Day: May 21, 2010

Middle school choirs first, third at Northwest festival

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes The Whiteaker Middle School (WMS) concert choir placed first for the second consecutive year at the prestigious Best in the Northwest Choir Festival. What’s more, Claggett Creek was third at the same event and McNary was first in the high school division. In claiming the top spot, WMS bested a field that included 16 other middle and junior high concert choirs from throughout Oregon and Washington. The festival was held Thursday, May 13, at the University of Portland and was sponsored by its Performing and Fine Arts Department. The choir earned a perfect 100 from one of the three judges, a rarity in competitions at this level. “They practice hard. They perform with intensity and heart. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from them,” said Andy Thomas, the school’s choir director. “I am so proud of them for what they accomplished.” The choir sang “Kaki Lambe,” a traditional song from Senegal; “Helig” by Felix Mendelssohn, “Deo Dicamus Gratias” by G. A. Homilius, “Drink to Me only With Thine Eyes” by Andy Thomas, featuring Emily Wade on the viola; and, “Worthy to be Praised” by Byron Smith. The Wolverines peaked at the right time. “The last couple of weeks we really came together as a team,” said student Zach Wehrli. “We worked really hard for this competition and did the best that we...

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‘I did this because I thought it would be fun’

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes Wendy Nelson is Keizer’s Junior Miss for 2011. In winning the title, she bested a field that included 21 other contestants. First Alternate was Rebecca LaPorte with Ali Zuro the Finalist. Nelson said winning the title wasn’t her primary reason for entering. “I did this because I thought it would be fun; I wasn’t doing this to win,” she said. “The other girls in the program were so fantastic. They were so sweet. They were my buds.” Nelson wowed the audience with her rendition of “I Feel Pretty” from “West Side Story.” The song was written and composed by Leonard Bernstein. Nelson noted she chose this particular song  because it was light-hearted and could be played with on stage. She was more confident with the talent portion of the program than she was with the other categories – Fitness and Self Expression – also spotlighted Saturday night. “I was a little nervous heading into fitness,” Nelson said. In Self Expression, Nelson was asked the question: What does pride mean to you? “My answer wasn’t fabulous, but it was coherent, and that’s a start,” she said. The program’s other categories were Scholastic Achievement and Interview Skills. Judging of these took place prior to the program. Nelson’s scholarship and awards included a Junior Miss medallion and silver iris pendant from Boucher Jewelers, $1,500 scholarship award...

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Nobody did it better at NW Festival

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes News keeps getting better and better for the McNary High School concert choir. The choir placed first at one of the region’s most prestigious competitions less than a week after placing second at state. Top honors came at the Best in the Northwest Concert Choir Festival, held at the University of Portland. The choir’s trip home was marked by a Keizer Fire Department escort once it reached city limits. “It was really cool,” said senior Libby Bonn, who added the show of support was appreciated. “It felt like our community cared about our school and how we did at the program.” Results also reinforced an old adage: Hard work pays dividends. “It really solidified all of the work we put in throughout the entire year, and it made all of our extra rehearsals and all of our class work 10 times more worth it,” said choir member Kyle Kuhns, a junior. A third student, Brando Busciglio, agreed. “I just feel like all the hard work the group as a whole has done, and the seniors have done since their freshman year, I feel like it’s finally paying off,” Busciglio  said. “And the McNary choir is being noticed. We’re really making an impact.” Eagle High School from Idaho was second and Sprague High School was third. Like state, anxious moments intensified prior to the...

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Iris parade favorites know the ropes

A crowd favorite returns to this year’s Iris Festival parade. The Clear Lake Jumping Stars is a group of children in grades second through fifth. The first step to becoming a Star comes with joining the school’s jump rope club. Club members must progress through three levels – Red, White and Blue – before being considered for the Jumping Stars. “Each spring we have tryouts for the kids who have completed the three levels,” said assistant Patti Lee. The clubs meets weekly before school for practice. The Jumping Stars take their routine on the road, entertaining at halftime at McNary High School basketball games. The Stars which also performs at Willamette University and Corban College, are a regular in the Iris Festival Parade. Every spring, new members join the Jumpers so they can be part of the parade. This year they’ll have first graders in action. Coach Sherma Becktel has been involved with the jump rope club for years, with the last two of these years spent as head coach. Lee helps with anything that needs to be done. Jumping Stars have been in existence for 10 years and are very much a Clear Lake tradition. This year the club will have 31 children in the parade. “We will coach the team again next year, but will be looking for volunteers the following year,” said...

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Love Iris? Thank this woman

The Iris Festival simply wouldn’t be possible without the dozens of volunteers who contribute each year. While every contribution is valuable, there’s no one who lives and breathes the Iris Festival – and not getting paid a dime for it – like Teresa Walsh, chair of the Iris Festival committee. This is her third year leading the committee, and her sixth year as a member. “These people have actually become my extended family,” Walsh said. “These people have become my extended family.” Walsh wasn’t born around here, but got here as fast as she could. She moved with her family, with her dad in the military, before settling in at West Linn High School. After meeting husband Richard – an attorney and now a city councilor – the family moved to the Salem area, and after a brief stint in West Salem, moved to Keizer about 13 years ago. “We were looking around for a community that would fit kids, church and a community feel,” Walsh said. “Keizer was absolutely the best choice. Was thrilled to death when we moved here.” The Iris Festival fits in nicely with what she loved then and still enjoys now – a small-town feel in a mid-sized town. “The heart of Keizer hasn’t changed,” Walsh said. “That’s the coolest thing about the festival and Keizer. You’d never know there were 36,000 people here....

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