Berkshire Choral International

And the winner is…

January 11, 2017

Berkshire Choral International is an educational nonprofit. Megan Brown Helm is a music teacher. Some things are simply meant to be. 

Megan, a resident of Thetford, Vermont, is the winner of our nationwide singing contest held last fall, and will receive a free week at BCI this summer. The alto describes herself as a “compulsive chorister” who sings in multiple choruses and goes wherever she is needed. She was chosen for her outstanding performance singing Swing Low, which stood out among the other wonderful pieces that were submitted. 

“Megan’s performance was wonderful and it’s clear she takes a lot of pride in her singing,” said Debi Kennedy, president of Berkshire Choral International. “We’re so happy to invite her to join us and we know she’ll be a great addition to our singing community.” 

While Megan sings in several choirs, she most often finds herself in a music classroom at Crossroads Academy, where she instills a love of music in students from kindergarten to third-grade. 

But when she’s not in the classroom, Megan can be found singing in area choirs such as Full Circle and at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH. , as well as with any other local groups that need help. But this summer, she will come to Sheffield and add BCI to her list when she tackles Mahler. 

“We don’t get to sing Mahler very often in our world and if you have an orchestra that can do it then that’s kind of special,” Megan said. 

Speaking of special, Megan spent 25 years teaching music in Kansas City and singing with Simon Carrington, director of Choral Studies at the University of Kansas, where her husband worked. Her work with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus under the direction of Charles Bruffy was a highpoint, and Megan hopes to possibly reconnect with a few former members in Sheffield this summer. From a cappella groups to performing at Renaissance fairs, Megan fostered her love of singing at every turn. 

That continued with her involvement in Voices 21c, a diverse project choir dedicated to positive interactions, social change, and global understanding. Megan helps bring choral music to prison inmates, advocates for social justice through song, and even attended a choral festival in Briancon, France as artists-in-residence last summer, where she performed a program called “Pain and Promise” to talk about war, peace, and coping. The group has also been invited to Israel and Palestine this August to spread peace through song.

“I believe in the importance of music and harmony and voices to basically restore peace and sanity,” Megan said. 

That peace, harmony, and love of music spurred Megan to enter our nationwide singing contest on social media, after discovering BCI through the advertising efforts of our new public relations agency. Her family used to camp in the Berkshires so she’s looking forward to returning to the area, continuing her love of singing, and making more new friends than she can count. 

“Singers aren’t just musicians, they’re writers and scholars and doctors and homemakers – people with rich pasts and interesting presents,” Megan said. “I’m really intrigued by the people but also the programming and extracurriculars on music history and education. It’s going to be fun!”

If you’d like to join Megan as a chorister in 2017, you can click here for more information about the application process. Check out Megan's submission video below!

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