Music in May brings high school musicians to campus

Almost 400 high-schoolers are experiencing college life this week while practicing and performing band, orchestra and choir music.

Beginning Thursday, nearly 400 high school students got the opportunity to live like college students, complete with roommates, residence hall living and University Center dining.

But unlike Pacific University undergraduates, these students have a “lights out” time and bed checks.

Students from Washington, Oregon and Idaho high schools converged on Pacific’s Forest Grove campus Thursday for Music in May, a three-day event in which they practice select music pieces together and then perform a concert for the public on the third day.

This year, students came from 89 different high schools, with each of the students nominated based upon merit and skill by their high school teachers. Participants range from high school freshman to seniors, with some as first-timers and others returning for another year.

Students in the program are given the chance to work with a conductor that specializes in choir, band or orchestra, depending upon what the student performs.

To help the program run smoothly, 23 mentors are chosen from the Pacific University student body. These mentors, who are either current students or recent graduates, are in charge of 15 to 30 students.

While part of their job includes conducting bed checks to make sure students are where they are supposed to be, the mentors are also charged with the task of providing entertainment for Pacific’s visitors. This year, the mentors are hosting an open mic night for the students.

Mentors Michael Hilton and Becky Zaik said many of the mentors were once students who participated in the program themselves.

Hilton said he loved his experience and wanted to give back to the program by helping out. “I love the people I’m working with,” he said.

Zaik also noted that many of the students get to know people from other schools and they make long-term friendships.

The culmination of the students’ hard work will take place Saturday, May 26 at 3 p.m. in the Bill and Cathy Stoller Center. This year’s concert will feature an array of music, including secular and sacred performances and vocals in multiple languages.

 “These are outstanding high school students from throughout the Pacific Northwest who have been chosen by their teachers due to their high skill level,” Hilton said, encouraging music-lovers to attend the show.

Tickets are available at the door or by calling 503.352.2198. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens, Pacific students, faculty and staff.

Posted by Jenni Luckett ( on May 25, 2012 at 8:21 AM

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