High School Vocal Showdown: ‘That stage - he owned it'

High School Vocal Showdown: ‘That stage - he owned it'
Hosts Evan McCarty and Marielena McWhirter amp up the crowd between performances.

EUGENE, Ore. - Over 400 people cheered on area high school singers during a singing competition at South Eugene High School Friday night.


Twelve students from six high schools in Eugene and Springfield competed in the second annual Vocal Showdown.


South Eugene’s choir director Chris Dobson organized the event.


“The idea is to promote exceptional singing, high-level performance and camaraderie between schools,” Dobson said.


Churchill, Sheldon, South Eugene, Willamette, Thurston and Springfield High Schools were each represented by two singers in the vocal competition.


Singers selected what they would perform, and song’s ranged from an acoustic version of Zedd’s ‘Clarity’ to a bubbly rendition of Kristen Chenoweth’s ‘Taylor the Latte Boy’ to Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On.’


Vocalists were judged by members of Mind The Gap, the University of Oregon’s co-ed acapella group, who also performed at the event. The audience also voted for their favorite singer and favorite high school during intermission.


Springfield High School’s Giovanni Avila won first place, stealing the show with his playful performance of Lorde’s ‘Royals.’


Judge Cameron Graham said, “He had the stage. He got the audience from the first note he sang. And he had the energy. That stage, he owned it.”


South Eugene’s Ilee Erickson won second place, and Sheldon’s Cameron Ritchey took third place.


South Eugene freshman Aaron O’Gara won ‘audience favorite singer’ for an original song he composed titled ‘Golden Gate,’ and Springfield High School won ‘audience favorite school.’


The night was filled with fun, energy and talent as audience members cheered for their favorites and brandished signs.


Judge Lauren Kahn said, “I thought they were incredible. I kept having to remind myself they were high-schoolers because they were so mature and already have such potential.”


Tickets cost $5 for students and $7 for the public. The money raised went toward prizes and will help fund the South Eugene High School’s Choir’s performance tour to San Francisco later this year.


First, second and third place singers won trophies. The ‘audience favorite singer’ received a $100 gift certificate to the Guitar Center, and the ‘audience favorite school’ received $250 for their choir department.


In addition to voting, audience members tweeted throughout the evening using #VocalThrowdown. The tweets were projected on a screen beside the stage.


Joeycarlson30 tweeted, “He came for our votes and left with our hearts.”