Opus Honor Choir features 26 Decorah area students

Twenty-six students from the Decorah area were recently selected for participation in the twenty-fourth annual Opus Honor Choir Festival.

More than 3,200 students were nominated by their directors for 720 positions in the four Opus Honor Choirs. Selections were made by means of a recorded audition. Twenty-three students city wide were accepted in 2007; thirty in 2008; and this year, twenty-six more from Decorah. This year, 15 students were selected by recordings submitted by Dean Beckman. Decorah Middle School was one of four schools in the entire state to have 15 or more students accepted into the festival choirs. An additional five students were selected through auditions submitted by Linda Martin of the Oneota Valley Youth Choirs. There were also six students nominated and recorded by Jason Rausch at the Decorah High School that were accepted into the 2009 Opus Ninth Grade Choir.

The following students were nominated and recorded by Dean Beckman, Decorah Middle School Vocal Director:

• Sixth grade - Breitenstein, Autumn DeLong, and Trevor Phillips.

• Seventh grade - Gabrielle Cowie, Reese Drenth, and Linnea Kephart, Adam Knight, and Gara Lonning.

• Eighth grade - Rita Marie Guzman, Maria Mertzenich, T. J. Misseldine, Lukas Phillips, Alison Schwartzhoff, Aidan Spencer, and Sean Trewin.

The following students were nominated and recorded by Jason Rausch, Decorah High School Vocal Director:

• Ninth grade - Lucas Blekeberg, Aubrey Ellickson, Hans Holkesvik, Shana Kelly, Hannah Leeper, and Maggie Locke.

The following students were nominated and recorded by Linda Martin of Luther College, Oneota Valley Youth Choir Director -

• Fifth grade - Indigo Fish.

• Sixth grade - Garret Baumler, Katelyn Yee.

• Eighth grade - Lydia Hayes, Blake Taylor.

A record-breaking number of local students were selected to audition for solos to be performed with the choirs during the festival concert. Five local students were selected for this honor: Linnea Kephart, Aidan Spencer, Lydia Hayes, Blake Taylor, and Lucas Blekeberg. Traditionally, only eight students from each choir from across the entire state are invited to audition for solo parts.

Guest conductors of the choirs include Carole Kettwick, fifth and sixth grade Elementary Honor Choir; Andrew Last, seventh and eighth grade Boys Honor Choir; Beth Mueller, seventh and eighth grade Girls Honor Choir; and June Schmidt, ninth grade Mixed Honor Choir. The 2009 Opus Honor Choirs will perform at 4 p.m., November 19 in C. Y. Stephens Auditorium in the Iowa State Center in Ames. The Opus Honor Choir Festival is under the auspices of the Iowa Choral Directors Association, Inc.