You won’t see them in this summertime heat anytime soon, but 68 middle and high school students eventually will wear the black and white symbols of the Katahdin region’s pride in their success.
The Performing Arts Booster Club awarded jackets worth about $50 each to the 68 members of the Schenck and Stearns high school Unified Harmony and the Millinocket Middle School choirs on Wednesday in appreciation of both groups’ winning first place among Division II schools at the Maine State Vocal Jazz Festival this year.
Paid for by club fundraisers and community contributions, the jackets show that the people of East Millinocket, Medway and Millinocket “recognize the strength of the arts and the quality of the programs we provide them,” said middle school choir Director Brenda Angotti on Wednesday.
“The kids are so excited. They were excited to get first place but they were excited to get jackets, too,” she added. “It’s too bad they came on the hottest day of the year.”
Technical Director Rick Angotti, Brenda’s husband, accompanist Karen Giberson and student musicians Brian Bouchard and Jamie Potvin also won jackets for their work supporting the choirs, Angotti said.
Stearns High School is in Millinocket. Schenck is in East Millinocket and serves students from that town and Medway, among others. Choir is among several activities the schools have combined to save money and create student opportunities.
Meant to mimic the jackets won by varsity athletes, the choir jackets feature the year the competitions were won, 2010; the musical numbers that won them, and the words “State Choir Champs,” Angotti said. The high school choir has received championship jackets for several years. The boosters decided to award the middle schoolers with jackets this year.
The choirs won the championships in April and have been awaiting the jackets since then. The jackets’ arrival is not just a gift, Angotti said, but an incentive to younger students to join the choirs and members to win more competitions.
“I am so tired of kids asking me, ‘when are the jackets going to come?’” she said. “Now I can say, ‘when are you going to get your jacket?’”