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"Good job, Slovenia!” & “You are the highlight of this year's conference; you are a gift from heaven.”

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Music’s Potential – Getting Global

… are just two of the praises St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium won after the second appearance at 2019 ACDA in Kansas City on 28th February. Many professionals returned to listen to the choir after yesterday’s concert. The atmosphere in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre was amazing, there was an extraordinary bond between the singers and the audience. The girls were singing as one, trying to convey their joyous heart and all the knowledge they had gained. Young ladies were proudly expressing the most charming and sunny aspect of the choir’s mission which is to share their true selves. Compliments kept pouring in and Helena Fojkar Zupančič as well as Damijan Močnik felt extremely proud – after all St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir is the only Slovene choir to perform at both biggest choral events in the last two years: 11th World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona (July 2017) and 2019 National Conference of American Choral Directors Association in Kansas City, Missouri. Some top observations of the concert: “I was utterly amazed when the conductor gave the sign to the choir to start singing and then she stepped aside. The girls sang independently and mastered the choreography on their own!; The choir filled our hearts with wonder.; Your performance was astonishing and simply wonderful. Thank you for coming to the US and inspiring us.; Unbelievable sound! OMG!”

The attenders marvelled at the fact that the choir is not a part of a music high school, that this incredible level of performing was achieved only by three and a half practice lessons per week and that a third of singers change every academic year. The following day some girls participated in a number of intriguing workshops, lectures and concerts. It felt great to be a part of the 2019 ACDA story from the listener’s perspective as well. Now the work is done. Well done indeed! /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Listen to St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir in Kansas City at https://www.instagram.com/p/Bud3De9gmR7/

It's time to shine in Kansas City!

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Sharing Their True Selves

The 27th February 2019 was the day of great anticipation for St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir. It was the day of the concert the girls had been working for the last two years. They welcomed the evening in peace, listening attentively to the final tips finishing touches by Helena Fojkar Zupančič.

Before entering the warming up room in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, the executive director of ACDA Tim Sharp welcomed the choir. He spoke vividly of his happy memory when inviting St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir to the conference in KC immediately after having listened ot the concert at 2018 World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona, Spain. He wished the chior the best of luck saying the girls would never sing in front of so many attentive, demanding and grateful listeners as that night. The performance itself started with the conductor’s solo in May God Grant us A Good Evening. Already after the first song the choir surprisingly received an enthusiastic applaud. When the pianist Primož Bratina joined the choir it was time for Ipavec’ Winter Song – what an appropriate title for the winter conditions far from springlike Slovenia! One of the highlights of the evening was Močnik’s Jesualem, during which the audience was invited so sing along the following verse: May they prosper who love you. The musicians, conductors, educators and choral directors from all over the world sang the meaningful words and expressed their enthusiasm with seemingly endless standing ovations. Hard work paid off, the girls and the conductor were more than pleased with every single detail they managed to express through music. The evening was the embodiment of a  worthwhile quote by John Rutter, one of keynote speakers at 2019 ACDA : “Choral music is not one of life’s frills. It connects the human race, and choral music is a supreme example of this wonderful and beautiful power… which is kind of an emblem for what we need in this world. That’s a lesson for our times and for all times”. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

From Cleveland to Kansas City – Despite Strong Stormy Weathers

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Nothing would be possible without these two ladies – Tina and Silvija

This is an account by two choir singers: “We started the next day with a holy mass and singing a few songs for those who might have missed our concert the day before. Then we headed to St Vitus Church nearby to participate in charity brunch for the local Slovene school in Clevelnad. Unfortunately, there was an electricity due to extreme winds, so we had to sing in complete darkness. What followed was an incredibly romantic candlelight meal. We spent the afternoon with our host families and some of us had the opportunity to see the Slovene Pristava, a lovely place for events or gatherings for the Slovenians. Each family also has a small chalet that they use at weekends or for special occasions. When we returned home, we found out that our flight was cancelled due to strong winds so we didn’t have to wake up at 2 am. Some girls decided to spend their evening in front of a TV watching the Oscars, or at least commenting on the outrageously extravagant dresses the actresses wore.

Luckily, the incredible Tina and Silvija resolved the travelling situation of the cancelled flight and organised the bus which took us directly to Detroit airport. We flew to Kansas City and drove to our hotel. After getting comfortable in our hotel rooms, the teachers took us to a nearby quality restaurant (Wendy’s – cheap and good, in Mr. Močnik’s opinion). After lunch, we took a long walk around the truck parked a little farther up the street. We had a rehearsal in the evening and a healthy dinner after that. However, the best news of the day was that we would be able to get 10 hours of sleep”. /Glorija Ema Glas & Vida Kravanja, year 4/

About the choir

History of St. Stanislav  Girls’ Choir

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir is one of the five high school choirs at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in St. Stanislav’s Institution.

