September marks the new-year for students heading back to school and to the
active Voices for the Performing Arts scene. The non-profit organization began their
choir rehearsals this month and will host a “Back to Choir Night” on October 5, at
7:00pm at Sherwood High in the PAC. Family and friends will be able to see what the
choir program is all about as the choirs sing, and the directors and choreographers share
what they have been teaching, and what their goals are for the upcoming year.
New this fall, are choreographers for two of the show choirs and a dance extension
class. Dr. Nelson Neal, Keynotes and Noteworthy Dance extension choreographer,
brings with him a wealth of education and experience. Originally a physical education
graduate, he pursued and received advanced degrees in dance education. He has
extensive background in teaching courses at five universities, and workshops to over
25,000 school children in 75 schools, as well as authoring numerous published
articles. He has moved to Oregon to retire, but wants to stay involved sharing his wealth
of knowledge with young men and women. He says, “It is important that young
performers understand that dance as a creative art is not about putting “steps” together.
Choreography is about expressing ideas, feelings, stories, or abstract ideas for oneself or
for an audience.” After a working interview with Nelson, students commented that he
was “upbeat, positive and very easy to get along with,” and “he breaks movements down
and is willing to review it so everyone understands.”
The other new choreographer, Tara Porter, will work with the Gracenotes all-girls show
choir. Tara, a resident of Sherwood with children involved in the VPA choirs and
theater, has been an enthusiastic supporter of all things VPA. She holds a Masters of Arts
in Teaching from Lewis and Clark, and has had a broad background in dance
performance, teaching, and choreography. She owned and directed a dance studio for
three years at a naval base on the island of Guam teaching over 100 students in such areas
as ballet, modern, jazz, lyrical, and tap. Students and board members are impressed with
Tara’s caring, nurturing and positive nature. She says, “My goal as a choreographer is to
bring joy to the dancers and the audience, alike.” We are sure that is exactly what she
Along with our choirs the VPA offers three strings classes for 4th-12th grade students.
Beginning, intermediate and advanced orchestra will resume on October 1, at the
Sherwood Senior Center. Strings rehearsals will be held on Thursday afternoons and
classes will be directed by, Anna Trobaugh. Anna is a violinist, and an orchestra teacher
in the Lake Oswego School District. She performs regularly with the Oregon Pro Arte
Chamber Orchestra as well as directing a world drumming group and a guitar ensemble.
Strings is not offered in our Sherwood public schools, thus the VPA strings program is an
outstanding close-to-home option for students who wish to have an orchestra experience.
Also notable this Fall is the addition of a dance extension class for the Sherwood Girls
and Notables choirs. This class will focus on dance technique and preparation for show
choir participation. This class will be taught by Footnotes choreographer Rachelle
Myers, please see her wonderful biography on the VPAfoundation.org website. The foundation also notes that the hiring of a new Children’s choir is in the works, and
information will be available on the website by September 21.
The VPA Strings, Noteworthy Boys Choir and Dance Extension classes, Children’s
Choir, Sherwood Girls Choir and Notables Advanced Girls choir will be accepting
enrollment until Oct. 6.