Creswell, Education

CMS Choir delivers winning performance at Oaks Park

The Creswell Middle School Choir members pose with trophies after winning their division and an overall choir award during the annual Music in the Park festival held in Portland’s Oaks Park on May 4. Photo provided/Karen Telfer

Adjudicators praised melody and harmony lines that were ”really together and blended,” ”accurate pitches” and ”attention to dynamics” as the Creswell Middle School Choir won its division during the Music in the Parks festival May 4 in Portland’s Oaks Park.
It was the second consecutive year that the CMS Choir took first place in the Middle School Mixed Choir A Division at Oaks Park and received the Overall Choir Award for having the highest point total among all middle school performers.
”I’m really proud of these kids,” said Choir Director Erik Telfer.
The choir performed ”True Colors,” arranged by Jesse Hampsch and ”Sisi Ni Moja,” by Jacob Narverud, featuring Elliot Buehler on djembe.
Creswell received a rating of ”Excellent” with an average score of 86.25 from clinicians/adjudicators Margaret Green and John K. Cox.
Green, the vocal music director at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, an arts magnet school in Vancouver, Washington, is an adjudicator and guest clinician for high school and middle school choral events, an honor choir conductor, award-winning teacher and more.
Cox is a visiting assistant professor of music and director of the Reed Chorus and Collegium Musicum. Prior to Reed, he spent five years as director of performance at Union College in Schenectady, New York. A singer as well as a conductor, he regularly performs with the Grammy-nominated Skylark Ensemble, Cappella Romana and True Concord.
Green and Cox praised the CMS Choir’s ”lovely sound” on ”True Colors,” their ”vocal energy” on ”Sisi Ni Moja” and their musical preparedness, accurate pitches and attention to dynamics, while encouraging continued work toward a better blend in each section and overall balance between the parts.
”I really enjoy taking the choir to this festival; it gives them something to work toward at the end of the school year and shows them the importance of working hard and that there is more to just singing a song,” Telfer said.
As choir director for both CMS and Creslane Elementary School and music teacher at Creslane, Telfer has taught most CMS Choir students since kindergarten, making the educational Oaks Park festival enjoyable and rewarding for teacher and students alike.
”It’s fun to give them a festival trip where they perform and then get to have fun at Oaks Park for the day,” Telfer said. ”It’s fun to see their anticipation at the awards ceremony at the end of the day and share in their excitement when our choir is announced to receive an award.”
The choir also held its lively, pop-oriented Spring Concert at CMS on May 21, performing two of the songs that earned its division win at Oaks Park.
The concert opened with ”The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by ”Wake Me Up!”, ”True Colors” and ”The Climb.”
Next came the lyrical ”Ocean Eyes,” the 2015 debut single by then-14-year-old Billie Eilish, written by her older brother, Finneas O’Connell. Soloists were Gracelyn Kofoid and Annalicia Alvarez.
Seventh grader Tylyn Bowles then played ukulele and sang ”I Don’t Know My Name.”
”It was something she was going to do for the middle school talent show, which got canceled, so I invited her to perform her song,” Telfer said.
Soloists Kaylee Dykes, Sarah Mullen, Akasha Lawson, Nayana Martinez, Zoie Garcia, Danielle Burnette and Lexi Williamson were showcased on ”Titanium,” followed by ”The Defining Moment.”
The choir closed with ”Sisi Ni Moja,” with Buehler on hand drum.
”I am very proud of my choir students,” Telfer said. ”I am always in awe of their concert performances, and I love seeing their families beam with pride in the experience.”



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