They Faced the Music

Abbi Kissee

Hundreds of people of all ages packed into the Warren Atherton Auditorium at San Joaquin Delta College to show their support for the arts. It was a chilly Saturday evening, but that wasn’t going to stop either spectator or performer.

On January 14, the San Joaquin Honor Concert, an annual performance displaying the best talent the county has to offer.

Students from 33 participating high schools auditioned back in 2016 to be a part of this esteemed program. A selection of songs were performed by choir, orchestra, and band students.

“This event takes tremendous planning,” said Jane Steinkamp, the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at the San Joaquin County Office of Education. Steinkamp served as the Master of Ceremonies.

Along with planning, the event took extensive rehearsal. The students only practiced a handful of times between getting accepted into the show and the actual performance, so many had to put in substantial work on their own time. The choir students only had three days to practice their set with their director. All the students had two full days of rehearsal leading up to the show.

The result was an audience that frequently offered hearty applause.

Ripon High School was well-represented in the concert. Six students, Sabrina Schmier, Laine Cavanaugh, Maria Soto, Madeline Wilkins, Brandon Gunnarson and Harley Van Zanten, made it into honor choir. Two students, Andres and Pablo Merlos, performed the clarinet in the honor band.

RHS senior Sabrina Schmier is very thankful for the opportunity the Honors Concert gave her.

“The process was exhilarating. I almost didn’t audition because I doubted myself, but [Mr.] Serpa encouraged me to. It was rewarding,” said Schmier.

In addition to our students, RHS faculty was featured in the show was well. Band teacher Mr. Felver assisted the band students during rehearsals and then assisted the choir accompanist, Monica Swoop. Choir teacher Mr. Serpa was recognized at the end of the performance for his service as the Vice President of Choir for the San Joaquin County Music Educators’ Association.

The show lasted a few hours, with the students and their music as the main focus and driving passion.FullSizeRender 4