Owatonna will host music festival

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The annual Big Nine Music Festival will be Friday at Owatonna High School. The event is a culmination of each of the participating schools’ top performing choir, band and orchestra. Top musicians have been selected from each school to rehearse together to prepare special music for the select orchestra, select choir and select band.

The festival brings over 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.

This is the 82nd annual Big Nine festival. It 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.

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It is always held the first Friday in May at a rotating host school. Next year, due to changes in the Big Nine conference, Northfield and Red Wing will be added to this event.

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 Owatonna High School in the auditorium, the orchestras in the OHS gymnasium and the choirs at St. John Lutheran Church in the sanctuary.

The clinicians for the day are Sam Hazo, a band clinician who is a composer and conductor from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Nobuyoshi Yasuda, director of orchestras at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; and choral clinician, Dr. Michael Culloton, from Concordia College in Moorhead.

Daytime performances are free and the public is welcome to come and listen.

The Albert Lea High School orchestra is conducted by Rebekah Crissinger and will perform at 9:30 a.m., and the choir, conducted by Diane Heaney, will sing at 11 a.m. at the church. The ALHS band, conducted by Suzanne Mauer, will play at 1:45 p.m.

The grand finale concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the OHS gymnasium.

Tickets for the 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 Krystal Thompson, Erin Murtaugh, Sarah Savelkohl, Ashley Holl , Emma Behling, Julia Otten, Hanna DeVries, Lindsey Freitag, Tanner Shaft, Lawrence Pederson, Daniel Gould ,Connor Larson, Tyler Vandenheuvel, Preston Smith, Zane Aumick, Scott Gryzbowski, Matthew Bera and Schafer Overgaard. Students in the select orchestra are Ashlee Whebbe, Sydney Hagen, Solveig Lange, Cole Keyeski, Abby Sencio, Eric Ronnenberg and Savannah Simpson.

Albert Lea students in select band are Emma Tewes, Tyler Egge, Marcus Enomoto, Anna Englin, Kailie Drescher, Emma Stensrud, Sydney Rehnelt, Zach Lind, Isaac Ware, Nicole Borneman, Larry Holcomb and Sam Ware.