With expectations comes pressure, which is something the Veritas choir knows all about.
The Vanguard won back-to-back OSAA 2A/1A state championships in 2014 and 2015 before placing fifth last year.
Maintaining a razor-sharp focus while also putting everything one has into performance is quite a balancing act, as the singers have learned. This year's group was pretty pleased with how they handled that last week at George Fox University's Bauman Auditorium, with the result being another fifth-place showing.
"We had pretty high expectations going in," senior Logan Boyd said. "Coming out, we understandably were a little disappointed with fifth. We would have liked to place higher than that, but we're level with last year and still appreciate the place that we got."
Veritas did excel in the sight-reading portion of the competition, scoring 42 points to trail only state champion North Clackamas Christian's 47 in the 2A/1A division. The Saints ran away with the overall title with a score of 324. Faith Bible and the Delphian School finished in a distant tie for second at 287, followed by Triad at 277 and the Vanguard at 276.
"We all felt really positive about our performance," director Sally Mehler said. "The choral art is getting better and better in the state and we're happy about that. The choirs are getting really good."
Boyd said the choir pretty much felt the same way, especially after listening to a recording after the competition.
"I think the pretty much unanimous opinion of the choir was that the performance was an excellent one," Boyd said. "We had a couple glitches, but that's natural in a high-tension situation like a state competition. But both in the sight reading and actual performance, I think the choir was pretty proud of its work."
Boyd said the energy that Veritas brings to its performances, and which has at least in part been responsible for its success in the past, was still on display Thursday.
"The judges pick up on excitement. When a choir is really into their pieces, it reflects not only in the quality of their signing, but in their faces and the way they move. I think the key to our success in the past has been just how much we enjoy the music and I think that's continued this year."
Mehler and company had more to celebrate May 4, as it was revealed that the choir finished with the highest grade-point average (3.87) among all programs in the state, regardless of classification.
After Newberg High School's Vocal Point choir group took second place at the State Small Ensemble Festival 10 days ago in Forest Grove, the Tigers also competed in the 6A division Saturday night at Bauman.
Newberg did not crack the top five, so their final place in the standings was not published, but like Veritas, the Tigers were also recognized for their efforts in the classroom. The program placed fourth in 6A with a 3.52 GPA.