By Karrie Etzler
There was no better place to be last Friday night, Feb. 3, than College of St.Joseph, where the opening of this year’s Green Mountain District Music Festival brought together the brightest and best musicians for a night filled with spectacular performances.
A total of 64 schools, elementary through the high school, participated in this year’s festival, which featured performances in both band and chorus. The College’s gymnasium served as the concert hall and catered to an over-flow audience. The large turn-out, bore every indicator that the presentations would be memorable, and the young and up-coming musicians delivered on that promise.
All neatly attired in black and white, the students showcased their musical dexterity on a wide range of instruments, while under the expert guidance of renowned conductors, including South Dakota native, John Peskey, whose High School String Ensemble opened the concert with compositions from Franz Schubert, Antonin Dvorak and Richard Meyer.
Multi-award winning conductor, Leland Hauslein followed with the Middle School Jazz Ensemble. They performed noted pieces such as Horace Silver’s “Sister Sadie,” Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower,” and Jerome Richardson’s “Groove Merchant.” This segment also featured several accomplished soloists, who individually and collectively earned huge applause from the audience.
With a performance seemingly declaring a friendly rivalry with the middle schoolers, the High School Symphonic Band, led by Professor Paul Kafer, kept the excitement going for audience members. They performed works by noted composers Richard Saucedo and Jan Van der Roost.
The Middle School chorus, led by Conductor Billy Ray Poli, ensured the evening ended on a high note, with near perfect renditions of songs such as Mary Lynn Lightfoot’s ”Cantate” and Amy F. Bernon’s ”She Sings.”
Once the concert officially ended, parents, friends and other wellwishers greeted the performers with hugs and congratulatory sentiments. Judging by their beaming looks of pride, Vermont will continue to be a state highly supporting of music education.
Photo by Karrie Etzler
Green Mountain District Music Festival brought together the brightest and best musicians to the College of St. Joseph, Friday, Feb. 3.