BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Twice each year our area is treated to a dynamic music festival featuring outstanding middle and high school student musicians. The Connecticut River Valley Music Festival Association 2019 Fall Festival, encompassing 25 schools, will be hosted at Bellows Falls Union High School Nov. 22 and 23.
In early October, students from all over the Connecticut River Valley traveled to Brattleboro Union High School and auditioned for the much coveted invitation to perform in the festival. Students prepare a solo performance, technical skills, and sight reading as part of their challenging audition.
Students audition for selection into four groups that will be performing Nov. 23: High School Concert Band, conducted by Karen Atherton of Westfield State University; High School Jazz Choir, conducted by Catherine Jensen-hole of University of Massachusetts Amherst; Middle School Jazz Band, conducted by Dan Liptak of Crossett Brook Middle School; and Middle School Concert Choir, with conductor Kristin Cimonetti of Mill River High School.
When asked how Bellows Falls Union High School obtained the honor of hosting the festival, music director Nick Pelton said he and the school offered to contribute due to the large level of involvement of BFUHS students. All schools involved in the festival help in some way, but BFUHS will be well represented with 18 students in concert band and one student in jazz choir!
This exciting performance will take place in the BFUHS auditorium Saturday, Nov. 23 at 3 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door.
Pelton shared that the experiences these students will receive from participating in the festival are authentic to the way music is taught and learned. Students are often learning from more experienced players, with students serving as both mentors and mentees, learning and disseminating the language of music through these experiences. In our small school environments, these skills are useful as it also encourages students to learn to work with others and play music that is perhaps more challenging.
Simply working with a new conductor that may do things differently brings new dimensions to their experiences as musicians. Hopefully, students will bring something back to their respective home school and improve upon themselves as musicians and their program as a whole.
For more information on the Connecticut Valley Music Festival Association, go to www.d6cvmfa.org and click on the “Fall Festival” tab.