Master Chorale at Gospelfest 2004

Performance at Madison Square Garden

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The Connecticut Master Chorale received a special invitation to perform in the 2004 Gospelfest Competition held at Madison Square Garden on June 6th. The Master Chorale won the Gospelfest Competition for the last three years running and earned the right this year to bypass the semi-final competition and go straight to the finals. The Chorale was very pleased to participate in the event as a Regional Representative.

Members of the Chorale after winning Gospelfest 2001

Members of the Chorale after winning Gospelfest 2002

Members of the Chorale after winning Gospelfest 2003
Members of the Chorale after Winning
Gospelfest 2001, 2002, 2003

Gospel is not the norm for the Master Chorale which concentrates on the great masterpieces of music, but the Chorale’s Director Tina Johns Heidrich often includes a piece or two of gospel music in their annual Holiday Concert. In fact the group presented master works by Dvorak, Mendelssohn and Verdi this spring. Entering the McDonald’s Gospelfest Competition for the first time in 2001 was a lark. That experience proved immensely rewarding for all the members, and taking first place was just icing on the cake.

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The Chorale was featured on New York’s ABC7 television in a program about the 2001 event.

The Chorale entered the competition again in 2002 and was surprised to win a second time. But the most astonishing reward was to compete and win for a third year in a row in 2003. What is so exciting for the chorus is the warmth of the Gospelfest audience who freely demonstrate their appreciation and love of this chorus. As one singer put it, "I feel like a rock star when we come here."

Gospelfest producer A. Curtis Farrow told Heidrich that the Master Chorale is talked about all year long by both the audience and the other participating groups. In fact, he said that her Chorale is the only group that has ever received a perfect score!

The Gospelfest Final Competition includes finalists in several categories: Soloists, Steppers, Youth Choir, Adult Choir, Praise Dancers, Christian Rappers and Poets.

In addition noted Gospel stars Hezekiah Walker, Cissy Houston, Melba Moore and Vicki Winans performed at the event for an audience of approximately 4,000.

The Connecticut Master Chorale, founded in 1999 by Tina Johns Heidrich, is a group of 55 Danbury area singers hand picked by Heidrich for balance and blending of voices. The Master Chorale has achieved many distinctions over their five years including performing by invitation at the White House in December of 2002. The Chorale has also sung at Carnegie Hall under the direction of John Rutter, the famous British Composer and Conductor and was invited back to Carnegie Hall in January 2003. The Master Chorale has also sung as invited guests at West Point Military Academy, with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra and Nutmeg Opera Company.

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See our 2001 Gospelfest performance and interview televised by ABC7.