They played, sang with honors at state event

Amanda Myers, left, and Jamie Cernazanu were two of the three Grant Union High School students selected to sing in the High School Honor Choir. Natasha Holmstrom was the other. The Eagle/Patrick Bentz

Eight school-age kids from the John Day area were invited to the All-State Honor Bands and Choirs in Eugene the weekend of January 14-16. The gathering was sponsored by the Oregon Music Educators Association.-

Nathan Roy and Anthony Redden took part in the Middle School Honor Band. Roy plays trumpet and Redden plays baritone.-

"There were a lot of people," Redden said. "The music was hard."-

The honor band played five songs, including "Cheerio," "Make a Joyful Noise" and "Overture in a Classic Style."- There were 113 students in the band.

"We were the second-farthest away," Roy said. The students that traveled the furthest were from Burns, Hines.-

-Morgan Cleaver sang in the Middle School Honor Choir, one of about 120 singers. They sang five songs, including "I'll Make A Difference" and "Jambo."-

"I sat near a girl from Milton-Freewater, and we became good friends," Cleaver said.-

Mary Ann Vidourek is the music teacher at Grant Union High School and Mt. Vernon Middle School.

"The middle school kids were awesome," Vidourek said. -"Morgan Cleaver was chosen to be part of a small solo group for one piece. The boys in the band, they really enjoyed their experience. It was well worth the time and effort."

Penny Ratliff and Rachel Bentz were invited to sing in the Elementary Honor Choir, the first year that this group was gathered.-

The director of the Elementary Honor Choir was Dr. Lynn Brinckmeyer, professor of music at Eastern Washington University.-

According to Louise Kienzle, music teacher at Humbolt Elementary, Brinckmeyer worked really well with the younger kids.

-"It was a great experience," Bentz said, "and I was very lucky to attend it."-

There were 90 elementary children from around the state in the choir, which performed on Saturday morning.- Among the songs were "Sansa Kroma," "Art Thou Troubled?" and "Old Joe Clark."-

Three students from Grant Union High School were selected to sing in the High School Honor Choir:- Amanda Myers, Natasha Holmstrom and Jamie Cernazanu.- Myers has sung in several honor choirs, but this was the first time she participated in the All-State Honor Choir.

-"I had a blast," Myers.- "The voices, they were so mature, it was so awesome to sing in a choir so full."-

There were more than 200 high school students in the choir this year.

-"It was just a really neat experience to meet everyone," Cernazanu said.- "I've never been in a choir so big.- It has such a unique sound.- It was really fun."

-Rehearsals for the high school choir, held in Bell Hall at U of O, lasted for nearly 10 hours each day.- The high school choir performed on Sunday.-

"After lunch we'd take a twenty-minute nap," Myers said.- "It's a great experience, but it's exhausting."-

-"It takes a lot of energy," Cernazanu said.

-The high school honor choir sang six pieces, only two of which were sung in English.- The songs included "Gloria" and "Shout Glory."-

"The choir was awesome," Vidourek said.- "My girls had a really good time. They worked hard, (and) they got to work on some music that is kind of ... the next level.- They really enjoyed the director and enjoyed making new friends."

-OMEA also held its state conference at the same time, and Kienzle was able to attend various sessions while the kids rehearsed.-

"The conference was wonderful," Kienzle said.- "The only little glitch was the weather on Saturday."-

None of the groups performing on Saturday were able to attend, due to the weather and highway closures on Interstate 5.-

-Vidourek said the worst part of the ride home was from Prineville to John Day, mostly due to fog between Mitchell and Dayville.-

All those who attended the festival from John Day were able to return safely.

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