The Music for All National Festival was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for members of the Cherry Creek High School Wind Ensemble. The 55 students who make up the ensemble spent three days listening, learning, practicing and performing for and with some of the nation’s top music educators and hundreds of talented student musicians who share their passion for musical excellence.
The festival, held March 15-17 in Indianapolis, Ind., is one of the nation’s most prestigious events for scholastic music ensembles. It showcases the finest student musicians in America, shining a spotlight on outstanding music making and the importance of music education.
Schools must apply to participate and submit an audition recording, which is evaluated by a panel of esteemed music educators. This year, the panel selected 71 middle and high school musical groups from across the country to participate. Those groups included concert bands, choirs, orchestras, chamber ensembles and percussion ensembles.
“In our category, which was the 'Featured Band' category, they only took 16 bands out of all that applied,” said Tim Libby, band director at Cherry Creek High School. “We were very fortunate to be selected.”
Fortunate indeed, because participating in the festival gives students a rare opportunity to expand their musical knowledge and skills. Each day, students participated in a “listening block,” where they watched performances by other participating ensembles. They took instrument-specific master classes with music professors from Butler University or professional musicians from the Indianapolis Symphony. They heard from top music teachers and band directors, including Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, a renowned music educator, band director, clinician and composer.
But the most valuable part of the festival came after the Wind Ensemble performed on the Featured Band stage in Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University.
“Following our performance, we had a 45-minute clinic with a master band director,” Libby said. “Our students got to work with Kevin Sedatole, director of bands and professor of music at Michigan State University. It was a great learning experience for them.”
The festival also included some time for sightseeing and socializing, leadership workshops and a semi-formal banquet. Libby said that throughout the event, the CCHS students were outstanding representatives of Cherry Creek High School and the Cherry Creek School District.