D.C. domination climaxes year for Coronado choir

       The Coronado High School choirs came, saw and conquered at last week's National Heritage Music Festival in Washington, D.C.
       The school took first place in all three choir categories it entered and also won the adjudicators' award (for scoring 95 or better out of 100 possible points in all categories) and the sweepstakes award (given to the school with the two highest-scoring groups).
       “Pretty much every trophy available for choirs we took home,” said Jeff Hodur, the choir director.
       The CHS contingent consisted of 40 students, all of whom sang in the Concert Choir and some of whom also participated in the Chamber and Jazz choirs.
       CHS was up against about 15 other schools with quality programs from different states, according to Hodur, a 1996 CHS grad who is in his third year teaching choir at his alma mater.
       It was the first year CHS had competed in the annual event.
       CHS choir members used personal savings and fund-raised to gather the $28,000 in expenses for the trip. “They sold cookies, cakes and CDs of concerts,” Hodur said, mentioning a few of the efforts.
       Of the choir members, 12 recently were named to the All-State Choir - the most from any school in the region, according to Hodur. They are Eric Francese, Curtis Fleecs, Rex Bennett, Justin Sheppard, Austin Grantz, McKay Harline, Aubrey Yeh, Lydia Demi-Smith, Jessica Francom, Elisabeth Clark, Abigail Klein and Kristine Schwenck.
       Asked what he as director had done to help bring about such success this year, Hodur said he thinks he relates well to his students.
       “I acquire their respect and establish a musical bond with them,” he said.

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