WHS group takes first place for the third year in a row at the Portland a cappella competition

Soul’d Out may have returned from the Big Apple a bit bruised by the competition there. But everything came up roses for the Wilsonville High School a cappella group Saturday night, when Soul’d Out competed at the Rose City Sing Off May 3 and took home the first-place trophy for the third year in a row.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Soul'd Out members are all smiles as they hold their trophy Saturday night. The Wilsonville High School a cappella group took first place at Portland's Rose City Sing Off for the third year in a row.The students had spent the previous week in New York City competing against nine other top high school a cappella groups. Soul’d Out did not place in that competition, despite having turned in what director Sue Schreiner called a performance to be proud of. She said the group performed similarly well Saturday, back at home in Oregon.

“They just did great. They did the same awesome thing as in New York; they just kind of relaxed,” Schreiner said. “They were home. They were spectacular. I was real proud of them.”

The Rose City Sing Off, produced in partnership with the Portland Rose Festival, draws a cappella groups from around the Northwest. The top three groups split $1,500 in prize money and earn the right to perform during the Rose Festival’s Grand Floral Parade June 7. That performance will be nationally televised.

At the event, nine singing groups from the Portland Metro area and as far away as Eugene performed for three judges at Imago Dei in Southeast Portland. The competition was tight, Schreiner said.

“Each year, the groups in the Rose City Sing Off are just better and better. It really requires us to be better too. We really have to reach to keep winning. It’s not easy at all,” she said.

“Some of the groups were every bit as good as what we saw and heard in New York,” she added. “There were some really good groups to beat. We felt really proud of what they did. It’s becoming a really great a cappella competition and certainly one that isn’t easy to win.”

Soul’d Out performed a total of five songs for the judges.

“We came out of the very first rounds saying, ‘Wow, there’s some really good groups here,’” Schreiner said. “The next round, we gave them ‘Skyfall,’ with Paige (Patterson, soloist), and I said, ‘That will get us into the finals.’ It worked, of course. It’s amazing with her.”

Although Soul’d Out emerged with the win, the group received critical feedback in addition to its trophy.

“The judges in the middle round were pretty hard on us, which was good,” Schreiner said. “I think they should be. And the kids went, ‘Wow, we really did rush the end of that song a little bit.’ ... They’re very good. They really want to be their best.”

Schreiner spends most Monday mornings, before school starts, in rehearsal with the group. This Monday, it was she had only the Rose City Sing Off trophy for company.

“I gave them this morning off. I told them they could sleep in,” she said. “Some of them have AP tests this week, so they’re studying quite a lot.”

On Tuesday, it was back to business for the young singers.

“We’re going to start learning new music, because we have gigs coming up,” Schreiner said.

Soul’d Out will perform close to home for several upcoming events, including Wilsonville Arts Festival ( May 31 and the Tonkin For the Love of Schools Run ( June 1.

By Kate Hoots
Education reporter
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