ALHS groups to perform at music festival

Published 11:54 am Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mankato East is the host for this year’s Big Nine Music Festival on May 6. This exciting event is the culmination of hours of hard work and preparation from each of the participating schools 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. 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 Mankato East High School auditorium, the orchestras in Mankato East Gymnasium and the choirs at Christ the King Lutheran Church sanctuary. The clinicians for the day are Kenneth Freed from the Minnesota Orchestra, band clinician, Douglas Nimmo from Gustavus Adolphus, and choral clinician, Eugene Rogers, from Macalester College. Daytime performances are free and the public is most welcome to come and listen. Albert Lea Choir will sing first at 8:30 a.m. at the church, band will perform at 10 a.m., and orchestra will perform at 1:15 pm.

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The Grand Finale concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Mankato East Gymnasium. Tickets for this event are $7 for adults and $5 for students. The concert always showcases a performance by the select orchestra, select band and select choir. The concert will conclude with a moving combined band, choir and orchestral performance of “America the Beautiful.”

Singing in the Select Choir from Albert Lea are Holly Ryks, Mollie Hernandez, Kayla Swee, Ashley Petersen, Alexa McCune, Maranda Glassel, Brooke Thompson, Jessica Sanderson, Logan Tufte, Andrew Schewe, Anthony Tate, Daniel Edwards, Tim Stoneking, Caleb Gaudian, Zach Wilke and Derik DeVries.

Select Band students are Kadie Habana, Bethany Sekora, Alycia Hall, Letisia Rodriguez, Chris Weniger, Addison Thomas, Emily Stoneking, Talia Barber, Joey Henderson, Jason Appel and Stuart Behling.

Select Orchestra members are Claire Buendorf, Ray Stephenson, Josh Piper, Addison Petersen, Alex VanVooren, Trevor Kiehm, Courtney Stewart, Abby LeBrun, Jolene Anderson, Alex Nielsen and Houston Sharpe.