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Paynesville Press - April 17, 2002

Choirs, bands compete in district contest

By Michael Jacobson

The mixed choir at Paynesville Area High School earned the highest ranking at the District 20 Large Group Contest on Tuesday, April 9, at Annandale.

The mixed choir sang three songs - "Passage," "Dirait-on," and "The Awakening" - at the competition. The 34-member ensemble, comprised of 11-12 grade girls and 9-12 grade boys, earned state superior honors from all three judges.

The choir performed both "Passage" and "The Awakening" at its recent winter concert. "They did a nice job," said choir director Cheryl Bungum. "It's always a good experience to hear what another choral director or judge can say and get their input."

"Thank you for singing," wrote one judge of the mixed choir. "What a lovely sound you have."

Both the senior band and the treble choir earned state excellent rankings, which is the second highest designation. The junior band earned subsection superior honors.

Both the senior band, with 35 students, and the junior band, with 32 students, are small, but director Nathan Long was pleased with how they played. "They sounded big," he explained. "The judges said it sounded like there were a lot more kids. The judges said they liked the sound, and the kids played with a lot of energy."

Both the senior and junior bands played Category I, or the most difficult, music. The senior band performed "The Marriage of Figaro" by Mozart and an arrangement of "Shenandoah" by Frank Ticheli. The junior band played "Prelude and Fugue in C Minor" by J.S. Bach and an arrangement of "Amazing Grace," also by Ticheli.

The mixed choir sang music from Category II, and the treble choir sang Category III. The treble choir's songs included "Praise the King" by Handel. "You've got the potential," wrote one judge of the treble choir. "Just do it."

Seven schools participated in the District 20 Large Group Contest: ACGC, Annandale, Eden Valley-Watkins, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Maple Lake, New London-Spicer, and Paynesville.

The high school choirs will now prepare for a concert of popular music, including songs from the 1960s and 1970s, on Monday, May 6. The bands are still looking for a May concert date, having been bumped from their original date.

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