'Music is one of the purest and most beautiful forms of unity, for music is the language that everyone is fluent in.' -Senior Abigail Marine

COURTESY PHOTO - Canby choir members enjoy their third place state victory at George Fox University on May 5.After their Three Rivers League victory last month, On Saturday, May 5, Canby High School's Concert Choir took the 6A state stage and claimed more victories, including third place overall, the highest performance score by a judge and the highest sight reading score.

"I am extremely pleased with how we did," said Choir Director Brooks Gingerich.

Several factors play into the overall score of 360 points possible: performance scores out of 100 from three judges, sight reading out of 60 and possible time deductions.

In their performance, Canby received the highest score from a judge at 97. But the champions, West Salem, and the second place winners, South Salem, earned higher performance averages.

"To have tied the state record for sight reading...was a dream come true." -senior Nathan Oakley

Canby was not to be defeated in sight reading though as they tied their 2015 record at 59.

"Choir has been such an important part of my life in high school and getting a trophy, especially third place, at the state championships was the perfect way to end my time at Canby," said senior choir member Nathan Oakley. "To have tied the state record for sight reading (set previously by Canby) was a dream come true and I am so proud of my team for all of our hard work this year."

COURTESY PHOTO - Canby's concert choir is made up of 55 males and 54 females and is directed by Brooks Gingerich, the guy in the back row with his arm in the air.

"Song is meant to instill hope, teach community and heal." -Choir Director Brooks Gingerich

Canby choir students train regularly for sight reading—practicing in class and sometimes after school. But even with the choir's diligence and his own competitive nature, Gingerich aims to keep the most important things first.

"It's so easy to overthink think things, and if getting first is all that matters, we all can get burned out, and forget the true purpose of song.  Song is meant to instill hope, teach community and heal," Gingerich said. "I am very competitive, but I channel all of that energy in sight-reading, since that is the part that isn't influenced on opinion. If these singers can find their personal best when it matters, that is success, and excellence. I am very humbled and honored to get to teach these incredible musicians. To see them work so hard towards something beautiful, inspires me every day. Hard work pays off, just keep at it."

Canby's performance was comprised of five numbers: Deus in Adjutorium, Duh Tvoy Blagiy, Sohran Bushi, Ave Maria and My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord.

COURTESY PHOTO - Canby's concert choir performed in the OSAA 6A state competition at George Fox University on May 5.

"Music is one of the purest and most beautiful forms of unity, for music is the language that everyone is fluent in." -Senior Abigail Marine

As they sang Ave Maria, the entire choir joined hands when Axel Kyllo began his solo. With that act, senior choir member Abigail Marine could not help but notice a sense of unity with her own peers and with the nations whose songs they were singing.

"Singing and seeking to accomplish a mutual goal with 108 other human beings is extraordinarily beautiful and rare during these times where everything seems so individualized," Marine said. "When the cadence of the timeless music that we sing sets and you can feel the aligned heartbeats through the palms of our conjoined hands, is when I truly realized how amazing this choir that I am a part of is. This giant mass of people who go to a high school in the obscure town of Canby, Oregon are singing music from Russia, Italy, Japan, and America and through this we are commemorating and showing our respect for all of these countries. Music is one of the purest and most beautiful forms of unity, for music is the language that everyone is fluent in."

To hear Canby's choir express the language of music, check out their state performance online. There are also more chances to hear the choir live as they will hold a concert on May 30 and May 31 at 7 p.m. at Richard R. Brown Fine Arts Center.

Kristen Wohlers
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