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LOHS ensemble to join Top Choirs

A Cappella lands a place in an elite music festival in New York, but needs to raise funds to get there

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lake Oswego High Schools A Cappella Choir has earned a spot in the Choirs of America Nationals for Top Choirs music festival in March in New York, and the students are spreading the news. The group is fundraising to pay the about $2,000-per-student cost for the trip. To help, visit https://fundly.com/a-cappella-choir-tour-to-carnegie-hall-nyc.Lake Oswego High School’s A Cappella Choir has scored a place at the invitation-only Choirs of America Nationals for Top Choirs music festival this coming March in New York.

“Performing onstage in front of a large audience is going to build my confidence,” said junior Kevin Pataroque, a baritone.

But the choir is going to need some financial help making its Big Apple adventure happen. Through its fundly.com crowd-funding campaign, which closes Dec. 31, the group had collected almost $3,000 of its $50,000 goal as of Monday. The group has raised $16,500 through other fundraisers, including holding car washes, selling Bob’s Red Mill items, doing restaurant nights at MOD Pizza and Uptown Grill and setting up a shopping night at Mapel Boutique at Bridgeport Village. There’s also been a poster fundraiser, shoe sale, campus clean-up, and a generous grant from the Laker Club, the parent organization at LOHS.REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - A Cappella Choir students practice during class, including, in the front row, from left: Greta Burton, Julia Logue, Bridget Myers.

Individuals also are reaching out to family and friends for a boost, taking on jobs or putting on small fundraisers before they can put on the ritz. Senior Julia Logue plans to perform for potential donors at Stickmen Brewing Company and Maher’s Irish Pub in Lake Oswego.

“I think it’d be nice to share what we’re singing, so they’ll have a reason to donate,” said Logue, an alto. “Through fundraising, we’re able to share with people what we are doing.”

The ensemble earned its place at Nationals for Top Choirs, to be held at Carnegie Hall in midtown Manhattan, along with a small group of other ensembles because the right person heard them sing at a festival last year. Christopher Olin, co-founder of Choirs of America and instructor of choral music education at the University of Oregon, was impressed with A Cappella’s skill and coachability, and encouraged the group to submit a digitally recorded audition.REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Lake Oswego High School Choir Director Megan Perdue accompanies the A Cappella Choir during class last month.

A Cappella Director Megan Perdue said receiving such an invitation is a major accomplishment for the LOHS choral program and a great opportunity. Students will work with St. Olaf College Choir Director Anton Armstrong and debut a piece at Carnegie Hall by renowned composer André Thomas, director of choral studies at Florida State University. The almost 125-year-old venue includes the five-level, 2,804-seat Isaac Stern Auditorium, where the choirs will perform.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing in Carnegie Hall,” Perdue told The Review. “The experience is incredible, just traveling outside of school changes the dynamic. Kids become closer, they problem-solve together.”

Logue said Perdue has served as an example to her through this whole fundraising effort.

“Ms. Perdue has worked really hard to see everyone get together and be organized,” Logue said. “She’s really shown me what it’s like to be confident and strong.”REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - From left, students David Divers and Olin Hanson pause during choir practice to listen to their director.

Perdue said the trip will be “life-changing” musically and personally for the students, many of whom have never traveled to New York. They’ll gain some culture, visiting Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the 9/11 Memorial. The group also will take in a Broadway show — the students voted in favor of “Phantom of the Opera” — and will enjoy a dinner-and-dancing cruise on the Hudson River. Perdue has seen “Phantom” three times on Broadway, but for the teens, the whole experience will be new.

“Many of them have never seen New York, so it will be exciting to see New York through their eyes,” she said.

Senior Christian Schimmelbusch has never set foot in the City that Never Sleeps, a place of storied events that helped create the United States as we know it. He’s descended from an Ellis Island immigrant.

“It’s a great opportunity to see some historical sights,” said Schimmelbusch, a baritone.

Perdue said it is a misconception that all Lake Oswego residents are affluent enough to easily pay the $2,000-per-student cost for this history-rich trip. She aims not to leave anyone behind for lack of funds. She said the 63 students in the group, which includes all members of the elite Windjammers show choir, are “working really hard” to make their way to the East Coast. There’s a fundraiser concert coming up on Dec. 15 that will feature all six LOHS choirs and the Lake Oswego Junior High choir, and the A Cappella singers could come to your own event.REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Members of A Cappella Choir run through a classic, 'Linus and Lucy.' Singers include Madison Richardson, far right.

“We’re always willing to be hired,” said senior Anna Martin, a soprano.

Martin, who’s been nannying to raise dollars, said she thinks this trip will be critical for the choir.

The LOHS choirs “have a slogan: ‘Enter as Individuals, Work as a Team, Leave as a Family,’” Martin said. “I think this is really going to help us leave as a family.”

The trip itself will be a lovely way for the 12th-graders in particular to finish the school year, Logue said.

“It’s my senior year, so it’s kind of an awesome way to end it,” she said.

By Jillian Daley
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What: Seasonal Celebration

Who: All six LOHS choirs and the Lake Oswego Junior High choir

When: 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15

Where: Lake Oswego High School, 2501 Country Club Road

Cost: Free, but donations are welcome

To support the Lake Oswego High School A Cappella Choir, visit www.fundly.com/a-cappella-choir-tour-to-carnegie-hall-nyc.

To learn more about upcoming or individual fundraisers, contact A Cappella Choir Director Megan Perdue at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - A Cappella Choir Director Megan Perdue stops the students mid-music to offer instructions on technique.