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir was founded in the school year 1996/97 based on the desire to provide musically and vocally ambitious girls the opportunity to further develop their singing ability through more demanding repertoire. The girls, aged between 16-19, rehearse for two and a quarter hours once a week. However, to brush up their performance for the 2019 American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Kansas City, Missuri, USA, this school year they are rehearsing more intensively. There are 41 girls in the choir, and each of them is given a 10-minute individual lesson on vocal technique every week. Their achievements in national and international competitions, as well as their participation in several significant vocal-instrumental projects, rank the choir among the best secondary school choirs in Slovenia and Europe. The choir has been actively shaping the Slovene choral scene at its highest level for almost two decades.

The choir has been enthusiastically praised for its subtle interpretation, outstanding repertoire and colourful sonorities. The girls have fascinated us with their creative and vivacious performances, youthful passion and at the same time with their incredible concentration and sound accuracy.

Their repertoire is very versatile – from classical choral music of various periods to vocal pop. They pride themselves in several world premiere performances of compositions by contemporary Slovene composers (L. Lebič, D. Močnik, A. Čopi) as well as in their performance of some larger vocal-instrumental works. In 2009 they won the exclusive Euroradio choral competition Let the Peoples Sing in Oslo, Norway, which ranks them among the most outstanding vocal ensembles in the world. In the same year, they worked with the Swedish conductor Fred Sjoberg and became one of the five selected study choirs in the European Competition of Young Conductors. They also performed in the concert to honour the twentieth anniversary of the World Youth Choir in Oerebro, Sweden. In 2010 the choir travelled to England, where they performed in the competition Let the Peoples Sing in Manchester and passed the Silver Rose Bowl to the new winner. In May 2010 they took part in the world-renowned European Youth Choir Festival in Basel, Switzerland. In 2013 the girls became the overall winner of the International Choir Competition »Summa Cum Laude« in Vienna, Austria. At the International Choir Competition »60th Cork International Choral Festival« in 2014, the choir took the 4th place overall and received the special award »Schumann/Europe Torphey« for the performance of the contemporary Slovene song by A .Čopi, “A Child with a Sunflower”. In 2017 they  were invited to the 11th World Symposium in Choral Music in Barcelona, Spain as the first ever Slovene choir to perform at such an event. In July 2018 St. Stanislav’s Youth Choir  represented Slovenia at the biggest European choral convention Europa Cantat in Talin, Estonia. Slovenia is the hosting state of the next Europa Cantat 2021. The choir was invited to sing in February 2019 at the the 2019 American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Kansas City, Missuri, USA.

Music at St. Stanislav’s Institution

Since the re-opening of the gymnasium in 1993, much attention has been devoted to the systematic training of choral singers. Half of 600 students of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium participate in choral singing.

The five school choirs, which vary according to the age of their singers and the level of their repertoire, form a choral pyramid. Due to its large scope, the number of participating students and quality, this choral programme is quite unique among Slovene schools as well as within the European school context. The DCG choral pyramid consists of: First-Year Girls’ Choir, First-Year Boys’ Choir, (Re)Mixed Choir, St. Stanislav’s Girls Choir and St. Stanislav’s Youth Choir. After finishing their education at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, the former students can continue their singing career in two alumni choirs.

The Alojzij Šuštar Primary School with 450 pupils was established in 2007 and has been building its own choral pyramid on the model of the DCG’s. During the first three years all children sing in their class choirs, while in subsequent six years the pupils join choirs on the basis of their interest and talent for music and singing. There are two choirs in the Alojzij Šuštar Primary School: The Children’s Choir and the Youth Choir featuring a repertoire of folk and art songs and presenting an annual musical. There are 75 pupils singing in both choirs.

St. Stanislav’s Institution

St. Stanislav’s Institution is an educational and cultural establishment of the Ljubljana Archdiocese, Slovenia. It consists of Diocesan Classical Gymnasium as its most significant unit, Jeglič Student Home, Alojzij Šuštar Primary School, Good Shepherd Kindergarten, Music School and Janez F. Gnidovec Residence Hall.

Founded in 1901 by the Bishop of Ljubljana, Anton Bonaventura Jeglič, the Institution was in operation until June 1945, when it was closed by the authorities of the time. Its educational work was reinstated at the beginning of the 1990s. The classical gymnasium was the first to reopen in 1993, with the other units following in subsequent years. All the girls of St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir attend the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium.The educational programme of the school is based on classical and Christian values. Every student learns at least three foreign languages, of which Latin is obligatory. Since the re-opening, much attention has been devoted to the systematic training of choral singers since music importantly and decisively underpins the school curriculum.

