Swing Choir Trip Offered Look at College Music Programs

In the early weeks of second semester of the 2017-2018 school year, the DHS Swing Choir took a trip to Oregon in order to tour colleges and open their eyes to the world of music outside of high school.

Travelling all throughout Oregon, the choir visited Portland, Salem, Eugene and Corvallis.

The trip allowed for students who might be interested in majoring in music to see how they would be able to do so in the future.

Dimond choir teacher Andrea Black said, “I have some students in the choir who plan on studying music for the rest of their lives and making it their priority. So it was exciting for them to meet other students who are doing that now.”

Even those who do not plan on majoring in music at a college or university were shown how they could still participate in music programs, even if it was not the main concern of their college experience.

Black said, “I have a lot of students who don’t plan on majoring in music at all, and I wanted them to know that that’s fine.”

While on their trip, the students toured campuses, talked with college students, listened to college choirs sing and had the opportunity to work with multiple college choir directors.

Among the universities the choir visited were Willamette University, University of Oregon and Oregon State University.


Black said, “At Willamette, the conductor Dr. [Wallace]  Long, who I’ve known since high school, is an amazing jazz choir director and worked with my students on some jazz tips. The director at Oregon State, who was my choir director in college, is a fabulous concert choir director and worked with [the students] on a classical piece. Each of them gave the kids new ideas for how to sing those things, which was super awesome.”

At the universities, the choir was able to see different activities involving music such as acapella groups and different ways to record and produce music.

The choir was also able to talk with students who had either taken a gap year or changed their major multiple times, yet still ended up in some sort of activity with music.

The choir was able to go out onto the football field at Oregon State University, where they sang together in the middle of the field and got to explore the box seats in the stadium.

Besides touring colleges, the choir was able to explore the towns they were staying in and experience new and fun activities.

Black said, “We had a big group dinner at Melting Pot, a restaurant in Portland, and it was just a really fun experience.”

Another highlight was visiting the Oregon Zoo, which Black said, “is really a learning zoo and [the choir] was very excited the see everything.”

           Junior Savannah Moore, a member of the Dimond Swing Choir, said, “It was all so much fun! We got to have a lot of cool experiences together like going to the Oregon Zoo, eating at the Melting Pot and touring multiple colleges.”

         Junior Daniel Savinis, another member of the choir, said, “I had a lot of fun on the trip. It really opened my eyes to the college world of music.”

Black has only been a choir teacher at Dimond for the past two years, yet has organized two major trips that the choir has taken.

Last year, the choir, along with other parts of the Fine Arts department, travelled to Hawaii. Black hopes that the choir is able to continue to take a big trip every other year, and then smaller trips in the in-between years, such as the trip that was just taken to Oregon.

Black said, “I love travelling. My favorite part of choir growing up was when I was travelling, and my choirs were able to do a big tour every other year and then a small tour on the other years. And that’s what I want to do here at Dimond, which is what we’ve now started.”