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Overtones and Jazz Band go to festival, place high

sandiego1The Jazz Band and the Overtones shared an eventful Spring Break, performing in the Heritage Festival in San Diego, California.

The Jazz Band performed on Saturday, Mar. 23 and took second place in the Jazz Band category. The Overtones also performed on the same day and took first place in the Chamber Choir division. Both the band and choir students shared a good learning experience as well as a great time.

“We totally destroyed,” Stephen Madrosen, a senior baritone singer in Overtones, said.

According to Madrosen, at the awards ceremony, they won award after award, much to the astonishment of thesandiego2 competitors. They won the Overall Outstanding Choral Choir award and took first in their division. Two soloist awards were given to seniors Dahlton Mahar and Austin Joseph who sing tenor.

According to choir director Janine Kirstein, the Overtones have taken first every time they go to the Heritage Festival. Kirstein said that some of the challenges from this year were that there were many excellent groups present, some very high scores and a lot more competition than usual.

“[It was] one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve had,” Dacey McCrae, a junior soprano singer said.

The Overtones performed four songs, including Go Lovely Rose, Vita De La Mia Vita, Lord Now Lettest Thou and Kalinda.

After their performance, the Overtones got advice from the judges, who gave tips about how their performance could be even better. According to Joseph, a judge even took him aside and praised him on his solo.

“We were the only choir to perform that day, so all three judges gave input,” Joseph said. “It was definitely worthwhile.”

The competition was not the only event that taught the Overtones. The choir also performed on the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier turned into a museum. They also randomly chose locations to perform at, including the airport and on the streets. It was an eye-opening experience for the Overtones to have a more varied audience and to see people’s reactions who were not expecting a performance.

The Jazz Band had similar exposure to new people and situations.

“It was a really good learning experience for me as a young teacher to figure out what it’s like traveling with the band,” band director Emily Blanshan said.

The Jazz Band also performed four songs: Licked Clean, Round Midnight, Queen Bee and Funky Cha Cha. Several people soloed throughout the program: juniors Jason Green, James Palmiter and Rafael Castellanos-Welsh soloed on saxophone; and freshmen Madison Hallberg on piano and Peter Strohmaier on alto saxophone. Castellanos-Welsh had the most solos, but Hallberg got recognized for her jazz piano playing by winning the Outstanding Soloist Award.

The Jazz Band also played on the Midway. According to freshman Becky Kim, a baritone saxophone player, it was cool to expose a more diverse community to jazz music and see people’s attitude towards it.

“[It was] The most memorable experience of high school and the best part of my senior year,” Madrosen said.

Not only did the Jazz Band and the Overtones get to learn and experience performing on the road, but they had some fun as well. As part of the Heritage festival, the two groups got admission into Sea World, a dinner with the other participants and a dance. They also spent a day at the San Diego Zoo and a considerable amount of time on the beach.

The Heritage Festival was an overall good experience for the Jazz Band and the Overtones, and it brought both groups closer together.

One thought on “Overtones and Jazz Band go to festival, place high

  1. Greetings from a old Gresham Union High alum ….

    Just learned of your online paper and read with much interest the adventures of your
    ‘Overtones’ group!
    Wow! You guys must have some REAL talent winning so many awards!
    I was in choir – way back in 1962/63, under Mr. Barbour. I was bass lead, and also in
    the ‘Overtones’!

    We did a few short trips – just in the immediate area; concerts at shopping malls,
    a church or two and retirement homes.

    I remember one trip especially …. We went out to Estacada for a ‘competition and
    public afternoon concert’. There must have been a dozen choirs there, from most
    of the greater Portland area. We were there for most of the day from mid-morning
    until late afternoon. As I remember, each choir did three numbers; and the groups
    did a couple of numbers as well.
    The general public was invited in about mid-afternoon. You can imagine the crowd
    what with a dozen choirs – and then several hundred more added! It was packed!!
    Anyway, we all did several numbers for our ‘audience’, and were planning to add a
    ‘grand finale’ to the day with all the choirs doing ‘Battle Hymn of The Republic’!
    Everything was going great until we discovered that we had practiced and memorized
    a slightly different version! Boy, talk about being embarrassed!!

    We also did a musical – “Finian’s Rainbow”; and a few got ‘drafted’ to help the Drama
    Class as they did “Arsenic and Old Lace”!

    Many happy memories! …..

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