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Special Feature article
by Howard Meharg
with thanks to Russell Seaton for information and Ryan Batcheller for photos

Male Ensemble Northwest presents festival and concert for high school male voices in Spokane, January 19th

Male Ensemble Northwest is still going strong at the age of 25. This group of choral con-
ductors got its start in 1982 and is still doing what it does best...singing a fantastic concert and impressing the heck out of audiences...especially high school male singers.

Such was the case again on Saturday, January 19th, at University High School in the Spokane Valley, Washington school district. Russell Seaton, who also sings in MEN, set it all up...with help from his wife, Tammy, and daughter, Brianna, age seventeen-months!

One hundred and twenty high school guys, from local schools, showed up for seven hours of intensive work and a concert...a shared venue with MEN.

Male Ensemble Northwest did a "teaser" concert first and then introduced themselves to the young men who were devoting their Saturday to song.

MEN members Reginald Unterseher, Cyril Myers, and Dan Davison rehearsed and directed one song each. Breakout sectional rehearsals were led by other members of the group during the day. One of MEN's strong points is that every member is a master teacher who has as his goal inspiring other men to sing and to enjoy the choral art.

As if to prove the point, twenty-five girls from Russell Seaton's program at U High, helped all day long with registration and served as building guides. Maybe it doesn't hurt to make a point that "Chicks dig guys who sing!" The boys seemed to like it!

The festival offered a opportunity for some meeting time with local directors, too. The theme was "Real men sing!" And all the boys wore the T-Shirt to prove it. Directors were encouraged to start male voice groups and also to join the American Choral Directors Association.

Spokane Public Radio station KPBX promoted the event and Verne Windham, program manager played some of MEN's past music on the radio on days ahead of the festival. The Spokane Symphony has indicated a desire to underwrite the festival next year and host it at the newly remodeled Fox Theatre.

Russell said, "I thought this would be a great thing for the Inland Northwest area and it definitely inspired many teachers. I am thrilled with how it turned out and MEN is excited to offer this workshop to any area that would like to put it on." He also pointed out that he patterned this workshop after one set up in the Boise area by Ryan Batcheller and Seth McMullen and held last year.

The membership of Male Ensemble Northwest has changed somewhat over the years, but the mission of the group remains the same...professional level musicianship and concert giving and promotion of the choral art, especially male singing.

Members of MEN are: Ryan Batcheller, Boise, Dan Davison, Puyallup, Ken DeJong, Issaquah, Phill Hurley, Portland, Wallace Long, Salem, Kirk Marcy, Seattle, Seth McMullen, Boise, Cyril Myers, Bismark, ND, Scott Peterson, Yakima, James Regin, Salem, Adam Schwend, Beaverton, Russell Seaton, Spokane, Steve Stevens, Woodinville, Reginald Unterseher, Kennewick. You can reach MEN at: www.maleensemblenorthwest.com

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