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Paynesville Press - January 25, 2006

Choral students participate in music festival

By Michael Jacobson

Five choral students from Paynesville Area High School participated in the Dorian Vocal Festival - including a 1,200-member mass choir - at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in January. Nominated and selected to attend the festival from PAHS were seniors Caitlin Lien, Lindsey Pelton, and Shawn Reinke and juniors Bryce Fischbach and Dugan Flanders.

choir The Dorian Vocal Festival was held on Sunday, Jan. 8, and Monday, Jan. 9, at Luther. Rehearsals were held throughout the two days with the final concert being staged on Monday night.

From left, junior Bryce Fischbach, senior Lindsey Pelton, senior Shawn Reinke, senior Caitlin Lien, and junior Dugan Flanders participated in the Dorian Vocal Festival at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in January.

Over 1,200 students from 347 high schools - from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota, and Wisconsin - formed the largest select mass choir in the United States, said PAHS choir director Cheryl Bungum.

For the concert, the mass choir sang six songs: four mixed numbers and one song each for just the women and just the men.

Having 600 male voices really made the mass choir sound fantastic, said Lien. Since male voices have the richest tones, "guys really make the choir," she explained.

"It sounded a lot better," agreed Fischbach, who is used to singing with a small minority of guys at PAHS. "I've never sang with that many guys before."

There were enough male voices, added Flanders, that they could actually blend and take a breath without the audience knowing.

The mass choir - larger than the mass choir at Disney World, where the PAHS choirs traveled to for Thanksgiving in 2004 - used the seats and the balcony for a stage, while the real stage was used for the audience at the final concert, which also included selected soloists and the top choir from Luther.

Lien sang soprano one (including being one of eight sopranos to sing a high "C"), Pelton soprano two, Fischbach tenor two, Flanders bass one, and Reinke bass two in the mass choir.

It was really fun to attend the festival and meet and sing with so many people, said Fischbach.

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