Day: October 26, 2011

What it takes to sing (When your voice fails you)

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes American novelist Henry Miller once wrote: “To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing.” Miller never met Camille Nelson. The McNary High School senior, and veteran of the best high school choir in the state, wants to sing more than most people her age. She would settle for singing along to the radio in her car, but for the foreseeable future, even that small grace has been denied her. If Miller had met Camille, he would have known singing also takes vocal cords, two of them, and Camille has been relegated to just one. “It’s a really weird feeling. I was driving in my car and I just started singing along to the radio and then nothing came out. My mind knows what it’s supposed to be doing, but it just doesn’t work,” Camille said. Camille spent much of her young life focused on bettering two skills – singing and soccer – but a diagnosis of thyroid cancer early last summer and a surgery that left her with a paralyzed vocal cord has hampered her efforts at both. Camille fell ill with strep throat near the end of her junior year,...

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Longtime city attorney finds joy in variety

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes You might be able to predict our first question for E. Shannon Johnson, city attorney: What does the E stand for? “Eric.” He told us. “My dad was Swedish. My mom was Irish. Mom won out because she’s Irish.” That explains that. His grandparents emigrated from those respective countries. Johnson, 57, was born in Eugene and moved to Portland with his parents when he was a child. Dad was a truck driver for Arco; Mom was a billing clerk for Freightliner. He grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood of north Portland. Young Johnson never wavered on what he wanted to do. Neither did his younger brother, Tom, who wanted to be a teacher and is doing just that at Barlow High School. “I guess it was the fact that I could fix problems for people,” Johnson said. “(But) I’m too old; I don’t remember what kind of attorney I wanted to be when I was a kid.” He graduated from Roosevelt High School, got a bachelor’s degree at Portland State University in sociology and urban studies, and went to Willamette University for law school. How did he handle the stress? Well, “I never wanted to quit. … It wasn’t easy, but it was fascinating learning all the stuff.” He credited the late professors Carlton Snow, who taught contract law, and John Paulus, who taught...

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