chemeketa students

Chemeketa hosts first Winter Music Concert

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Winter Music ConcertThe evening was introduced as a historical event, an event of collaboration between Chemeketa Community College, Salem-Keizer public schools and the Salem community.

They called it historical because it was the first concert at Chemeketa that included an orchestra, a band and a choir on the same stage in one event.

They called it collaboration because somebody had an idea and shared it with President Julie Huckestein. Salem-Keizer schools graciously opened their doors for instruction and rehearsal. The result was a musical community of ages ranging from high school to retirement came to together to celebrate their love for music.

The choir, now in it’s third season is directed by Dr. Kerry Burtis. By day, he is the choral director at North Salem High School. In addition to weekly rehearsals for the Chemeketa choir, at North Salem High, Burtis also teaches Music Theory at Chemeketa.

A promising young student in class said that he had composed a piece for the cello and asked if Burtis had time to listen to it. Both impressed and amazed at the talent, he asked the student to perform a solo at the Chemeketa Winter Concert, mentioning that Surprised to hear that Chemeketa had an orchestra, it wasn’t long before he was introduced to Stephen Nelson, director of the Chemeketa orchestra. Thomas Leinonen, a budding cellist and composer, now joins community members, credit and non-credit students from Chemeketa and Salem’s high school students as they rehearse weekly at Sprague High School.

At Todd Zimbelman’s first Chemeketa band practice, he had four students attend. He looked at his four students and said “Let’s practice.” Their weekly rehearsals take place at West Salem High School.

The reoccurring theme throughout the historical winter concert was community. Each director of each discipline urged community members to join it.

“If you sang in the choir or played a musical instrument in high school or college, come to Chemeketa to play and have some fun.”

 

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