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Monday, May 18, 2009


The 2009 Appleton Area Commencement Concert

One of the marvelous traditions of the Appleton area public schools is the Annual Commencement Concert for our three public high schools. It is held at the Lawrence Chapel on the Lawrence University campus. A handful of top soloists are selected to perform a major work accompanied by the symphony orchestras of the respective schools. Last night we had eight soloists in a beautiful program that made me extremely proud of our young people in the area and the tremendous music education programs that our Valley offers.

The soloists last night were:
  • Madeleine Schoch, dance, Appleton West

  • Ben Gooding, marimba, Appleton West

  • Evan Hunt, trumpet, Appleton West

  • Eva Knab, violin, Appleton East

  • Max Feldkamp, piano, Appleton East

  • Karen Chu, violin, Appleton North

  • Ariana Douglas, soprano, Appleton North

  • Vinodh Muthiah, piano, Appleton East but accompanied by the Appleton North Symphony Orchestra

Each performance was exemplary and beautiful. But the closing number was a tsunami of musical brilliance. Vinodh Muthiah flawlessly presented the demanding and beautiful "Rhapsofy in Blue" by Gershwin - the entire 17-minute piece, from memory. Amazing performance. It brought the house down with a spontaneous standing ovation. Bravo!

Here are a couple photos from the many highlights of the evening. The first is of Ariana Douglas, whose stunning soprano performance made several of us conclude that this girl has a career in opera. I spoke with her afterwards and was pleased tolearn that she is planning on studying opera at Madison. I think we'll be seeing her name in lights before long. She's also a very sweet and humble young lady.

The next photo is of Vinodh performing, followed by a poorly-lit shot of all eight finalists at the end. What amazing young people! Am so grateful for the musical opportunities that the Appleton area offers so many young people. A tremendous way to prepare for a meaningful life.