COOS BAY — Two Marshfield High School students placed during last week’s OSAA District 7 Solo Ensemble competition and are moving on to the state championships.
MHS choir teacher Gayelen Adamson gave voice lessons to one of the students last year, and is working with both students on new pieces as they prepare to compete again.
“I’ve been singing my whole life,” said sophomore Alliah Gonzalez, one of the winners. “From a young age my parents always had musicals on. I practiced the songs and performed for my family, where everyone either plays an instrument or sings. I am surrounded by musical people.”
Joining her at state is junior Emerald Russell. Both also won in the district competition last year as well.
“Students from Marshfield have been part of the OSAA District 7 Solo Ensemble forever,” Adamson said. “This regional competition is throughout the state and nationwide. Everyone has their music education association competition, just like basketball and other sports, all under the same umbrella. If they go to state and do really well, there are lots of scholarship opportunities.”
In fact, in 2009 Adamson had one student earn a full ride scholarship during the district competition after a judge from Southern Oregon University heard her sing.
“She was given the scholarship on the spot,” Adamson said.
As for her students going on to state, Adamson said both are diligent and hardworking, carrying the talent needed to win.
“It’s a fun competition because you see so many talented people,” Gonzalez said. “You can go to any room and watch anyone perform and see everyone is at the same level as you. It is stressful in the weeks before, but performing is fun.”
Adamson picked out new pieces for Russell and Gonzalez to sing, choosing them to fit their talent and personality.
“My advice to them as they go on is to practice every day and stay well,” she said. “Their bodies are their instruments. I will work with them to make sure their diction and annunciations are clear, since (Gonzalez) is singing a French piece and (Russell) is singing a German piece, so the words need to be correct.”
According to Adamson, three students from the North Bend School District also won at district and are moving on to the state competition as well.
“Our district overall sang very well,” she said. “For our students, I’m super proud of them. They earned their awards.”