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JHS Choir’s 'hard work' earns selection as Governor’s Choir

The choir was named the 2022-2023 Governor’s Official State Choral program.

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Cheryl McIntyre directs members of the Jamestown High School Choir during a concert on Monday, May 2, 2022.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN – The director of the Jamestown High School Choir said the choir’s selection as the Governor's Choir for 2022-2023 was an honor that she didn’t expect.

“You can apply or people can nominate you, and I had a parent that nominated and sent recordings of the group,” Cheryl McIntyre said. “And so, it was actually a surprise to me too.”

Gov. Doug Burgum announced on Tuesday, May 10, that the Bismarck Century High School Wind Ensemble and Jamestown High School Choir were selected as the 2022-2023 Governor’s Official State Band and Choral programs, respectively.

The last time the JHS Choir earned the honor was in the 2008-2009 year, according to state records.

The Governor’s Band and Choir selections are based on musical talent, achievement and community involvement. They may be invited to perform at official state functions throughout the year.

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“I’m just very proud of these kids and I love that they can perform on a level that earns them this type of an honor even when we weren’t specifically focused on trying to win something,” McIntyre said. “What they sent in (for the application) is what those kids do on a regular basis.”

She said she was excited to share the honor with the students because they don’t complain, they work “really, really hard and sometimes people don’t necessarily recognize all the work that they’ve done.”

McIntyre said the students do a lot of “detail work” in class on their performance, such as using good diction so the audience can understand them and making it emotional so the audience can feel the emotion of the song.

“So they’re not just singing notes when they’re up on stage, they’re actually trying to get the message across to the audience,” McIntyre said.

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Cheryl McIntyre directs some of the members of the Jamestown High School choir during a concert on Monday, May 2, 2022.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Zachary Holben, a junior who has performed in the JHS Choir since he started high school, said the honor was “almost a once-in-a-lifetime” for a student in high school.

“This is going to be the only time in my high school experience I will probably … get to do it – or just being selected for something like this, it’s just really cool,” he said. “I feel like it shows our dedication as a choir to be selected as the best in the state or at least to represent the state.”

Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich congratulated McIntyre, the choir and the school for the selection.

“It certainly shows a lot of hard work and dedication on their part and it’s nice to see occasionally when that sort of hard work and dedication is recognized by others,” Heinrich said. “So it’s an award that they can certainly take pride in as can all of Jamestown.”

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Matthihs Bercier, a junior at JHS, has also been in the choir since the ninth grade.

“I think it’s a great experience for our choir,” he said of being chosen for the Governor's Choir. He said he is excited to see the music the choir will get to do as well as the travel and to hear other musicians.

McIntyre said the choir will sing at the beginning of the state legislative session in January in Bismarck as part of its performances as the Governor’s Choir.

Students in the choir at JHS perform a concert every nine weeks during the school year for a total of four main concerts, McIntyre said. In addition to that, there are the Show Choir and Vocal Jazz groups, which give numerous performances. Some choir members sing the national anthem at sporting events, she said.

Some members have also participated in regional and state honor choirs and events including North Dakota State Music, with a number receiving Star ratings.

The choir has performed at businesses and regularly performs at nursing homes in Jamestown, McIntyre said.

“In the summertime, we do a student leadership workshop with our … summer choir program … that is basically, is all centered around community service,” she said. “And we take a tour of nursing homes each time when we travel.”

The choir will travel to Chicago this summer and will sing at a hospital/nursing home facility for veterans, she said.

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“We’ve sung at the Children’s (Minnesota) hospital in Minneapolis, we’ve sung at the VA hospital in Minneapolis, that’s … a service kind of thing that we talk about, is what music can do for people,” McIntyre said. “We find ways to serve the community that way.”

Kathy Steiner has been the editor of The Jamestown Sun since 1995. She graduated from Valley City State College with a bachelor's degree in English and studied mass communications at North Dakota State University, Fargo. She reports on business, government and community topics in the Jamestown area. Reach her at 701-952-8449 or ksteiner@jamestownsun.com.
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