Cougar Choir Wins Championship

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By Tyler Francke, Contributing Writer

They came. They sang. They conquered. That was the story as the Cougar Choir claimed their first state championship with a pitch-perfect performance in the OSAA Choir State Championships at Oregon State University on May 5.

While Canby High School’s choral program has been prominent locally, regionally and even on a statewide level for years, this is the school’s first championship since the OSAA officially recognized the competition in 1987.

The Cougs were state runners-up twice, in 2014 (tied with Sprague) and 2015, under current director Brooks Gingerich, and in 2007 under his uncle and longtime predecessor, Tom Gingerich.

“Yes, what an epic weekend,” Brooks says. “I’m very thrilled with the whole experience. These singers have been working so hard at this music, and for them to peak at OSU is amazing.”

Despite the school’s drop-down to 5A this year, Canby boasted the largest choir in the state and has been working on its performance routine since January. 

Cougar Choir instructor and student pose with the trophy

The set included five selections: “Jeremiah’s Fire” by Rollo Dilworth, “Domine Ad Adjuvandum” by Gottfried Homilius, “Indonana” by Michael Barrett and Raif Schmitt, “Deus Ex Machina” by Jakub Neske, and an original composition by a local classical musician.

Soloists included Liam Marble, Grey Bell, Jenna Schmidt, Shelia Stearns and Taylor Wohlers. Matt Solem and Kaeden Eide provided backing drums and tambourine, respectively.

“The amount of sectionals, practice videos, laughs, tears and sweat poured into this set is remarkable,” Brooks says. “Our music has taken on a life of its own, and our love for our third song, ‘The Last Words of Christ,’ composed by alumni Becky Stager, really brought an intensity and beauty that transformed the whole set.”