Big Nine Music Festival is Friday

Published 8:39 am Thursday, May 6, 2010

John Marshall High School in Rochester is the host for this year’s Big Nine Music Festival on Friday. This event is the culmination of hours of hard work and preparation from each of the participating school’s top performing choir, band and orchestra. In addition, top musicians have been selected from each school to rehearse together to prepare special music for the select orchestra, select choir and select band. This festival brings more than 2,000 student musicians together to perform for each other and clinicians to showcase the musical talent of the students in the Big Nine Conference.

The Big Nine Festival began in the spring of 1933 in Austin and has been held every year except 1943, when the war and fuel rationing prevented the festival. It is the oldest festival of its kind in the country and many other music festivals have been patterned after the Big Nine, ALHS Choral Director Diane Heaney said. It is always held the first Friday in May at a rotating host school. The Big Nine boasts that it has maintained top quality bands, choirs and orchestras from every school in the conference in the midst of tight budgets. This is largely due to tremendous administrative and community support.

The daytime performances begin at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 2:45 p.m. with a break for lunch. The bands will perform at the John Marshall High School auditorium, the orchestras in Ilstrup Auditorium and the choirs at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church sanctuary.

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The clinicians for the day are: Mark Russell Smith from the University of Minnesota for orchestra; Jerry Luckhardt of the University of Minnesota for band, and Angela Broeker of the University of St. Thomas for choral. Daytime performances are free and the public is welcome to come and listen. Albert Lea choir will perform at 9:30 a.m., band at 11 a.m. and orchestra at 2:15 p.m.

The grand finale concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the John Marshall High gymnasium. Tickets for this event are $7 for adults and $5 for students. The concert will conclude with a combined band, choir, and orchestral performance of “America the Beautiful.”

Singing in the select choir from Albert Lea are Samantha Petersen, Chloe Johnson, Kelly Duncomb, Emily Troe, Mikaela Pierson, Maddy Ruble, Sarah Hundley, Erika Blickenderfer, Aaron Thomas, Tim Stoneking, Ben Knutson, Jeff Thorstad, Dan Edwards, Joey Anthonisen, Jack Sturtz and Noah Christopherson.

Select band members are Emily Stoneking, Kayla Hartmann, Amanda Wood, Matt Dorman, Rachel Williams, Zach Wilke, Talia Barber, Liz Winkels and Clint Schmidt.

Albert Lea select orchestra members are Mitchell Wood, Alex Neilson, Addison Petersen, Alex Van Vooren, Jolene Anderson, Rory Hoium, Kayla Swee, Alycia Hall and Ray Stephenson.