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Paly Choirs Sweep Anaheim Heritage Festival Awards

Original post made by Theresa, Palo Alto High School, on Apr 3, 2007

The Palo Alto High School Concert Choir, under the direction of Michael Najar, swept the choral division of the Anaheim Heritage Festival this past weekend. Only 26 members of the choir were able to make the trip, as it was the first weekend of Spring Break, but those who participated took home a lot of gold as well as enjoying many hours at Disneyland.

The Concert Choir was awarded first place for choirs in Division 2A (medium size schools), and placed in the Gold category. Gold awards are given to choirs who earn more than 90 points on average from the three adjudicators.

A special award given by the adjudicators to choirs that average 95 points or higher was also awarded to the concert choir. Paly's choir was the only choral group to win this award.

The concert choir was also named the Outstanding Choral Group of the entire event, which consisted of approximately 35 vocal groups from across the country. The shower of awards included a plaque and three enormous trophies.

The Concert Choir performed "Et Un Seule Fleur," "Oh Danny Boy," and "Aina That Good News" in competition.

The Concert Choir members who participated are Sai Boddoupalli, Beth Bergen, James Brown, Kate Carey, Pooja Chaudhuri, Joseph Choi, Alex Gaya, Martin Gutfeldt, Theda Howard, Zach Howard, DJ Hsueh, Shameem Jamil, Aaron Jones, Arunima Kohli, Jessica Kuo, Monet Lane, Andrew Levin, Jasmine Mark, Maria Miller, Maggie Mitchell, Keerthi Naidu, Patrick O'Konski, Andrew Proudian, Nadav Schiffman, Simone Verbaken, and Ellen Weaver.

The Spectrum Singers, a group of 11 women, also won first place in Division 2A for female singing groups, placing in Gold as well. They tied with a women's choir from La Canada High School. The Spectrum Singers for the festival are seniors Kate Carey, Jasmine Mark, Beth Bergen, and Dayna Scheissler; juniors Keerthi Naidu, Theda Howard, Jessica Kuo, and Maggie Mitchell; sophomores Simone Verbaken and Maria Miller, and freshman Kira Billperson.

The Spectrum Singers performed "Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?", "Tota Puchra," and "Come Again" in competition.

Paly also won the Sweepstakes Award, which is given to the school with the highest average point total earned by multiple groups.

You can hear these award-winning choral groups perform at the Spring Concert, to be held at St. Mark's Church on May 4. They will also sing for the Compline service at Stanford Memorial Church on April 22, starting at 9PM.

Comments (9)

Posted by Simon Firth
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 3, 2007 at 12:42 pm

Hurrah for the singers! I hope they get as much coverage in the local press as is regularly given to school sports teams. It's wonderful to see our students excelling in the arts as well as in athletics, and they deserve to be celebrated just as much by the community.

Posted by Theresa
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2007 at 2:12 pm

Simon, thank you for your note. I was a chaperone on this trip and it was a lot of fun to see the choirs (and Mike Najar) receive awards for their wonderful work. Mr. Najar has developed a terrific repertoire for all the choir groups at Paly -- they are all learning so much and performing some incredible music.

I sent the above to both papers and haven't seen anything printed yet. Jocelyn at the Weekly says they'll run something in the "Around Town" section, but the current issue of the paper doesn't seem to have that. Maybe Friday...??

I was thinking that the Weekly should have an "Artist of the Week" along with their "Athlete of the Week" feature. There are kids out there doing amazing things in the arts that get no recognition.

Posted by Simon Firth
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 3, 2007 at 2:55 pm

I for one would LOVE to see an 'artist of the week' pictured along with the athlete of the week! Great idea!

Posted by congratulations
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2007 at 4:57 pm


Posted by A.J.
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 3, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Congratulations!! Having been in a school choir that could never have achieved such feats, I know what a tremendous accomplishment this is! We have some truly talented members of our community!

So when's the fundraiser CD coming out? I'm in!

Posted by Theresa
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 3, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Oooh, a fundraiser CD. I'll ask Mr. Najar; that's a good idea. I know he's been collecting recordings for a couple of years now. You can listen to some podcasts on the choir website -- Web Link Click on the "Podcast" link on the lefthand side.

The choir is planning a trip to Europe for Summer 2008 and will definitely need to raise money for that. They toured Brazil last summer; my daughter was not part of that trip, but I've heard a lot of stories.

I've put up some videos that I recorded at various choir concerts (Madrigal Dinner in December and the Valentine's Concert in February) on my YouTube page. The quality leaves a little something to be desired, and the page features my daughter (senior Kate Carey) but they'll give you an idea of some of the work the choir is performing this year. Web Link

Posted by Theresa
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 10, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Update: The Paly Choir is recording a CD next week. They have been performing extremely difficult pieces this year, and I'm thrilled that they will be making a permanent record of their achievements.

I heard that the PA Weekly sent a reporter to rehearsal yesterday -- perhaps we'll see an article about the award-winning Paly Choir in the near future.

Posted by Patricia
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 6, 2008 at 4:15 pm

The Palo Alto Choir gave a stunning Valentine's Day performance! Read about it here:

Web Link

Posted by Shannon
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 7, 2009 at 9:52 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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