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A grand plan: Farmington choral students perform concerts to fundraise for baby grand piano

Farmington High senior Luke Baldwin (left) and junior Mitchel Krei practice the duet song “Agony” they selected from the "Into the Woods" musical they sang at two fundraiser concerts May 20, 2017. Choral directors Brian Ohnsorg and Megan Dimich said choral students develop deep friendships and a special culture within the school. Photo by Kara Hildreth1 / 2
Farmington High School choral directors Brian Ohnsorg and Megan Dimich find reward when they see their choral students blossom into young musicians. Students led two Cabaret concerts May 20, 2017, with proceeds going to fund the purchase of a baby grand piano. Photo by Kara Hildreth2 / 2

Tenors Luke Baldwin and Mitchel Krei harmonize with emotion about love and heartache in a duet of the song "Agony" from the Broadway musical "Into the Woods."

Farmington High School Choir held its fourth-annual fundraiser with two performances Saturday, May 20. Proceeds this year will be invested in the purchase of a baby grand piano for the choir room.

Students selected all the songs and served as master of ceremonies. Songs fell into the musical genre of jazz and popular tunes, taken from musicals like ABBA's "Mamma Mia!", "High School Musical" and popular childhood sing-along songs from classic storybook Disney productions.

In her 11th year teaching music for District 192, Megan Dimich, choir co-director at Farmington High School, said it is rewarding to see students grow into passionate musicians.

"For me, it has been fun to see them take ownership of the process in this Cabaret, where kids can have a place to do their style of singing and really make it their own show," Dimich said.

Choral students said they prefer singing alongside the accompaniment of a grand piano like in the large recital hall.

"The recital hall's grand piano has much more of a presence and a fuller sound, and it just seems a lot smoother," said senior Luke Baldwin.

The current classroom piano is a Yamaha P22 model on wheels that cost about $8,000 to $9,000.

"It is the workhorse of the practice rooms and studios," said Brian Ohnsorg, co-director.

A new baby grand piano will cost roughly $15,000 to $20,000. Fundraising efforts have been underway for a year and a half. The hope is the fund will reach close $5,000 after the Cabaret concerts.

Farmington High Principal Jason Berg is committed to funding a portion of the baby grand piano, Dimich said.

The music program offers a place for the students to congregate before or after school.

"We have a vibe around the hashtag 'choir culture' because students by and large are very invested in each other, the ensembles and in performing music of a high quality and to a high degree," Ohnsorg said.

Dimich added: "It is really exciting to see how much they have grown and how much pride and ownership they take over this event specifically." 

Seasoning fundraiser added

In addition to hosting a Cabaret to help pay for a new baby grand piano, the Farmington High School Choir program is participating in a four-day sale of Minnesota-based Livia's seasoning salt to raise money for a piano.

Between 7 a.m. May 22 and midnight May 25, 25 percent of seasoning sales will go to the choir program's fundraising effort. Seasoning can be purchased at www.liviasseasoningsalt.com.

Each shaker of seasoning is $10 and free shipping is offered for orders of two shakers or more.

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