On Friday, May 19, the students arrived by coach bus. That evening they took a boat cruise on Lake Okoboji and had free time at their hotel to swim and socialize.
Early Saturday morning, three groups from Paynesville, the treble, mixed, and men's choir, performed in the festival. They sang three songs each.
Three judges audio taped and wrote down observations about the performances. Choir members were later able to hear and read these comments in class.
After they were done singing, choir students listened to other schools perform. Choirs came from Jackson County Central, Minnesota; Sioux Center, Iowa; and Sioux City, Iowa.
Laura Stoneburner, a member of the treble choir, said, "I thought we did really well, but there were way better choirs there."
"I was very proud of my students," said director Cheryl Bungum. "It was a good experience to listen to those tremendous choirs. Those schools could have competed against all of Iowa and still come out on top."
The students spent Saturday afternoon riding amusement park rides at Arnold's Park, taking a boat cruise on "The Queen", and visiting the Maritime Museum.
"My favorite part was Arnold's Park," said Stoneburner.
At the awards ceremony on Saturday evening, the men's choir took home a second place trophy in the a capella category. They scored 35 out of 40 from all three judges.
In the concert choir category, the mixed choir placed fifth with scores of 35, 35, and 33. The treble choir placed eighth, scoring 29, 30, and 31.
The scoring was based on eight categories, worth five points apiece. The categories included specific aspects of singing, like tone quality, intonation, rhythm, and blend.
The three ensembles from a school in Sioux Center, Iowa, placed first, second, and third in the concert choir category. Their winning mixed choir received a perfect score of 40 from all three judges. The school also earned the distinction of Grand Champion Choir for the festival.
The Paynesville students returned on Sunday, May 21, in time to perform at the baccalaureate program at the high school that night.
"It was fun to learn what we need to do to get better," said Mark Braun, who also participated in the Blue Water Music Festival last year.
Chaperones were: Rich Philabaum, Mary Jo Buermann, Dawn Orbeck, Barb Ingalsbe, and Amber Ingalsbe.
Choir awards On Monday, May 22, choir awards were given out at the fine arts awards banquet.
Becca Gardner and Scott Ingalsbe were given an award for being selected to the all-state choir. The National School Choral Award, for overall contribution to the choir program, went to Ryan Lang. Trista Dukowitz won the Chopin Award for being an outstanding pianist.
Three students qualified for the Special Merit Award. These students were Allison Thompson, Lang, and Gardner. This award is based on a system of points that can be earned through participation in choir-related activities.
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