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Singing out loud

Fifth-grader Logan Stugart's voice will blend with the Oregon Symphony
by: Jonathan House, Eight-year-old Logan Stugart has released his first CD, “Simple Gifts,” above, and will perform with the Oregon Symphony.

When Logan Stugart sings with the Oregon Symphony this weekend, he'll do so with a three-octave range and ability to hit a high C sharp if necessary.

'That's probably as high as he'd want to perform,' said Logan's mother, Maija Mueller.

What makes the young soprano's talent so impressive is he's only in the fifth grade, a student at Aloha-Huber Park School.

On Saturday and Monday, Stugart will sing the boy's soprano part in Leonard Bernstein's 'Chichester Psalms.'

His teacher, Laura Frye, discovered Stugart's musical ability when he was 5, and performed at his school when he lived in Gaston.

'I did a solo with her in kindergarten and she told my mom I had talent and needed to do something with that,' recalled Stugart.

Following the performance, Frye told Mueller how impressed she was with his Stugart's singing ability.

'She said in her 30 years of teaching she only had one other child with his natural ability,' said Mueller. 'She suggested we either find a choir for him or start him on the violin.'

Stugart's musical ability surprised Mueller because neither herself nor her husband, Greg, sing.

But the next step was to find a choir.

Initially believed to have been too young for the Portland Boy Choir, Stugart joined that choir when he turned 7, becoming the youngest member they ever had, according to Mueller.

At the time, David York was the artistic director of the group, and during the years has provided scores of encouragement for Stugart.

When Stugart left the choir three years later, he joined the Pacific Youth Choir, which lead to the audition with the Oregon Symphony, where he went through several auditions before being selected a soloist in January, most likely because the range of his voice and the fact it carries so well.

'I had the loudest (actually biggest) voice,' said Stugart. 'The other two people couldn't quite fill up the Schnitz.'

In September, Stugart began working on his first CD, 'Simple Gifts,' a compilation album of songs of inspiration and beauty.

'It's some of the types of songs I sing,' he said. 'It's really just to help people in time of need and give them happiness or hopefulness.'

Also appearing on the work is the David York Ensemble and violinist Aaron Meyer.

York helped guide Stugart through the 11-song CD, which was recorded at Portland's Kung Fu Bakery.

'It's been a real intense couple of months,' said Mueller. 'We recorded the entire album in 10 days, over five sessions, which is crazy now that we've done it.'

Stugart had not sung some of the songs on the album - including 'Ave Maria' - and had only a month to practice. That included practicing when the family was on a Disneyland vacation, where he spent one-half hour singing in the morning and in the evening.

Marine biologist

His mother says her son has his gift of having an ear for music and great pitch.

'He can hear a song once and he can sing it note for note,' she said.

Stugart said he's pleased with his freshman album effort.

'It came out really well,' he said. 'I'm really happy with it.'

In the end, 1,000 CDs were produced and will be on sale at the Oregon Symphony concert. For more information on Stugart and to hear an audio clip of his CD, go to: www.bigbarkmusic.com.

Still, it's not only inspirational music Stugart is attracted to.

In addition to his choir work, Stugart takes pop music lessons with Mark Bosnian (keyboard player for Nu Shooz, playing on their hit 'I Can't Wait'), who is a studio musician.

'I like John Mayer. I like the Decembrists and The Fray,' he said.

In addition, he even enjoys the country music his father listens to and is a big classic rock fan as well.

'I like the Rolling Stones and I like Bon Jovi,' he said.

At the Portland Boy Choir talent show, he performed the Stones' 'Sympathy for the Devil.'

Despite his talent, he's not positive his future will be in music.

'It would be fun and it's definitely an option but there are other careers I'd like to pursue,' he said. 'I'd like to be a marine biologist.'

Next year he'll attend classes at the SUMMA options program at Whitford.

Knowing what he knows would he cut another album?

'I think it was fun but definitely a lot of hard work,' he said. 'I'd do it again if I was given the chance.'

Stugart will sing Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Monday at 8 p.m. Tickets are available through the Oregon Symphony or TicketMaster.