Permian High men’s choir wins national award

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ODESSA, Texas (Big 2 / Fox 24) – At Permian High School, it’s usually the football team that gets alot of recognition. But the varsity men’s choir is the one who is putting Odessa on the map. The Cantus Choir competed with more than 100 other choirs across the nation to win the 2020 Mark of Excellence Music Project.

“For our Permian choir to win something like this,a national acknowledgment it was just really a big honor,” said Luke Bland, Senior member of the Cantus Choir. “We put alot of practice into it.”

Bland’s favorite part about singing in the varsity Cantus Choir is making many life long friendships. Being a football player as well, Bland said he’s happy he get’s to participate in the two activities he loves the most.

“They made it work around our football schedules, so we finish football and then go 7:30 P,M to 9:30 P.M and work Monday night rehearsals with everyone,” Bland said.

Bland is not the only football player in the choir. There are 20 other football players who also sing. Ken Sieloff , Director of Choirs at Permian High School, said winning the Mark of Excellence Music Project is serving as inspiration for them to keep striving for success despite this unusual school year.

“There are alot of negative things that are going on in our world,” Sieloff said. “But we are doing a fantastic job with our students to keep things positive, trying to make things as normal as possible, making sure we are singing everyday in a safe way.”

While choir practice now involves face masks and social distancing, Garret Watkins, Junior member of Cantus Choir, said they are not letting COVID get in the way of them achieving their goals this year.

“The award kind of brought light to us,” Watkins said. “It makes alot of us here more special I think, because there are so many barriers, but we get to work through those and still do what we love.”

As for Sieloff, he plans to keep his choir moving forward down the road to success, regardless of what lies ahead.

“We’re taking it one day at a time, as things are changing constantly but were are really proud of the fact that we’re making things positive for the students,” Sieloff said. “We’re keeping the focus on music and being together.”

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