Published on Thu, May 2, 2002 by Richard E. Clark

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By Richard E. Clark

After the Blaine high school concert choir had sung, “Hush! Somebody’s Callin’ my Name,” Tuesday evening, my name was called for a standing ovation. Although I was the only member of the audience who stood, clapping my hands to the stinging point, I believe that response was well deserved.

Although there was a slight shortage of males for the ideal 60/40 mix of women to men, those young fellows projected their voices with a force solid enough to bring about the ideal balance so often treasured by high school music instructors. Projection is often a problem plaguing school choruses. But not for this group; we elders didn’t need to turn up our hearing aids. Dynamic variety sandwiched between crisp attacks and cutoffs must have made Andy happy. Me too.

Amazingly, this intelligent beginning lasted throughout the entire concert. I could hardly believe my ears. I enjoyed it more than some concerts priced at fifteen bucks or more.

Selectivity was another feature that pleased me. A certain musical maturity was the result of wisely chosen pieces combined with skilled playing. Four selections displayed widely different styles. “Land of Make Believe” seemed nearly impressionistic, and quite a contrast to the beat of “Fast Freddie.” It was a maturity that must have made Bob happy. Me too.

Thrilling to me were the solos and duets. Here, unadulterated professionalism was key. Consider the voice production of Michael Mones and Jake Schulte. One traditionally expects as much of young women. The boys took the limelight this time. Then came the artful work of bass clarinetist Glen-Bob Hamburg, the alto saxophone tone production of Kit Schumann, and the flowing dynamism of oboist Jake Hamburg. Such advanced musicianship must have pleased accompanist Nancy Heyer. Me too.

Finally, one-third of the audience that had rudely departed between performances, missed the crowning performances of one of the largest ensembles I’ve ever seen and heard on the campus. “The Fairest of the Fair” and “A Tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein” must have pleased John Philip Sousa and Calvin Custer. Me too.

Deserving of congratulations are the many students who performed so beautifully Tuesday evening. And who trained them so well? Why, it was none other than Andy Harmening and Robert Gray. Those two.

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