woodrow wilson high school

portland, oregon

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Alumni Success Stories

Joe Powers '96

Grad Nominated for "Best Male Artist of the Year"
Wilson's very own Joe Powers '96 was nominated for a 2008 "Best Male Artist of the Year" Portland Music Award by Portland's Spectator Magazine! Fellow nominees are Josh Hodges, Ohmega Watts, Renato Caranto and Curtis Salgado. Joe is one of the few harmonica players who specializes in blending jazz, Tango, Blues, and chamber music. Joe started playing the harmonica when he was two years old. He received formal training at the University of Oregon's School of Music and has represented the United States at numerous festivals throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada and Japan. He represented the United States at the 2005 World Harmonica Festival in Germany, placing fourth in the world in the jazz diatonic category. In February 2007, Joe traveled to Buenos Aires to record his debut solo Album, "Amor de Tango" with some of the country's finest Tango musicians.

When asked about the nomination Joe responds, "When I think of the all incredible talent that we have here in our beloved city I was honored to receive the recognition and be listed among other musicians who I admire and respect such as Curtis Salgado, and Renato Caranto".

In high school Joe sang in the Wilson choir and "Ensemble". He got a leading role in his first play at Wilson in Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie and performed in Rumors by Neil Simon. Julie Accuardi, retired drama teacher, remembers Joe as "a wonderful actor." "He starred in my production of Ten Little Indians, and although he was new to acting at Wilson, he was first rate from the very start. Also, he was absolutely hilarious in Rumors. Congratulations to Joe!" states Julie. Joe also started a pop/rock cover band with friends called Red Point. They played at the 1995 Wilson Prom and other school functions and won a Rose Festival talent contest. He formed another band called Seizure Salad and they won the first annual Portland high-school Battle of the Bands at PCC.

Joe has fond memories of his time at Wilson, particularly time spent in the WWHS Cosgrove Auditorium. "A school auditorium is more than just a big room with seats and a stage, it's a place where magic happens, where words come to life, where music fills the senses, and where young musicians, actors, performers, and public speakers can build self confidence and hone their craft. More than that it's a place where the entire student body can be united and celebrate that unity," states Joe. "Some of my earliest performance memories were there on the Cosgrove Auditorium stage, whether it was acting in a play, singing in the choir, or performing with my Rock band, those moments helped form the foundation for my life long pursuit. I feel it is important to preserve and enhance that special place so that all students may continue to have the kind of opportunities that I am grateful to have had." Congratulations to Joe! Well deserved recognition for one of our own! To learn more about Joe go to:

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Portland, Oregon 97219


 Wilson High School Alumni