‘Sing-off’ champs entertain at David Douglas High

See why, on this special day, students were more than happy to attend an all-school assembly – when ‘Committed’ – an a cappella singing group – was to appear …

The grandstands fill, in the David Douglas High School gymnasium – the single largest room at the school, and the only one able to accommodate all students at one time.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In the week before Thanksgiving break, students and faculty poured into their main gymnasium for an all-school assembly at David Douglas High School (DDHS).

As the huge room filled, on the afternoon of November 11, David Douglas School District Superintendent Don Grotting turned and commented to us, “Having Committed performing here is a great opportunity for our students. We’re thankful that Adventist Medical Center sponsored the performance here today.”

DDHS Student Body President Tanner Adrian says he’s giving the event’s sponsors get a SCOTS T-shirt – and Adventist Medical Center’s Judy Leach, David Russell, and Tom Russell let out a cheer.

After the school’s principal, John Bier, congratulated the students for success to date in the academic year, he introduced DDHS Student Body President Tanner Adrian.

“At this time I want to thank the ones who made this all possible – Judy Leach, David Russell, and the President and CEO of Portland Adventist Hospital, Tom Russell,” exclaimed Adrian. “And, to thank them for all they’ve done for us and for our community, we’re giving them each an ‘I love my Scots’ T-shirt!”

Commenting that the student body president and he were about the same height, President and CEO of Portland Adventist Tom Russell accepted the shirts, and quipped, “Thank you Tanner. It’s nice to be able to stand and look somebody in the eye. It is good to be in the home of the David Douglas Scots!”

Russell continued, “As I look around, I think I see more people here than there are in many towns in the State of Oregon. Adventist Health appreciates the contribution you’re making to outer East Portland.

“I see a number of you in the hallways of the hospital, serving as volunteers; I appreciate that,” Russell continued. “Some of you may not be aware, but your Chamber Orchestra came to play for us at the grand opening of the pavilion that houses our cardiac services. I thank you for teaming with us, for making a distinct difference – not just as a difference – in the community.”

Backstage, the six members of Committed flash us a smile, moments before they go out onstage to perform for DDHS students.

Hands shot up among the students when Russell asked how many of them watched the NBC television network program called “Sing-Off”.

“In the second season, I followed this group,” admitted Russell. “Halfway through the season I talked with our Vice President of Business Development, David Russell, and said ‘we’ve got to find a way to get these fine young men here to Portland’. Through his efforts, and those of our Communications Director, Judy Leach – and I’ve got to say, with some help from the Lord – they’re here today.”

About the group, Russell said, “There is no more compelling instrument than the human voice. These six guys have taken that to a new level with a unique blend.  They took the country by storm, when they were on the show.  They enjoy spending time with high school students across the nation.  Today, I believe they’re going to have fun with you, as you hear them sing.

“Join me in welcoming Committed!”

Members of Committed file on to the stage, doing that for which they’ve become famous – singing in tight harmony.

The sound was deafening when the audience of about 3,000 students roared their approval, as members of the a cappella singing group made their way to the stage, singing.

The members of the group – Thomas, Dennis Baptiste, Tommy Gervais, Geston Pierre, Robert Pressley, and Maurice Staple, who began singing together in 2003 – introduced themselves and told how their lives had changed since winning the competition, including releasing a self-titled album on Epic Records.

The performance of Committed is a high-energy concert of popular and traditional music.

The gym becomes silent as the group, Committed, performs.

Judging by their response, the DDHS students were receptive to the group’s message of working hard, staying in school – and doing one’s best at all times.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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