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Two WHS students sing in select choir

WHS students Cameron Jenson (left) and Selina Hua pose Thursday during the 9/10 Honor Choir event in Minneapolis. (Submitted photo)

WORTHINGTON — Worthington High School (WHS) sophomores Cameron Jenson and Selina Hua represented the community as members of the select 9/10 Honor Choir at the Minnesota Music Educators Association annual mid-winter clinic in Minneapolis on Thursday.

Jenson, a bass, and Hua, an alto, performed in a 5:30 p.m. concert at Central Lutheran Church along with 126 other auditioned young singers from across Minnesota. Both Hua and Jenson were chosen for the Mixed Honor Choir and were under the baton of clinician Dr. Allen Hightower, the first Weston Noble Endowed Chair in Music at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa.

“Cameron and Selina were terrific representatives of Worthington throughout the day,” said Kerry Johnson, director of choral activities at WHS.

“It’s a great experience for every kid who gets to do something like this, because they see the upper echelon of performance and bring back an understanding of choral music and choral rehearsal to share with the rest of their home choir.”

Last fall, Johnson aided and Hua, along with several other eligible students, in rehearsing for and preparing audition tapes that were rated anonymously by a selection committee from the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) of Minnesota.

“It’s a great honor for the kids who are chosen,” said Johnson, “but all the kids who audition gain a lot in their own performance ability by making the effort to prepare.”

The 9/10 Honor Choir, sponsored by the ACDA, required the students to learn five pieces on their own prior to the February date. On Thursday, they polished and refined those songs from 7:30 a.m. until nearly concert time under Hightower’s instruction.

“I really liked working with Dr. Hightower,” agreed Jenson, who is also a student trumpeter, cellist, pianist and organist. 

Added Hua, “We learned a lot of different techniques from him, and got a lot of experience singing with the other students. I really liked meeting the other singers from around the state.”

Of the five numbers the choir performed, “Break of Day” by Michael John Trotta is the one Hua and Jenson each cited as their favorite.

“It had a cool oboe part with it and was a beautiful song,” said Jenson, while Hua observed, “It made you feel like everything was happy, and you just wanted to s tay right where you were, look around, enjoy life and be thankful for it.”

Johnson believes giving students the chance to participate in activities such as the 9/10 Honor Choir contributes to their educations.

“Any opportunity we see for student growth is something we want to take advantage of, whether that’s for the whole choir or for individual students,” said Johnson, whose WHS Concert Choir participated by special invitation at the St. Olaf Choral Festival in Northfield last November. 

In all, Johnson conducts 126 students this year in the WHS Concert Choir and Trojan Choir.

While no upper class music students from Worthington were accepted for participation in other 2014 All-State music groups, WHS senior Will Dudley, who was recently named the Region 2AA Triple “A” male award recipient, qualified as an alternate for the All-State Choir following a spring 2013 audition.