The mission of St. Stanislav’s Institution is to foster the comprehensive personal growth of an individual within a community, based on faith, hope and love and in dialogue with the surrounding world, so as to allow the individual to live a full life and contribute to a better world.

Choir's mission

SHARING MY TRUE SELF

Singing in the choir is about sharing just about everything: discipline, hard work, compliance, focus, trust, vigour and a love for singing. The moment a beautiful sonority is created, it is time to pass it on through concert performance. When sharing their true selves in front of the audience, the girls become an inspiration for others and the mission is accomplished.

Up close

Conductor

Helena Fojkar Zupančič

Helena Fojkar Zupančič has a perfect education for choral conducting – she is both a solo singer and a music teacher. Her knowledge of the human voice and a refined approach to singers is reflected in sophisticated vocal techniques and the extremely cultivated sound of the choirs she conducts: St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir Ljubljana and St. Nicholas Choir Litija. She was the choir master of Slovenian Children’s Choir in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009. She collaborated and recorded with the Slovenian Radio Chamber Choir, in 2016 she appeared with the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir. Helena Fojkar Zupančič has received several awards at different competitions for the best conductor, she has also received various awards for the best performances of Gregorian chants, Renaissance, Romantic and contemporary choral literature, as well as folk songs. In 2012 she was awarded the Gallus plaque – the highest award in the field of music, offered by The Public Fund for Amateur and Musical Activities. Helena Fojkar Zupančič was also awarded the 2016 prize for outstanding achievements in the field of musical education presented by The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports of the Republic of Slovenia.

In her interpretations she offers the experience of music’s eloquence – the one that used to exist with fusion of words and music and is often neglected by conductors. Because of her success, knowledge, skills and rich experience, Helena Fojkar Zupančič is very popular amongst singers and a sought-after jury member for choral competitions. She also runs seminars for school choir conductors and courses for church musicians.

Soprano 1

Katarina Banko

Each song narrates a different story. I like that.

I love starry nights and mint tea. I still keep a diary.

Manca Beguš

Nothing is more relaxing as the solo career under the shower.

I love dogs and penguins.  I cannot tell left form right.

Ajda Eler

When I sing I feel creative using my voice and I like it.

I like good food, movies, books and series that I watch too often. I enjoy wearing socks of different colours and interesting patterns.

Urška Grad

I love singing as it relocates me into a world without unsolvable problems.

I dance better than walk. I adore ballet, opera, sunshine, wind, rain and animals.

Doroteja Kink

Singing takes me to the endless world of imagination.

A cup of cappuccino and cloud gazing relax me.

Katarina Klopčič

Singing is one of my favourite talents and I love developing it.

I like Latin American dances (e.g. zumba) and long walks very much.

Mana Križnar

I love singing as I feel my life is like a melody.

I love dancing and mountaineering. I never feel bored; there is always something going on in my life.

Lucija Smrkolj

With singing I am a part of a different story in every song.

I love football, mountaineering and treasure hunting. If I were an animal, I would be an eagle.

Alto 1

Mojca Berkopec

Singing is art and I love being artistic.

Some people make my world magic. I cannot fall asleep without socks.

Vesna Bukovnik

While singing I forget about all stressful and unpleasant things.

My abiding love is for Kekec – the movie + books + the pâté.

Polona Capuder

I love singing as thismeans going through different times and feelings.

I love doing embroidery, laugh with little children and caress them. I like candles, cocoa and fluffy things.

Marjana Capuder

I really enjoy singing when I relax, calm down and forget about bad stuff.

I also love listening to music, playing the piano and reading novels.

Vita Marta Ciraj

I adore paths that take me to my personal goals. Singing pursues them.

I love sport, open air, summer time. I often cry out of sadness, but mostly of delight, happiness and gratefulness.

Glorija Ema Glas

I reach the unreachable through singing.

I am the happiest person in the world in nice places with Scout friends and a bunch of silly jokes. I love oranges.

 

Ana Lucija Jezeršek

I can express my joie de vivre through music.

I enjoy nature, doing some sport and having a good company. I love sunshine, seaside and snow.

Zala Klavs

Singing is fun and pleasure. In particular, I like the relationships in the choir and the feeling that we have sung well at concerts.

I love playing the flute, dancing and reading.

Urška Kopač

My music career started by singing in the shower at the age of three. Ever since I have been humming melodies during lessons, in the streets or on the bus.

I like to smile, hang out with friends and enjoy chocolate and tea.

Jerica Kristina Ledinek

Singing evokes the forgotten feelings.

Gliding relaxes me, a hot shower is fine too. I often have hiccups.

Lea Ložak

I love singing because whispering is bad for my voice. ;)

I love December and snow.

