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WHS Concert Choir sings at Big South Choir Festival

Select upperclass members of the WHS Concert Choir were part of the Honor Choir at the 2018 Big South Choir Festival, hosted Monday at St. James. Seen with the Big South Honor Choir director Dr. Axel Theimer (back row, far left) are (front row, from left) Sarah Spieker, Sarah DeSmith, Anna Meyer, Kayla Anderson, Katie O’Donnell and Kalea Appel; back row, Davis Moore, Blaine Doeden, Benjamin Lopez, Pwe Ku, New Bu and Christipher Lee. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington High School Concert Choir, directed by Kerry Johnson, participated Monday in the annual Big South Choir Festival.

Hosted this year by St. James, the festival gathered hundreds of choir students from WHS, Jackson County Central, Luverne, St. James and Blue Earth Area high schools to share in a day of music-making and constructive critiques from guest conductors.

Dr. Axel Theimer and André Heywood, both music professors and choral specialists associated with St. John’s University of St. Joseph, were the 2018 clinicians and conductors of the Big South Honor Choir and mass Festival Choir, respectively.

Select Honor Choir members gathered to rehearse in the morning and performed two numbers — “Hold Me, Rock Me” by Brian Tate and “Homeland” arranged by Z. Randall Strope, at the evening concert. They benefited from the decades of choral experience Theimer brought to the table; besides being a 49-year member of the St. John’s/St. Ben’s faculty, Theimer is the founder of the Twin Cities-based professional choral group Kantorei, director of the National Catholic Youth Choir, the 2001 Minnesota American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Director of the Year and a 2004 inductee to the Minnesota Music Educators Association Hall of Fame.

Theimer also was assigned to hear and critique the WHS Concert Choir during their afternoon clinic.

The day culminated with a 6:30 p.m. concert involving each of the participating choirs — including the JCC choir, under the direction of 2013 WHS graduate Emma Jirele.

The WHS juniors and seniors selected for the 2018 Big South Honor Choir included sopranos Sarah DeSmith, Sarah Spieker and Anna Meyer; altos Kayla Anderson, Kalea Appel and Katie O’Donnell; tenors Christipher Lee, Pwe Ku and New Bu; and basses Blaine Doeden, Benjamin Lopez and Davis Moore.

The WHS Concert Choir will next perform locally on Tuesday in a 7 p.m. concert at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center as a prelude to their appearance on Nov. 16 at the Minnesota ACDA state conference.

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