Saturday, May 05, 2007

State Choral Competition

Living so close to GFU has many advantages. For instance, since we are in walking distance we tend to go to activities that we might otherwise not do or think twice about. Today we jaunted up to hear Newberg H.S. perform in the state choir competition. They had already be through regionals and were appearing with the largest schools in the state. We did not buy a program, so I am not sure how many were competing, but in the time we were there five choirs were in and out...we listened to two. They performed for 20 minutes each.

It was a lot like state band competition that we were familiar with when our kids were in band and Ray Staniszeski was the director. They had a sight reading piece (which was not part of the concert) and then did several numbers before an audience. It all has to do with hard work and performing. I gotta say that it brought a little bitty tear to my eye to see these teenagers do so brilliantly. When I was singing the entire choir did not compete...just members of various sections, then the best went for a non-competitive choral festival which we called state chorus. I was lucky enough to do that twice.

Newberg has a reputation for band, choir and drama excellence. They have had top notch instructors and the tradition continues with kids that are interested and committed. In fact, our choir director at church is the former band instructor (38 years in NHS) who now has moved on to GFU and adjudicates state band contests in Oregon and Washington. Anyhow, it did my heart good to see these kids today. I recognized about five of them...who hang around the math center where I work. There must have been sixty in the choir.

We stayed to watch one more group, just for comparison. They were from Troutdale a suburb of Portland. I have to admit NHS was a wee bit better...or is it that my allegiances have been tainted with four weeks of employment?

The kids at school put on their traditional May Day celebration assembly on Thursday. I was impressed...not that it was that great, but that today's sophisticated, constantly texting, revealing dressers could put a show together where they had to be dressed up in costume. The theme was Pirates of the Caribbean and the MC sounded just like Johnny Depp with that swaggering slightly inebriated sounding slurred speech. He was funny. The more I am around today's teens the more they resemble the ones I recall from 20, 30, 40, and 50 years ago.

Which brings me to my last thought. I have been in a classroom sometime, somewhere (in the 90s I was teaching at Davenport) in each of the last seven decades...ouch. Maybe it is time to hang it up. It was like when my supervising teacher left the profession (Howard Fox at Laurel). He had been in school for the first day for fifty consecutive years. I thought then...what the heck are you doing with your life? Now I can count back seven decades of involvement. I ask myself, what am I doing?

There is hope for this generation...I just heard them sing this morning.

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