By Emily Bialkowski
Few events are attractive enough to attend knowing you’ll have to squish eight people into one college dorm room, but for the Caledonia High School students who attended the Dorian Music Festival at Luther College, close quarters were just part of the fun.
Seniors Rachel Mills and Claire Eglington and juniors Aaron Goetting, West Spier and Eric Meyer applied for and were accepted into the festival, which serves as an educational vocal music event as well as an honor for the outstanding students selected to participate. Caledonia’s contingency was first nominated by local vocal music director Ross Martin. The students also submitted an essay expressing why they wanted to participate.
“People who had gone before told us how awesome it was,” Goetting said.
A total of 1,200 students are allowed to participate, but somehow four more snuck in this year hiking the number up to 1,204.
Performing with such a large group of dedicated vocalists was a new experience for the Caledonia singers.
Meyer said that sometimes in class at school some kids don’t sing, or at least don’t sing loudly. “Here, everyone sang,” he said.
“It was a lot better than we thought. People around us were amazing – everyone was amazing at singing,” added Spier. “The sound of the entire choir was awesome.”
Martin wasn’t surprised by the students’ reaction. “I have taken students from every school that I have taught at, and the reaction is always the same. Dorian changes people,” he said.
The three-day event began Jan. 12 and also served as an opportunity for the highschoolers to experience a touch of college life. They stayed in dorms with the coeds and said they enjoyed that opportunity.
“It was fun, but we didn’t know what to do in such a big place with so much to do. It was good to see what it will be like next year [when I go to college],” Eglington said.
The event celebrated its 63rd anniversary this year, which allows for some unique reunions. Martin said on the last night a man came up to him and asked, “Do you remember me?”
At first, Martin couldn’t, but then he remembered the man as a former student he took to the festival in the 1980s. He was there because his daughter was now a performer in the choir.
“The shear number of singers working together for a common goal of sharing each others talents; the fellowship that comes through working with others; the moments that happen in a performance that send chills to the performer and the listener – all these things and more enrich young peoples lives when they attend the Dorian Festival,” Martin said.
With so much positivity to crow about, Caledonia will undoubtedly continue to send deserving vocalists.