Big Nine Music Festival taking place in Winona

Published 8:14 pm Thursday, April 26, 2018

The annual Big Nine Music Festival will be Friday at Winona High School after hours of hard work and preparation from each of the participating schools’ top-performing choirs, bands and orchestras, according to a press release. In addition, top musicians were 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 86th annual Big Nine Festival. It began in spring 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. The 12 schools in the Big Nine include Albert Lea, Austin, Faribault, Mankato West and East, Northfield, Owatonna, Red Wing, Winona, and Mayo, John Marshall and Century from Rochester.

The daytime performances were slated to begin at 8:15 a.m. and continue until 3:15 p.m. with a break for lunch. The Albert Lea choir, conducted by Diane Heaney, was scheduled to sing at 2:15 p.m. at Wesley Methodist Church sanctuary. The ALHS band, conducted by Suzanne Mauer,  was slated to play at 9:15 a.m., and the symphony orchestra, conducted by Rebekah Crissinger, was slated to perform at 10:45 a.m., both at the high school.

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The grand finale concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Winona High School gymnasium. Tickets for the event are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Next year, the festival will be held in Albert Lea.

Singing in the select choir from Albert Lea are Cali Mowers, Elizabeth Nafzger, Summer Beightol, Lydia Boorsma, Karen Murillo, Sydney Doran, Natalie Nafzger, Alexandra Eckstrom, Joshua Englin, Noah Wiese, Jacob Leal, Kyle Nelson, Jeorge Brinda, Colin Laurie, Brad Heavner, Ethan Eriksmoen and Michael Blong.

Playing in the select orchestra are Brayden Boettcher, Jens Lange, Terri Wolfe, Morgan Bjorkland, Anna Bordewick, Sam Yoon and Sara Kabrud. Select band members are Natalie Day, William Kreun, Jessica Weiland, Olivia Stensrud, Jenna Seavey, Gretta Hagen, Jacob Miller, Paige Thompson, Gigi Otten, Jake Ware, Charley Fleek, Chris Abrego and Romario Roma.