Urška Planinc

When I sing I feel like a Disney princess.

I love long walks by the sea, candle-lit evenings by a good book and a cup of tea. I always stand by what I say.

Soprano 2

Katja Božič

Singing practice is like a retreat from school. It is also time for mingling with my friends.

I play the cello and watch movies. I learn Turkish and watch Turkish series.

Zala Erent

Music is pure pleasure. It is fascinating how a trifle improvement in singing technique effects a substantial change in sound.

I love coffee, walks in nature and the time spent with my friends.

Katarina Fabiani

Singing is an escape for me and it fulfills me emotionally.

I like travelling and meeting new people. When I need a break I put on some loud music and enjoy some thought-free vacuum.

Tina Jeglič

Singing simply relaxes me.

To unwind I eat some chocolate and lie down. I like dry sausages.

Tadeja Jelnikar

I love singing because it is always subject to improvement. I also love eating.

Chatting with funny people about funny topics is great. The full moon and I get along well.

Eva Klanjšček

Maja Klemen

Singing is like acting for me. When I sing I assume the role of somebody else and try to comprehend the lyrics from his/her perspective.

I love getting lost in my brother’s and father’s oversized pullovers.

Vida Kravanja

Music occasionally helps me to express ideas that words cannot. This is where the beauty of singing lies.

I love riding. Sometimes a good movie might substitute it. I cherish honesty and directness.

Lucija Stopar

My life is more authentic when saturated with singing.

I feel safe when talking to my beloved ones and when doing so, I glow along with my very fair hair.

Karin Terglav

I like learning about different singing techniques and gaining new life experiences.

I love breaking rules and doing things on my own.

Ema Vertačnik

I delight in choir singing as I love unconventional harmonies.

I love to seize the stories through lenses. When I am bored I play Sudoku.

Alto 2

Neža Bizalj

Singing simply makes me happy. I love the glorious feeling on the stage.

I love mountains, jogging and nature escape and they are the reason why I do not need to use blush.

 

 

Anamarija Čibej

Singing accompanies me every day and I cannot imagine life without it.

I love cycling and running, mountaineering relaxes me.

Maja Dobravec

Singing is my way of communicating  happy news.

Playing the guitar in my room relaxes me most. I am a very honest person. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Aneja Holobar

I love coming to singing practice, as this calms me down and relaxes me.

I am often too chatty.

Ana Koprivec

There is nothing better than singing in the shower.

I relax by turning the volume of my favourite radio station up. I like people who have me laughing tears.

Karolina Marc

I love singing as thisis the way to eternal tingling with happiness.

What I like most is rolling on the grass with my dog. I always try to look on the bright side of life.

Neža Mastnak

Being a member of this choir is one of the best things in my life. Singing takes me to a fairyland full of music dwellers.

I love to play the piano, read detective stories and enjoy board games with my brothers and sisters.

Klavdija Okoliš

I consider singing as an integral means of getting to know my potentials, my skills and myself.

In order to unwind, I find a recluse and read (romantic) books. I also like to hug the people I love.

Zala Reberc

I love singing as it requires psychophysical energy.

Photographing is my hobby, running energises me. I am extremely phlegmatic.

Lora Štravs

Singing is part of my everyday life, which offers the air of carefreeness.

I unwind by playing the organ, reading and making bobbin lace.

Listen to us

Performances

  • Open rehearsal, Open House Day in St. Stanislav’s Institution, The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, Gallery nr. 3, 26 January 2019 at 11.15 a.m.
  • Gala Fundraising Concert, Športna dvorana Osnovne šole Alojzija Šuštarja /Sport hall of The Alojzij Šuštar Primary School/, St. Stanislav’s Institution, 4 February 2019 at 7 p.m.
  • Memorial concert for the 25th anniversary of Stane Kregar Gallery, St. Stanislav’s Institution, Matija Tomc Concert Hall, 6 February 2019 at 6 p.m.
  • Performance at the festival of Ljubjana choirs, Matija Tomc Concert Hall, St. Stanislav’s Institution, 14 February 2019 at 7 p.m.
  • Concert in Christ’s Church Cathedral, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; 20 February 2019 at 7.30 p.m.
  • Concert in Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church, Ontario, Canada; 21 February 2019
  • Concert in St. Mary’s Church, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; 23 February 2019
  • Singing at the Sunday service followed by a concert in Mary’s Church, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; 24 February 2019
  • Performance at the 60th Conference of American Choral Directors (ACDA), Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kansas City Missouri, USA; 27 February 2019 at 8.45 p.m.
  • 25th Annual Concert of Choirs and Orchestra of St. Stanislav’s Institution, Cankarjev dom, Galusova dvorana  /Gallus Hall in Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana/, 11th May 2019 at 6 p.m.