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Final harmonizing for Cub Power Chorus

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Members of the Cub Power Chorus have relied on the natural highs they gain from singing and association with each other and their leaders. They haven't had to turn to drugs.

Encouraging others to stay away from drugs is a principal reason the chorus was formed 10 years ago.The chorus is popular with audiences, performing at a number of major events outside the state, including the annual International Festival and Parade in Washington, D.C.

The group, which has a repertoire of more than 200 patriotic and other numbers, also sang at the 125th anniversary celebration commemorating Yellowstone National Park, for the Festival of the Trees and at Salt Lake area hospitals and nursing homes.

But the group, which started out with 53 members but is now down to 18, is disbanding Saturday after its final performance at Skyline High School auditorium at 8 a.m.

The chorus will sing at the Great Salt Lake Council (Boy Scouts of America) Cub Scout Pow Wow. Chorus members, their director Donna Wagstaff, South Salt Lake and others involved with the group - accompanist Greg Porter and chorus helpers, Faye Winkel-kotter, Dixie Bryson, Pam Cazier and Launie Severinson - will meet for a final practice and party Tuesday night.

"They're a great group of boys who come from throughout the valley and from as far away as Farmington and Park City," said Wagstaff, who in 1987 was asked to organize a group that could send a message aimed at encouraging youths to avoid harmful drugs. The chorus has two other major objectives: building self-esteem and encouraging young people to be responsible for their own behavior.

"We have a most enthusiastic group that is so excited to give this message," Wagstaff said. But the director has been puzzled why more young men haven't responded to offers made through the Scout council to join the chorus.

"Before joining the chorus, boys have to promise that they won't do drugs" and will work toward achieving chorus objectives in their own lives, Wagstaff said.

Generally, chorus members are of Cub Scout age. But some boys, including some who are especially good singers, have remained with the group for a longer time.

Scott Urie, 12, says he enjoys singing with the group, which he joined when he was 7 so he could go to Washington, D.C. He is a den chief with the chorus and helps arrange props and encourages younger boys.

Sue Weierman, council vice president over Cub Scouting, said Wagstaff has been a "wonderful leader with boys over the years. They have loved and respected her. But such a chorus is difficult to maintain because it requires parental support and time from the boys, many of whom come from single-parent families. With all the other activities in which they are engaged, it's hard to get boys together regularly, to travel and to do all the things they have been doing."

Wagstaff is also a Cub Scout committee member in the Wandamere LDS Ward, South Salt Lake Stake, and a trainer in the Scout council's Millcreek District.

Wagstaff will "always be working with (children) in one way or another . . . to make a difference in their lives," Weierman said.

Dennis R. Marsing, recently released as bishop of the Wandamere Ward, said Wagstaff is effective in working with boys in the chorus. But he said she also goes out of her way to provide good experiences for disadvantaged boys and girls who don't have the benefit of Scouting or Girl Scouting.

Wagstaff, who will be honored by the Scout council at the Saturday's program, says she will miss her contacts with the chorus.



Who's in the chorus

Here are the names of boys in the Cub Power Chorus who will give their final program Saturday at the Great Salt Lake Council Pow Wow at Skyline High School.

Brothers Talmadge and Taylor Anderson; Nicholas Sparks, brothers Austin and Jarum Sparks; Jeremy Bradt; Dean Bryson; Tyler Cazier; Michael Hansen; Nick Hansen; Brandt Ipson; Jeff Peterson; Jesse Peoples; David Hope; brothers Dallin and Byron Cromer; Alden Allen; and Ray Bryson.