Students perform in all-state choir

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Three students represented Oconto Falls High School in the prestigious 2017 Wisconsin Choral Directors Association All-State Choir.

The singers were three juniors, Camden Jackson, son of Jeff and Pam Jackson; Hunter Ryczek, son of Ginny Dunsworth and Chad Ryczek; and Peter Murphy, son of Candice Behnke and Steven Murphy.

The 120-voice All-State Men’s Choir performed “Brightest and Best” arranged by Shawn Kirchner, “Zion’s Walls” by Aaron Coplan, “Black is the Color” by Connor Koppin, “The God Who Gave Us Life” by Randall Thompson, and “We Rise Again” by Leon Dubinsky and Stephen Smith. They gave an exceptional performance at the historic Grand Theater in Wausau to a sold-out audience and received a standing ovation.

The director for the choir was Lee Nelson, director of choral activities at Wartburg College in Iowa.

“He treated us like we were his own choir,” Jackson said. “His knowledge and the skills he showed us were incredibly useful.”

“It is amazing — the difference in sound when everyone is so passionate about the same thing,” Ryczek said.

Murphy said it was amazing to be surrounded by the greatest and most talented men in the state.

The students were nominated by Amy Thiel, OFHS choral director. They rehearsed Jan. 6-7 and performed as part of the WCDA State Choral Convention.

Jennifer Longsine, daughter of David and Diane Longsine, and Lillian Olson, daughter of Gary and Barbara Olson, were also selected to participate in the Women’s All-State Choir but were unable to participate due to illness. The Women’s All-State Choir was directed by Rhonda Vieth Ruelberth, associate professor of music education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.