Linfield hosted more than 1,000 high school students, parents and teachers for the Oregon Activities Association Solo Music Championship on May 1.
This was Linfield’s first time hosting the event.
“I heard nothing but positive feedback about how everything went,” Professor of Music Joan Paddock said.
Paddock, who is on sabbatical this semester, was the site host for the event.
The annual competition, which features several instrumental and vocal categories, is held at a different college or university each year, contest director Rob McGlothin said. McGlothin is also the band director at Sandy High School in Sandy, Ore.
“For many years, the championships were held at the University of Oregon because it was a central location,” McGlothin said. “It wasn’t too far for students from the Portland area or from Southern Oregon. College directors suggested that we switch colleges every year because the competition provides good recruitment potential, and Linfield is one of the schools in the rotation.”
To qualify for the state competition, students had to win in their category at the district level and receive a certain rating from the districts’ judges. There are 15 districts in the state, McGlothin said.
West Linn High School in West Linn, Ore., sent 14 students to the competition, which was more than any other school. Other programs with 10 or more participants were Clackamas, David Douglas, Gresham, Reynolds, Sam Barlow, South Salem and Tualatin high schools, McGlothin said.
In all, 465 participants representing 102 high school programs attended the competition. Many students and parents were impressed with the campus, and the admissions office offered tours to the guests, Paddock said.
“Some people were taking pictures of the campus, and a lot of people were saying how beautiful it was,” Paddock said. “We wanted things to be just right when we’re showing off the campus.”
The performers competed at several venues on campus, including the Vivian A. Bull Music Center, Ice Auditorium and Jonasson Hall. The first round of performances began at 8 a.m.
“It was nice that the students didn’t have to perform in regular classrooms,” McGlothin said. “The venues selected were great locations for them.”
For the event to run smoothly, Paddock needed to find volunteers to work at each performance location. She contacted the 234th Army Reserve Band about sending 35-40 members to volunteer and perform at the awards presentation, but she said other obligations caused the band to cancel on short notice.
“We found out about three weeks before the competition that they weren’t going to be able to help out,” McGlothin said. “Joan Paddock did some scrambling to find students to volunteer, and she did a great job at fixing the problem.”
Paddock e-mailed local musicians, colleagues, faculty and Linfield music students about volunteering for the event.
“I chose to volunteer mainly because Dr. Paddock needed the help,” freshman Beth Turner, who also plays flute in both Pep and Concert bands, said. “I felt obligated to pitch in. I also wanted to portray Linfield positively to prospective students.”
Along with Turner, 12 other Linfield students volunteered. Faculty and alumni also helped, Paddock said.
“I think there was a last-minute need that inspired everybody to help, and it produced a powerful group,” she said. “The success of the event was in their hands.”
Volunteer and judge orientations were held at 7 a.m. May 1. McGlothin started hiring judges for the competition more than a year ago, he said.
“They were all professional players throughout Oregon and professors from different colleges throughout the state.” McGlothin said.
Both Paddock and McGlothin spent months preparing for the event. Linfield was selected as the host of the event more than two years ago.
“Last spring, I went to the University of Oregon, where the state competition was held,” Paddock said. “I took pages of notes on things that could be improved on, which helped things run more smoothly this year.”
News reporter Shawn Fisher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org