‘Shocked’ Newcastle composer wins international award

June 4, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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A greater power was at work when Bob Ingalls presented his stirring “Ave Maria for Choir & Strings” at a recent international music competition.

Contributed Newcastle composer Bob Ingalls encourages the crowd to applaud the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra and Galician Academic Chamber Choir after they performed his award-winning ‘Ave Maria for Choir & Strings’ in Ukraine May 10.

Contributed
Newcastle composer Bob Ingalls encourages the crowd to applaud the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra and Galician Academic Chamber Choir after they performed his award-winning ‘Ave Maria for Choir & Strings’ in Ukraine May 10.

The Ukraine concert featuring the work of all 12 finalists in the International Sacrarium Sacred Music Competition fell on May 10 — Mother’s Day.It was especially fitting then, that Ingalls, whose composition highlighted a prayer dedicated to the Virgin Mary, won the top prize.

“I think fate must have had a hand in it some way or other,” Ingalls said.

“Shocked,” was the only word the Newcastle composer could use when describing his big win. Even before leaving for the competition in Lviv, Ukraine, Ingalls didn’t believe he would return victorious.

The Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra and Galician Academic Chamber Choir performed each finalist’s piece. Ingalls’ chance for a win seemed greater after his composition’s performance received a rare standing ovation.

“The standing ovation was also a shock to me since my composition was second to last on the program and no one previously had received that kind of response,” he said.

Ingalls described his version of “Ave Maria” as an experience.

The eight-minute piece, written for choir and strings, brings the music to its listeners, as three sopranos stand embedded in the audience.

On the web

Watch a taped performance of Bob Ingalls’ award-winning composition here

After singing a verse, the musicians then move to a different spot, keeping audiences guessing.

“The concept is that the people who are listening, by the middle of the piece, will really be wondering, where is the music going to come from next?” Ingalls said. “That causes you to, some extent, suspend your sense of belief and awe as you listen and truly get into the piece itself.”

The setting is just as important, Ingalls said, stating his belief that sacred music is enhanced by the use of sacred spaces. His “Ave Maria” was made all the more impactful thanks to the setting of Ukraine’s Church of St. Mary Magdalene May 10.

“People come to a sacred music concert looking for an opportunity to forget the reality of living between tears and smiles, suffering and joy, and embrace something beautiful,” he said.

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