Avon Lake Chorale
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The Avon Lake Chorale, under the direction of Michael Lisi, is the foundation of the Avon Lake High School Choral Music Department. William G. Zurkey retired from the position in 2013. Avon Lake is a city in the state of Ohio of approximately 25,000 (as of the 2005 census) people located 17 miles (27 km) west of Cleveland off the shores of Lake Erie.
The Chorale, the highest choir at Avon Lake High School, is a select 100 member ensemble made up of high school juniors, seniors, and select sophomores. In addition to earning numerous superior ratings at Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) State Contests, Regional, and National Choral Festivals, the Chorale has been a featured choir at the Kodaly Music Educator's Association Central Regional Convention in Cleveland, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and the Mad River Choral Festival at Wright State University. They have performed at The Royal Academy of Music, Glasgow, Scotland; St. Paul's Cathedral, London; St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland; Orchestra Hall, Chicago; Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Ohio University, Westminster College, Pennsylvania; and Riverside Cathedral in New York. The Chorale also performs regularly with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra under the direction of Carl Topilow.
The Avon Lake Chorale performed at the OMEA Annual Professional Conference in 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2012.
An elite subset of the choir was formed when two ensembles were merged (The Mermen and The Mermaids) forming the Merpeople, later shortened to Merples. The merples are a 16-member group that performs many public and private concerts, especially during the holiday season. The ensemble is highly praised, and has even been on all local Cleveland television stations (WKYC, WEWS, WOIO, and WJW). Traditionally, on Valentine's Day the merples perform "Merplegrams", as requested by students, to other students for a small fee. Students may purchase a "Merplegram" for their boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, and even teachers and administrators.