All-male choir festival planned

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Times have changed, but the idea of a young men involved with choir still brings to mind a range of stereotypes. “Even today, in 2015, a lot of young men have a lot of pressures when it comes to being involved in the arts, and especially in singing. What does it mean to be a male in a choir versus a male on a football field?” said Justin Raffa, a member of Male Ensemble Northwest (MEN), a group of regional performers and educators. MEN, of which McNary High School Choir Director Jim Taylor is a member, are planning an all-male choir festival Saturday, Oct. 17. MEN performed in Keizer as part of the McNary Area Choir Camp earlier this week. Some of the details are still being hashed out, but the goal is for high school, and possibly middle school male choir students, to get a taste of performing outside the peer pressures of school hallways. “At the core of what MEN is, as an ensemble, is encouraging men to sing. That’s why we formed and what gives us passion. When men talk together, they become friends. When they sing together, they become brothers,” said Dr. Wallace Long, director of choral activities Willamette University. “This brotherhood of men that sings together teaches character and sensitivity and kindness. That’s what this festival will...

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