorth performed at the Intercollegiate Menâ€™s Choruses National Seminar at the University of Illinois, and was the featured ensemble at the 2014 â€œYoung Menâ€™s Power Singâ€ in Atlanta, hosted by the Atlanta Youth Singers and Atlanta International School. The members of BucsWorth have had the opportunity to work with such choral legends as Alice Parker, Daniel Gawthrop, Ola Gjeilo, Chanticleer, New York Voices, Deke Sharon, Ben Bram, The Swingles and others.
BucsWorth performs under the direction of Dr. Alan Stevens, associate professor and associate director of choral activities in the ETSU Department of Music. Stevens was a semifinalist in the 2017-18 American Prize in Conducting competition in the college/university chorus division for his work with BucsWorth.
â€œIâ€™m extremely honored that BucsWorth received third place in The American Prize competition,â€ Stevens said. â€œWe competed with some of the most recognized university choirs in the nation. It is rare for a menâ€™s choir to be in the top spots of the competition, which makes this even more special. There is incredible student talent here at ETSU, and Iâ€™m thrilled to be conducting this group of men. I look forward to what they will accomplish in the coming years.â€