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Madrigals hit the high note for United Samaritans
foster farms 2
The Pitman High School Madrigals choir won the Foster Farms Bowl Oh Say, Can You Sing? competition, earning them a chance to sing the national anthem at todays bowl game and a donation of 3,100 pounds of chicken to United Samaritans Foundation. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal



Twenty-two voices are better than one, and the Pitman High School Madrigals now know this first hand. Thanks to the choir’s extraordinary talent, The United Samaritans Foundation on Tuesday received a late Christmas present: over 3,000 pounds of Foster Farms chicken to help feed the community’s less fortunate.

The Madrigals were crowned winners of the Foster Farms Bowl “Oh Say, Can You Sing?” contest earlier this month, besting 10 other finalists from the Bay Area and Central Valley. The group’s singing victory earned them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform the national anthem in front of 70,000 football fans before tomorrow’s bowl game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. 

“I think they will be nervous – they were nervous at the audition,” said PHS choir instructor Yohan Partan. “But, I’ve always told them being nervous is part of the process, and if they aren’t nervous they should be worried.”

On Dec. 11, the elite group of vocalists traveled to San Francisco for their final, live audition, after being notified just days prior that they were finalists in the competition. According to Partan, the Madrigals are extremely disciplined and held to higher standards than typical choirs, memorizing sheet music quickly and undergoing rigorous training.

Their extra discipline came in handy during that final audition, as the seemingly last-minute trip to their final audition left the Madrigals little time to rehearse, save for 20 minutes before their final judgement.

That sliver of rehearsal time proved to be just enough, as a judging panel that included San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown and FOX Sports Play-by-Play Announcer Joe Davis selected the Madrigals as the winners of the contest.

In addition to receiving the chance to sing at the Foster Farms Bowl, the group was also able to choose a charity of their choice to be gifted 1,000 meals from Foster Farms. Foster Farms also donated an extra 5,100 meals based on the number of contest entries received this year.

For the second year in a row, USF was the charity of choice. Last year, Turlock High School student Felisha Dias won the contest and also nominated USF, providing 2,700 pounds of chicken to the organization. In total, the Foster Farms Bowl has donated 15,600 meals to USF.

“We are so grateful for the donations and to Foster Farms for giving us all of this wonderful product to share with people in need,” said USF Fund Development Director Courtney Fernandes. “This just shows how much the community cares and thinks of us, and I’m so happy and inspired by our youth.”

The United Samaritans Foundation is the largest non-profit direct food distributor to the hungry within Stanislaus County, serving over 30,000 meals a month through its four mobile food trucks which service nine communities throughout the county. While the Foster Farms Bowl donation is expected to provide over 6,000 meals, Fernandes said the 3,100 pounds of corn dogs, chicken strips, breast and thigh pieces could feed even more than expected.

“We may be able to stretch it out,” she said. “You never know – we’re pretty creative around here.”

Tomorrow, the Madrigals will sing their hearts out before kickoff at the Foster Farms Bowl, featuring a contest between the Arizona Wildcats and the Purdue Boilermakers. The game will be televised live on Fox with a 5:30 p.m. PT start time.