Four singers from Boardman High School took their voices to Columbus recently to participate in the All Ohio State Fair Youth Choir. Juniors Cory Fowler and Kaitlin McClendon, representing BHS for the second year, were joined by sophomores Hannah Pavalko and Braxton Medez.
Performing at the ODNR amphitheater during the 2012 Fair, 200 singers were selected from 500 high school choir students from around the state. The group is open to 10th through 12th-graders and songs performed ranged from traditional choir, Patriotic, Gospel, contemporary pop and musicals.
The young singers lived on the fairgrounds at the Rhodes Center/Ohio Exposition Center from July 19 through Aug. 5 in order to perform 105 concerts during the annual fair's run.
Boardman High School students Cory Fowler, Hannah Pavalko, Kaitlin McClendon, and Braxton Mendez recently participated in the All Ohio State Fair Youth Choir in Columbus. They were among 200 singers from across the state to be chosen this year.
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Founded in 1963 by Glenville D. Thomas, he led the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir in concerts for thousands of visitors at the Ohio State Fair, directed them in a number of European tours and took them to several national parades. Championed by four-term governor James A. Rhodes, the choir has sung for several gubernatorial inaugurations and was named Ohio's "Singing Ambassadors of Goodwill" by the state legislature.
Since 1992 the All-Ohio Youth Choir has been led by Charles R. Snyder of Coshocton. He and his staff have emphasized vocal health vitally important for the fair's outdoor performances and unpredictable weather conditions, and commissioned new works which the AOSFYC has premiered.
The 200 members of the choir are selected each spring on the basis of their ability and experience, the recommendation of their high school choral director, and the consent and support of their parent or guardian.
Five days before the opening of the Ohio State Fair, the new choir meets at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus and launches into a rigorous schedule that includes vocal training; sessions on vocal health; part, sectional and full rehearsals; solo auditions; and marching instruction. Once the fair opens, the Youth Choir sings six to eight concerts a day, marching up to 10 miles each day to various performance sites around the 360-acre fairgrounds. The 2012 Choir learned, memorized, polished and performed 71 songs in 105 performances.
The All-Ohio Youth Choir has been described by members as "an experience in living," "Introduction to College 101," "a secular retreat," and "the musical forte of the year." Parents have applauded the Youth Choir experience as "the finest opportunity for personal growth and development," and "a life-changing three weeks." Music educators have complimented the Youth Choir for "good, healthy singing," for encouraging "wonderful musical spirits," and for urging the singers to "take that energy back home to their own schools."