Band Hosts Music Festival For Growing Adolescents

April 22, 2022

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The High School Concert Band during rehearsal (photo provided by Stephanie Dunham).

Fair Grove Band hosted their Music Festival on April ninth for the first time in person since Covid 19, where it was held virtually due to the pandemic in 2020.

“The music festival is a solo, small ensemble, and large ensemble festival for students around the area. Other schools bring in their kids to perform (or their bands and choirs) for judges, to receive a rating, feedback, and a short clinic with the judge,” explained Natalie Palomo the high school band director. She continued, “This is sometimes to expose younger kids to the idea of “festivals” and judged performances, or to receive extra feedback before another performance.”

This festival also gave Nicky Hamp (12) more opportunities to receive detailed feedback to help prepare him for state. Hamp stated, “I will be performing for a fellow clarinetist who will be giving me a clinic after my performance. Since I am going to state for my solo on April 28th, any extra help is appreciated.”

Palomo further explained the performing process, “Students enter their rooms (or band and choirs enter the room) and perform their selection for the judge. The judge listens and provides written feedback and a rating, before doing a clinic with the performers over their music. At the end of the day, ratings are posted and students who receive a “1” rating get a blue ribbon.”

The judges that worked with the players after their performances were local directors from schools across the district, such as Fordland and Bolivar. The good thing about this is that the directors are experienced and don’t show any personal biases towards the students. Palomo conveyed, “Judges rate students on a scale from 1-5, with different categories (intonation, posture, dynamic contrast, etc.) and then average out what they get to give them an overall rating.”

Overall, the music festival was a positive area for students to play their instruments and gain new life experiences. Palomo voiced, “We use this as a way to offer a positive, educational experience that is different from traditional band class offers on a day to day basis. It’s really rewarding when some 6th grader goes in, nervous, and plays a small solo, and you can just see the newfound confidence oozing off of them when they walk back out. It’s one of the most stressful days we have but definitely always worth it.”

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