12-02-2016  10:48 pm      •     

PORTLAND, Ore. - Queen Kahedja Burley will join the newly selected 2016 Rose Festival Court at the annual Royal Rosarians Blessing of the Festival (Saturday, April 16, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.) at the First Congregational United Church of Christ (1126 SW Park AVE, Portland). Following the blessing is the first official Rose Festival event: The Rose City Sing-Off takes the stage, with nine high school teams competing for best a cappella team in the Rose City. (The doors open at 6:00 p.m. at Imago Dei Community Church, 1302 SE Ankeny ST, Portland.)

The Blessing of the Festival in its current form was started in 1982 as a Memorial Service. The service honored -- and continues to honor -- members of the Portland Rose Festival, Portland Rose Society and the Royal Rosarians that have passed during the prior year. Led by Royal Rosarian Prime Minister, Rick Saturn, this year's Blessing of the Festival continues to focus on the leadership and members of each of these three groups who help make the Portland Rose Festival an essential celebration of the City of Roses. 

The Rose City Sing-Off is the premier a cappella competition for high school-age singers in the Northwest. The Rose City Sing-Off not only provides an exciting opportunity for youth to compete, but also a chance to perform for three professional judges. As part of the experience, each group will get to work one-on-one with the judges before the competition begins, each of whom have professional backgrounds in music, singing and education.

Partnering with the Portland Rose Festival, The Sing-Off is hosted in Portland, Oregon, but draws from the entire Northwest region, including new teams from So. Albany and McNary (Keizer) high school. Nine qualifying groups will be admitted, and all groups will perform two songs in a single round of competition. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three singing groups. Songs, choreography and dress are family appropriate, with songs that have a positive message. Tickets are available at RoseFestival.org and will also be sold at the door. The top three finishers will be invited to perform at the Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade Saturday, June 11, at 10:00 a.m.

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