MURRAY, Ky. — The 70th annual Quad-State Middle School Band Festival will take place on Monday, Nov. 21 at Murray State University and this year’s event could feature record participation with close to 70 school band programs represented, according to Murray State Director of Bands and festival co-coordinator Dennis L. Johnson. The event that day culminates with a complimentary concert in Lovett Auditorium at 7 p.m.
Students are nominated and ranked by their band directors. “They are placed by us in one of four bands based on those rankings and have the opportunity to rehearse with a prominent guest conductor,” stated Johnson. Guest conductors for this year’s festival include Chelsea Negray, director of bands at Colonial Middle School in Memphis, Tenn., Heather D’Pasquale, director of bands for Ballard Memorial High School in Barlow, Ky., John Lovell, director of bands for McCracken County High School in Paducah, Ky., and Calvin Warren, director of bands at Christian County Middle School in Hopkinsville, Ky.
For the students, the day will include rehearsals with the guest conductors, plus clinics and master classes by the Murray State instrumental faculty. A special short performance by the internationally acclaimed Murray State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble is also scheduled.
For the participating directors, there will be a clinic by noted composer and arranger, Jeffrey T. King, who is presently teaching and composing in Duncanville, Texas. Directors bring an instrument to play and participate in a reading band conducted by Mr. King.
“They review the latest in middle school compositions, beginning band methods and teaching techniques,” noted Johnson. “The directors really appreciate these sessions. Jeffrey King is a very respected name in this genre, and it is quite exciting to see the success that he has gained in composing materials for middle and high school bands.”
The Quad-State Middle School Band festival is the longest continuous-running festival in the South. Commemorative t-shirts, plaques and other memorabilia will be available in the Lovett Auditorium lobby before and after the concert.
The Quad-State Festival attracts students from six different states, including Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri and Indiana. The public is urged to attend and enjoy the day’s efforts by these many fine middle school musicians.
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