Warrenton Presented Well at All-State Music Weekend

OMEA All-State concerts took place in Eugene on January 18-19. Pictured is the high school wind ensemble, where Isabella Morrill played with about 90 other students from different schools in Oregon.


Last weekend, three Warrenton High School students had the opportunity to take part in All-State band ensembles. It is a real honor to be accepted and invited to these state level ensembles.  Students are required to send in a recorded audition to apply. The OMEA (Oregon Music Education Association) All-State band and choir rehearsals and concerts took place in Eugene on January 17-19.


The WHS students accepted to the All-State bands were Niles Gramson, Kaisa Liljenwall, and Isabella Morrill. Kaisa and Niles played clarinet in the symphonic band with about 150 other students. Isabella played French Horn and was part of the wind ensemble with about 90 students from different parts of Oregon. After rehearsing for a couple of days together, the students performed at the beautiful First Baptist Church in Eugene on Sunday evening.

The concerts showcased incredible musical talent, and it was hard to believe that most of it was put together over the weekend. The ensembles were led by well known conductors from different parts of the United States. The symphonic band was led by Paul W. Popiel, Director of Bands at the University of Kansas.  The wind ensemble was led by Bobby R. Frances, a professor and Director of Bands at Texas Christian University. Beside these ensembles there were many other All-State musicians performing in orchestras, jazz bands, and choirs in middle-school and high-school levels. 


WHS was one of the only small 3A schools attending the event, with most of the other students coming from larger schools, rated 5 or 6 A. These schools have many more music programs to provide different levels of music education and private lessons to prepare for school competitions.

The Warrenton Middle School was well represented as well.  Dwayne Wallace played with the Middle School Band on trombone. Kris Rodgers sang tenor with the Tenor-Bass Choir and Ayva Hudson sang soprano with the Treble Choir. All students had to be recommended by their teachers and submit a recording. They worked for two days with their directors and performed on Friday night.


Part of the OMEA weekend long event was a music educator’s dinner banquet, where the winners of the 2019 OMEA State Composition Contest were invited to receive their awards. The purpose of this contest is to promote music literacy, music theory, and music composition for students at the elementary, middle, and high-school levels.

Isabella Morrill, a co-champion in OMEA music composition contest, received her award in Eugene on January 18. Isabella’s composition, “Hymn to the Rain,” was written as a memory for Timothy Pior who passed away in March 2019.

Isabella Morrill, a senior at WHS, won co-champion with her piece titled “Hymn to the Rain.” Over six minutes long, this composition was originally written as a memorial for Timothy Pior, a WHS student who passed away in March 2019 due to complications of the flu. The original composition was written for piano, but then arranged for 21 instruments to play with a local symphonic group, Columbia River Symphony, led by Cory Pederson. It was performed for the very first time this past December at the concert for the Columbia River Symphony and Warrenton High School Choirs at Liberty Theater. Video recording by Angela Grote can be listened to here.     

Samples of the winning compositions were played during the banquet, and the students received a trophy of their accomplishments. The winners will also receive private lessons with selected music professors at Oregon colleges. Isabella Morrill will be attending her lesson at OSU on February 8. The co-champion of this high school level contest is Ryan Fillinger-Palotay with his composition called “On This Day.”

Warrenton music teachers Michael and Amanda McClure attended the OMEA Convention.  It is a chance for music teachers from around Oregon to meet, participate in workshops, and listen to various Oregon ensembles. 

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