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Nyssa singers take second place at state choir competition

Nyssa’s Select Choir members celebrate their No. 2 finish at the state competition, held in Corvallis. (Submitted photo)

Note: The date for Nyssa High School’s Spring Choir Concert has been changed to this Wednesday, May 15. The concert starts at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at the school.

NYSSA – The Nyssa High School Select Choir placed second at the OSAA Choir State 3A Championships held recently at Oregon State University.

“The students were so excited to bring home a second-place trophy, as the choir has not been to the state competition in some years,” said Gretchen Longwell, Nyssa choir director. “The students have worked very hard this year, improving their vocal development skills and their sight-reading abilities. Most importantly, the choir functioned as a real team, working together to achieve this remarkable accomplishment.”

The state competition included both a sight-reading session and a rehearsed performance, for which the Nyssa choir “performed a varied repertoire that represented diverse styles and languages” and featured solo performances by seniors Christian Medina, Taylor Talbot and Hailey Long.

Qualifying to compete at state is no small task. The Nyssa choir qualified for state championships at the Oregon Music Education Association District 6 choral festival held at Eastern Oregon University in March. They were one of eight choirs to compete at the 3A state level.

Nyssa, which sent 24 performers to state, finished with 255 points, following Westside Christian, which placed first with 319 points. Salem Academy was third with 247 points, and Sutherlin was fourth with 237 points.

Nyssa’s repertoire at state was comprised of four songs: “Umahlalela,” a traditional South African song arranged by Michael Barrett; “The Water Is Wide,” composed by Stephen Paulus; “Juego a que me quemo,” a traditional Columbian song arranged by Julian Gomez Giraldo; and “City Called Heaven,” arranged by Josephine Poelinitz.

The Nyssa choir was judged on how it performed the songs and on sight reading. In sight reading, choirs had to sing pieces of written music they had not seen before. They had to perform several pieces after seeing each for only a minute and a longer one after viewing it for two minutes. 

Two Nyssa choir students also performed at the OSAA State Solo Championships at Pacific University held Saturday, April 27. 

Sophomore Chloe Paton finished eighth for soprano voice, which had a field of 31 contestants. In the mezzo soprano classification, senior Hailey Long finished 17th. 

Nyssa choir students Hailey Long (left) and Chloe Paton also competed at the OSAA State Solo Championships. (Submitted photo)

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