Paul Merrill holds a B.A. degree in music and a M.A. degree in music history from the University of New Hampshire. Paul, an active freelance trombonist, pianist, and organist, is a trombonist for the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra. At UNH, he serves as a staff accompanist, piano instructor, choir accompanist, and vocal coach; and is a member of the Hampshire Consort (an early brass ensemble) as well as the Alamire Consort on voice, recorders, krummhorn, and sackbut (a trombone from the Renaissance and Baroque eras). Paul also accompanied the UNH Concert Choir and Chamber Singers when they won two gold medals and a silver medal at the International Anton Bruckner Choir Competition in Linz, Austria last year.
UNH Students Take Home Gold Medals at International Choir Competition
July 13, 2011
From University of New Hampshire Media Relations <www.unh/news>
DURHAM, N.H. Stepping out into the cavernous pink marble hall of the Marmorsaal in St. Florian, Austria, members of the University of New Hampshire Chamber Singers knew their performance in the 11th century monastery would be particularly meaningful. The only choir representing the United States at the prestigious 3rd International Anton Bruckner Choir Competition in Linz, Austria, the UNH students would be singing in the very place where Bruckner is buried. As the notes of Clare Macleans Christ the King began to swirl and resonate, the moment became magical.
Although we have performed the piece well before, our group has never sounded as unified and beautiful as it did in the Marmorsaal. We worked as a group like we never had before and all allowed for the perfect quality to emerge. The result was the most meaningful performance our group has had yet, which moved some of the audience and the members of our group as well to tears, said Susannah Thornton, 13, who is a member of the UNH Concert Choir and UNH Chamber Singers.
This piece is close to all of our hearts: it is extremely emotionally charged and our conductor knows the composer personally. Because of this, he knows the message and feeling she was trying to get across in writing the piece and has been extremely attentive to making sure we have the right sensitivity when performing it, said Thornton, of Hanson, Mass.
The 41 members of the UNH Concert Choir and UNH Chamber Singers brought home two gold medals and a silver medal from the June competition more honors than any of the 20 choirs representing 14 countries. The Concert Choir won two gold medals and the Chamber Singers won a silver medal.
William Kempster, associate professor of music at UNH, conducted both choirs and said both groups did very well competing against some of the finest choirs and chamber choirs in the world. Pianist Paul Merrill also accompanied the groups to Austria.