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Senior imparts ensemble leadership

After going to bed at midnight or later as a result of studying for academic classes, senior Jackie Cowin arrives at school at 7 am to sing in ensemble. After four years of participating in choir, Cowin says the experience is worth early-morning grogginess.

“Even though I have to get up at 5 a.m. to get to school at 7 for practice, I’m happy to be here,” Cowin said. “I know others have more technical skill than me, but I love choir and I’ll stay with it always.”

Students must audition in order to be admitted to the Praisesong ensemble. This is Cowin’s second year, and she says the omission of guys from the group has added new challenges.

“There are less parts and people and each of us needs to step it up and take responsibility,” Cowin said. “We sing only alto and soprano part songs, so us altos have to support more and can’t rely on the boys.”

The ensemble is now a women’s choir, due to a small number of interested guys. Several changes have been made to the small group of nine.

“[Singing in ensemble] has made me a lot more confident and lets me realize the value of singing out,” Cowin. “I don’t worry as much about pitch, and sometimes risk being wrong.”

Besides the size and leadership changes, Cowin says new director Michael Ogdon has adjusted song choice and focus.

“There’s a lot more Latin songs,” Cowin said. “Also, we focus more on what we say compared to focusing on the music. We communicate more with the audience. Because we are a women’s ensemble the songs are more girly,” Cowin said. “Often we sing about love and girl situations. The songs are just really feminine.”

Classmate Alex Aleman says Cowin’s positive attitude makes her a well-liked choir member.

“Working with Jackie is a lot of fun because she’s really dedicated,” Aleman said. “Whenever she doesn’t understand, she always asks so she can learn. And whenever we fell unprepared she’s really optimistic and she’s a lot of fun to sing with.”

Ogdon says Cowin maintains a sense of grace under teasing.

“She’s the target of a lot of abuse because I know that she can take it well,” Ogdon said. “She also has supreme skill. Musically, she is a part of the alto section which gives security to the rest of the ensemble.”

Though Cowin must find slices of time to participate between other activities, she says it is always worthwhile.

“I just love singing,” Cowin said. “I used to watch the big girls do their musicals and so I just have to keep doing it.”

For more information, read the Feb. 25 article, Choral invocation performance sidesteps controversy or e-mail Ogdon.

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    Allison CamdenJan 29, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I loved watching the king dance this year it was so amazing! I love my brother and all of the other kings! You guys did so great!