Albert Lea High School music ensembles to perform at Big Nine Festival in Faribault

Published 10:52 am Tuesday, April 30, 2024

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The Albert Lea High School Music Department will participate in the Big Nine Music Festival at Faribault High School on Friday.

This exciting event is the culmination of hours of hard work and preparation by the top performing band, choir and orchestra from each participating school, according to a news release. In addition, top musicians have been chosen from each school to rehearse together and prepare special music for the Select ensembles. This festival brings over 2,000 student musicians together to perform for clinicians and each other, and to showcase the musical talent of the students in the Big Nine Conference.

Daytime performances of the individual schools begin at 8:15 a.m. and continue until 3:15 p.m. with a break for lunch. The ALHS Concert Band will perform at 8:45 a.m. in the Nomeland Gym at Faribault High School. The ALHS Symphony Orchestra will perform at 10:45 a.m. in the FHS Auditorium. The ALHS Concert Choir will perform at 1:45 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Faribault. The clinicians for the day are Dr. Henry Dorn of St. Olaf College for band, Dr. Merrin Guice Gill from Bethel University for choir and Dr. Chung Park from St. Olaf College for orchestra. All daytime performances are free, and the public is welcome to come and listen.

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The Grand Finale Concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Nomeland Gym at FHS. Tickets for this event are $8 for adults and $6 for students and are available at the door. The concert will begin with a combined performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” conducted by recently retired ALHS choir director Diane Heaney. The concert will continue with high level performances by the Select Orchestra, Select Choir and Select Band. The concert will conclude with a moving performance of “America the Beautiful” by the combined Select ensembles.

Select Band members from Albert Lea High School include Hsa Paw, Ruby Mykkanen, Ingrid Peralta-Linares, Gunnar Hardison, Nevaeh Wacholz, Maxx Richards, Trenton Mikels, Nicholas Slegh, Sawyer Holt, Alexander Schmidt and Hannah Veldman. Select Choir members from Albert Lea include Noah Anderson, Jameson Wildman, Kyle Steffl, Axel Calderon, Colby Banks, Erin Boorsma, Rachel Doppelhammer, Lillian Crissinger and Chase Harmdierks. Select Orchestra members from Albert Lefa include Landon Anthony, Hannah Barclay, River DePoppe, Henry Hershey, Jacob Luoma, Grant Pryor, Matthew Ramirez and Alissa Schmidt.

The Big Nine Music Festival began in the spring of 1933 in Austin and is the oldest festival of its kind in the country. It has been held every year except 1943 during World War II, and 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many other music events have been patterned after the Big Nine Festival. It is traditionally 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.