Fun filled night of music making


OHS Concert Choir practices their choreography for the Pop Concert in the gymnasium.

Charity Jackson, Writer

One tradition at OHS is the annual spring Pops Concert. This year’s concert will have a multitude of things including the performance from the nine high school ensembles. In addition to this, the 2019 All-State musicians will be recognizing and the first inductees of the MBO Hall of Fame will be recognized.

The Pops Concert is the only performance in which all nine ensembles perform at one event. Orchestra director Sandra Justice said, “Having all nine ensembles together provides a great opportunity to see all the levels, all of the growth and that final moment of music making for the many seniors involved.” Because of this, Pops is the most attended concert of the year. Unlike other concerts, Pops has a fun and laid back atmosphere. Junior Symphony Orchestra student Kaitlynn Paulson said, “As performers, we get to let loose and have a little more fun with things like dress attire and music performing; since it’s not classical making more fun and special overall.”

“Having all nine ensembles together provides a great opportunity to see all the levels, all of the growth and that final moment of music making for the many seniors involved.”

— OHS Orchestra Director, Sandra Justice

Band, orchestra and choir all have exciting things planned for the concert. Huskies Choir will sing three selections including “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman, “Life is a Highway” from Disney’s Cars and the popular 80s song “Walking on Sunshine,” by Katrina and the Waves. Varsity Choir will perform a medley of 70s songs called “Disco Fever,” by Roger Emerson and Concert Choir will be performing show tunes in a piece called “Opening Night! (A New Generation of Broadway),” by Mac Huff. In addition to vocal performance, dance choreography will be integrated. The bands will also be delivering many classic pieces. Huskies Band will be performing songs from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Varsity Band is also performing a medley with theirs being selections from 60’s musical, “West Side Story,” by Michael Sweeney. The Concert Band is performing three selections including The Avengers, Armed Forces Salute and a medley of swing tunes, all composed by John Williams. Mrs. Justice and the orchestras have an array of popular songs sure to impress as well. Huskies Orchestra will be performing 80s tune “Love Shack,” by Michael Sweeney and medley titled, “Motown Forever,” by Larry Moore. Varsity Orchestra will be performing a medley of songs from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Symphony Orchestra will be performing a medley from the classic 60s musical, The Sound of Music. Mrs. Justice said, “Pops is unique in the way ensembles perform and the different energy provided by the different literature performed. This year has a nice blend of movie musicals, secular pop and Disney.”

The OHS Pop Concert will be held on Tuesday, May 21, at 7 p.m. in the OHS gymnasium, for $5 for students, $7 for adults. Doors open to the public at 6 p.m. for those wanting to get the best seats for a great show. Consider attending for the chance to experience a fun atmosphere with an array of musicians and literature for an overall great last hurrah of music making.

MBO Music Hall of Fame

(Bios courtesy of the Music Boosters of Owatonna)

Five people with a history in the Owatonna Music Department will be recognized at the concert as the first inductees to the MBO Music Hall of Fame.

Harry Wenger: Came to Owatonna in 1936 as a band, orchestra and choir director. He earned numerous awards throughout his life before passing away in 1992. His passion was music education and he had built the local programs into national award winners. When faced with a lack of good equipment he invented and built it himself when he needed something. He started in his basement, as a side venture alongside his teaching. Today the Wenger Corporation employs more than 500 people and offers nearly 600 products from Owatonna.

Roger Tenney: Tenney arrived in Owatonna in 1960 to begin a long career as choir director at Owatonna High School. He soon built the choir program in Owatonna to a point that in 1962 the OHS Concert Choir was selected to represent the state of Minnesota at the Seattle World’s Fair. By 1967 the program had grown to include six choirs, and in May 1967 the Concert Choir performed at the White House for President Lyndon Johnson, and Vice-President Hubert Humphrey during Tenney’s acceptance of the “National Teacher of the Year” award.

Arnold Krueger: The elder Arnold Krueger came to Owatonna in 1950 to begin what became a 50-year career as string teacher and conductor of the Owatonna High School orchestras. As a member of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC), the OHS orchestra was invited to perform at one of their conferences. He also served as secretary, vice-president and president of the American String Teachers Association. He has received numerous honors over the course of his career. He received the first-ever “Teacher of the Year” award from the American String Teachers Association in the early 1990s.

Arnold Krueger: The younger Arnold Krueger studied violin throughout his school years and was a member of the Owatonna High School Orchestra. After graduating from OHS in 1967 he attended the University of Minnesota where he studied with the concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra and majored in violin performance. He auditioned and began playing with the Minnesota Orchestra in September 1972, a position he held until he retired in January 2018, marking a 45-year career with them.

James Vandermark: James VanDemark is a graduate of Owatonna High School where he received early guidance in music from OHS Orchestra Director Arnold Krueger. At the age of 23, he became the youngest faculty member appointed for a professorial position at a major music school when he became a professor of double bass at the Eastman School of Music. His students perform in many of the world’s great orchestras and have been nominated for numerous Grammy Awards in different categories including classical, contemporary, jazz and bluegrass. VanDemark is also the recipient of commissioned works by many composers including three Pulitzer Prize winners. Acclaimed for his extensive work in the Native American community, he has commissioned and developed the Native collaborative musical work “Circle of Faith,” and has helped produce more than 40 performances of the work in the United States and Canada.