July 19, 2018
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Katahdin choirs honored for standout performances

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

MILLINOCKET, Maine — Three Katahdin Region schools are building musical dynasties together.

Since 2007, the Schenck and Stearns high schools’ Unified Harmony Show Choir has won state championships or finished as state championship runners-up, and Millinocket Middle School’s show choir has won state championships for three years straight.

Town Councilor Michael Madore noted the consistency when the council issued resolves Thursday honoring the schools’ standout performers.

“It seems like we were just here doing the same thing,” Madore said.

Under new teacher Abby Jordan, the middle school choir captured the Division II Maine Vocal Jazz Festival’s top prize at Ellsworth High School last month with its performance of “Jungle Book.” Instructor Sandra Hartley won an award there for Outstanding Choreography for her work with both groups. Middle schoolers and siblings Liza and Noah Brown won 2012 Outstanding Musician Awards for their duet “Trust in Me.” Liza Brown’s award was her third straight.

Unified Harmony singer Lilly Dow won the 2012 Division II Maine Vocal Jazz Festival Outstanding Vocalist Award, with Unified Harmony finishing as the state runner-up at the Division II Maine Vocal Jazz Festival for its performance of “Godspell,” which was videotaped and is available on YouTube at http://youtu.be/Wu1xwN-Z7Y0.

About 40 residents watched the council award the six resolves. Councilors Gilda Stratton and Richard Angotti said the students and their teachers brought great acclaim to the region with their talent and passion.

“I am so very proud to have you from this region,” Stratton said.

The awards show “that these communities [East Millinocket, Medway, Millinocket and Woodville] can work together. It happens every day,” Angotti said.

Madore praised the students’ parents for their faithful support of their children and an enriching school activity. Parental dedication is a crucial element to both, Madore said.

Unified Harmony Show Choir director Matt Waite said his proudest moment with his students came not with their awards, but with the graciousness they displayed when they found that they had lost the state’s top slot in Division II to rival Mount Desert Island High School.

After the awards ceremony, Waite said, his students snuck into the classroom at Ellsworth High that the Mount Desert Island group was using and hid there to surprise and congratulate the winners — a gesture that thrilled the MDI students.

“I can’t be more proud of them than for that,” Waite told councilors.

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