Music students from around the conference converged on the campus of Georgia-Cumberland Academy Jan. 23-24 for the 2014 Elementary Band and Strings Festival.
The event packed in intensive, concentrated practicing to prepare students for their vespers performance on Friday evening. All their hard work paid off when friends and family filled the pews to listen.
“It was pretty cool that we got to learn a piece just this morning and then perform it. It was stressful, but we did OK,” said Will Cantrell, a sixth-grade trumpet player from Ooltewah (Tenn.) Adventist School (OAKS).
For Larysa Merchant, a seventh grader at OAKS who plays bass clarinet, the best part was “playing with all my friends and being here to perform for everybody.”
It’s a common sentiment among the students, and it’s exactly why the festival is organized. “[We hold this event] to collaborate the schools and the kids and get them excited to see that other schools are doing the same thing,” said Gregory Lindquist, band instructor for the Greater Collegedale School System and this year’s band clinician. “The kids have fun and they energize each other and see that music is a worthwhile thing... and it gets them excited about praising God through their talents.”
Chip Everts, strings teacher at Forest Lake Education Center in Orlando, Fla., and festival strings clinician, agreed. “They make new friends and new connections. Music is a universal language we can all share in together.”
As a clinician, Everts found joy in “seeing [the students] rise to the occasion for the performance. It’s always a challenge to think what we can do in one day. The peak is always right at the concert time, and they really rose to the occasion.”
by Britni Brannon, communication assistant director
photos by Britni Brannon