Hemet High School Vocal Department overcomes setback

Rummage sale March 4 to help fund a singing competition in San Diego

Photos by Matt McPherson / The Valley Chronicle
Starting left to right: Tori Bozanich, Andrea Renteria, Eugene Johnson, Joseph Del Carmen, Mrs. Anderson, Demetrius Hart, Chris Long, Jennifer Cox, Angel Martinez, Justin McLingberg, Adrianna Conner, Justin Meissner, Cassi Tichy and Sylvia Torres. Not pictured: Mikayla Ambriz, Aspen Fuller, Kaitlin Barr, Anusha Koka, Morgan Fitzgerald, Jonah Chavez, Zareh Morrel, Gabriella LaLanne and Madelyn Pierson.

■ Matt McPherson / Columnist

At the beginning of the school year, toward the end of September, the Hemet High School (HHS) vocal department was left without a director when Mr. Wolniakowski, stepped down due to medical reasons, according to students. The choir officers were the most notably helpful in maintaining the vocal groups during the transition: President Mikayla Ambriz, Vice President Adriana Conner, Treasurer Chris Long, Secretary Justine Bushee along with class representatives Kristen Wortman, Kaitlin Barr, Anna Lane, Eliza Anderson, and Kristiana McKelvey.
During the following months, Chatelle Beard, a HHS graduate from the early ‘90s and current campus supervisor, filled in as a substitute director. Through fundraisers and sponsored events the savvy group of students persevered while performing across the community.
The Hemet High School annual Christmas Choral Concert, and Dr Koka and the Exchange Club-sponsored Book of Golden Deeds event at Soboba were overwhelmingly well-received by the community and began to generate a positive buzz throughout the valley. Also on Veterans Day, the group performed patriotic songs at Gibbel Park as a tribute to service members.
One highlighted event involved a large group of students who volunteered as Christmas carolers during the extremely successful Hometown Christmas event at Destination Coffee Bar & Bistro. During the holiday season the vocal department sold Christmas-grams, and for a small fee the group of singers sang a lovely melody to a group or individual as a wonderful gesture of the holiday spirit.
On Jan. 23 Angie Anderson, another Hemet High School graduate from 1991, took the reins of the HHS vocal department and is preparing these talented student performers for their Spring Concert on March 7. Another important event, where fundraising is crucial, is the competition at Heritage Festival. Their performance at this event is tremendously crucial in securing future events.
During her first week rebuilding the program as the new director, Anderson coordinated a celebratory event for a 95-year-old woman at the request of her son, where the students sang “Happy Birthday” in addition to other festive songs. Furthermore, the always festive group of singers followed up their Christmas grams with romantic Valentine-grams that they performed, throughout the Hemet High School campus, charming anyone in earshot. Currently the vocal program is working and performing to generate funds for the Heritage Festival, which takes place in San Diego this year.
A rummage sale to generate funds for the department and the San Diego trip is set for Saturday March 4 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hemet High School Stadium parking lot. These hard-working students are asking the public to donate any large items for the fundraiser to help pay for future trips and concerts. The items can be dropped off at the Stadium parking lot on Friday, March 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The department is willing to pick up any donated items. Please help contribute to a wonderful, long-standing tradition of the arts here in the valley and Hemet High School by contacting Angie Anderson at aanderson1@hemetusd.com or call Hemet High at (951) 765-5150 and ask for the choir room. The students send deep appreciation for any help the community can provide.

Photo by Matt McPherson / The Valley Chronicle
The Hemet High School Choir performed at a recent Veteran’s Day event at Gibbel Park.

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