COLOMBIA – The The Missouri State High School Activities Association brought the annual state music festival back to Colombia this weekend.
High school students from across the state came to the MU campus on Thursday to perform in front of judges, whether by instrument or voice.
MSHSAA said 356 schools will be represented with a total of 3,606 performances scheduled for the festival.
It is estimated that 7,000 to 8,000 participants will have played by the end of the weekend.
Woodwinds, brass, percussion, piano, strings and vocals will all be ranked gold, silver or bronze by one of the 24 judges. Those who qualified for the festival at the state level received exemplary marks at the district level.
Daniel Posmith, a senior from Cole Camp R-1 School District, performed a Mozart piece for his solo.
“I have really sweaty palms. My hands fell off the keys in there, but overall I think I did well,” Posmith said.
MSHSAA Deputy Executive Director Davine Davis is in her 18th year coordinating the State Music Festival. She said it was the first time the festival had taken place since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“2019 was the last time we were here in person,” Davis said. “In 2020, in the month of March, everything is closed. So, first year back in person, and everyone is very excited.”
This is the first year the festival has been able to use the Sinquefield Music Center since it was built in early 2020. The building has been used for drumming competitions, where students can also store their big drums to avoid transport.
The Sinquefield Music Center, along with the Tate Hall, Fine Arts Building and Memorial Union provided performance venues for competitors.
A judge, Arch Hill, traveled from Nebraska to Missouri to provide reviews for the French horns, trumpets, and notes for the mixed brass bands. Hill said the students are the best part of the whole festival.
“I love working with kids,” Hill said. “I love teaching. And then you hear the kids playing and how much they’ve improved and what they can do is amazing sometimes. Some of them are playing really, really well.”
Lowry Mall on the MU campus serves as a central venue for concertgoers and musicians between performances.