Updated: Nov 11, 2020
PROVIDENCE, R.I., -- On Friday, the Recording Academy announced that the Rhode Island College Concert Chorus has been placed on the official ballot for this year’s annual Grammy Awards in two categories, Best Pop Duo or Group Performance and Best Music Video. The consideration is for the chorus’s virtual performance of “When I Think of You" for SATB chorus and piano, composed by Laura Farnell with text by Sara Teasdale.
The virtual performance was recorded during April when RIC first closed for the COVID-19 pandemic and uploaded to Youtube on May 1 where it has now garnered over 6,000 views.
The chorus’s performance of “When I think of You” was conducted by Choral Director Teresa Coffman who also serves as co-producer along with Rhode Island College senior Music and Film Studies major Jack Zornado, who served as Engineer, Mixer, Mastering Engineer and Bass section leader. Also recognized by the Recording Academy are K. Michelle Beaton, Pianist; Tyler Dorothy, Tenor section leader; Rachel Garrepy, Soprano section leader; Leah Silva, Alto section leader, and 28 additional Rhode Island College Students.
“Our students are the best, I love them, and I am so proud they have received this honor,” Coffman said in a press release responding to the consideration. “It definitely feels surreal. I absolutely did not expect the overwhelmingly kind reception we got when we first worked on the virtual chorus performance back in the spring semester, and to then hear of our possible recognition by the Grammys blew my mind,” Zornado said. “I'm so proud of the group shown in the video, their perseverance and dedication allowed us to make that music when everything that was happening around us seemed like chaos. To be involved in that performance, that group, and that video- it's really awesome.”
Zornado said that a majority of the skills he used to put together the video he learned by watching videos on Youtube and experimenting on his own. Zorndao said, “To be able to put those skills to use and bring some kind of beauty and unity to the members of the chorus was so incredibly fulfilling, and then to see so, so many others feel that same warmth makes me really proud of myself.”
The RIC Concert Chorus, which consists primarily of students majoring in music, all recorded their portions of the song and video separately while watching a video of Coffman conducting and accompanied by pianist Beaton. Zornado then mixed and edited the tracks on his own which took about a month. He said, “Now for most to create music with a sense of collaboration we have to approach everything digitally and spend hours deliberating over decisions that would have happened organically, and likely much quicker if the musicians had been working in the same physical space. It's hard, like exercising different muscles that many musicians haven't ever used. I'm lucky, in that digital music creation and audio engineering are things that I've been looking into and studying on my own for years- it's been an honor and incredible privilege to use those skills and help my peers and friends make music together.”
Ian Greitzer, Chair of the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance said that RIC is very proud of the Chorus stating, "The talent and indomitable spirit of these young artists is truly inspiring. These young people are a bright light in the midst of the pandemic and are most deserving of this honor."
Coffman as well as each student who participated were also presented with official certificates with the Grammy logo acknowledging their accomplishment.
In order to receive an official Grammy nomination, the RIC Concert Chorus must be one of five recordings that receive the most votes in each category by members of the Recording Academy. Grammy nominations are set to be announced in December.