I am delighted to be blogging right now from the beautiful Melrose Hotel in Washington DC, where I am participating in the annual conference of Chorus America.Founded in 1977, Chorus America serves professional, volunteer, children/youth, and symphony/opera choruses, providing information, publications, conferences, consulting, training programs, surveys, networking, and awards. Nearly 1,600 choruses, individuals, and businesses are members of Chorus America, including conductors, arts administrators, board members, singers, music business executives, and choral music lovers. I was joined yesterday and today by Grant Park Chorus Director Christopher Bell, who is participating in his first Chorus America conference. Last evening Christopher and I had dinner at a lovely DC restaurant called Pallette with our wonderful colleagues from across the street, Duain Wolfe and Mark Rulison of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. While the atmosphere and lighting were great, the highly touted art collection didn’t do much for me, although I have to say I had a great meal. I highly recommend the red lentil soup! Most exciting for us was that just today it was announced that the Grant Park Chorus won the prestigious Margaret Hillis Achievement Award for Choral Excellence for 2006. This one-time award, which recognizes the late Miss Hillis for her more than 40 years of professional achievement and outstanding contributions to the choral art, is presented annually to an ensemble that demonstrates artistic excellence, a strong organizational structure, and a commitment to outreach, educational, and/or culturally diverse activities. In 2006 choruses with a core of professional singers were eligible and out of a prestigious pool of applicants, the Grant Park Chorus was chosen as the very best. My sincere thanks goes to Chorus America for bestowing this great honor upon our organization. And, of course, a huge debt of gratitude should be paid to our own Chorus Director Christopher Bell and the world-class singers of the Grant Park Chorus, who so deserve this great honor.Don’t forget to come and hear what all the fuss is about. On June 23 and 24, the Grant Park Chorus sings Mozart’s Requiem at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, followed just the next week by Rachmaninoff’s Vespers on June 27 and 29 at St. Ignatius Church in Rogers Park. We’ll see you in the Park.