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Enumclaw High School vocal program building to crescendo

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By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

When Paul Scott took over the Enumclaw High School vocal program four years ago he was the fourth teacher in five years. The program lacked continuity and about 40 students greeted him in the classroom.

Right now, the EHS concert choir, 53 voices strong, is preparing for its upcoming concert and three other groups - camerata, an all women’s ensemble, the chorale, a group of beginners, and the chamber choir, which travels - involve 100 students, 15 more than the year before. Students are allowed to participate in just two chorale offerings at a time, so there are few repeaters in those four groups.

And choir, unlike math or English, is an elective.

“They choose to be here,” Scott said. “And they have homework, but they love being here. I think they work harder in class because they choose to be in it.”

The concert choir is rehearsing hard right now, he said, preparing for two performances, 7 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15 at the Enumclaw High auditorium. The cost is $2 with proceeds going toward the purchase of a choir shell to replace the dilapitated original from 1965 that the school is using.

The theme for the concert is about fresh starts, rebirth and new beginnings. Scott refers to it as a “growing concert theme,” which reflects a new school year with new voices and the learning taking place.

“There’s a lot of music in here that’s never been put in front of these students,” Scott said. He said that’s part of the education, stretching them to try different styles and genres.

“They’re just flying with it,” he said. “It’s exciting to watch them grow.”

Enumclaw High vocal students generally present 8 to 12 performances during a school year. The Hornets of Enumclaw also started a tradition with the Hornets of White River last year to get together and perform a concert. Enumclaw High students also join voices with the Cascade Foothills Chorale during the year.

A number of individual students are also preparing to audition for state and all-northwest choirs. Scott said about 25 students are planning entries.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said.

In April, the concert and chamber choirs will take a bus tour to California, performing in some of the area’s biggest venues along the way and working with university professors and other directors.

“It’s an educational tour as well as a performing tour, which is important to me,” Scott said.

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

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