Three for three, for gold! Oakwood University Aeolians Choir brings home three World Choir Games’ Gold Medals, World Spirituals Championship Trophy


Nationwide ( — In its first-ever international choral competition, Oakwood’s Aeolians Choir won three gold medals in its three competing categories, at the Cincinnati-hosted 7th World Choir Games, July 4-14.

Director Jason Max Ferdinand explained, “In The Music of the Religions, Musica Contemporanea and The Spirituals, we won gold in each. The last category, which was new this time, we got the CHAMPIONSHIP rank. (As in… the sporting Olympics, no one can win outright per se. (…) Tears were flowing, laughter, disbelief, shock etc… The Aeolians rose to the challenge and on their debut at the World Choir Games, among nearly 400 choirs from all over the world, made a great impact. So proud of these students.”

(@CityOfCincy: “The Aeolians of Oakwood University from Huntsville, AL, lifted our souls and the roof at Cincinnati Masonic Center! @WorldChoirGames #2012wcg).

More specifically:

1. Sixteen international choirs competed in the Music of the Religions category, he continued, and the Aeolians won its first gold, singing “John Saw Duh Numbuh,” “The Prayer,” “The Holy City” and “The Seven-fold Amen,” scoring 81.63 out of 100 possible points;

2. The second gold medal came in Musica Contemporanea, where Oakwood’s 42 choristers – including four returning alumni and one entering freshman, Altanta’s Chad Lupoe! – bested 20 competitors singing “Cantate Domino,” “Always Remember,” “Shadrach” and “Great and Marvelous” – scoring an 82.38; and

3. The third and final category, Spiritual, featured 16 choral groups; however and right before its presentations, the Aeolians received a special visitor: “Steal Away” arranger, Ms. Diedre Robinson, journeyed from her Washington, DC, home to join the group’s rapidly-growing cheering section. “Jericho,” “Daniel, Servant of the Lord,” “Steal Away” and “You Must Have That True Religion” not only clinched the third gold medal, but its 93.88 score also won the group the coveted Champions trophy, as well as a trip to the victory platform, where the U.S. flag was hoisted and all joined with the “Gold-olians” in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Oakwood’s pride doubled when The Jeremy Winston Chorale, led by former Aeolian-turned-choral-director at Wiliberforce University, Jeremy Winston, won the Gospel Championship trophy, as well as silver medals in Mixed Chamber Choirs and Spiritual categories.

More than 15,000 choristers in 362 choirs competed in 23 different musical categories.

Ferdinand said it “Was so inspiring watching choirs rehearse in hallways, rehearsal spaces and on stage. The interaction with folk from all around the world was refreshing.”

Ferdinand ended, “Thank you to: Leslie Pollard and the OU Administrators; manager Vilroy McBean for getting it all together; (music department chair/accompanist, Dr.) Wayne Bucknor, we did it man!; Riter Dany St Luc, my student worker (who is developing as a leader); (Oakwood Aeolian alum) Desmond Pierre-Louis and Diedre Robinson, for coming up to join us. Diedre, your “Steal Away” did it!

“Summer Choir Games Group Aeolians, WE DID IT!!! Nothing like working hard and then seeing the results. Love you all!!”

This biennial event, the world’s largest choral competition, will next occur in Riga, Latvia, in 2014.