The halls of Hayden High School will be teeming with music Tuesday when middle and high school students from throughout Northwest Colorado gather for the Solo Ensemble Music Festival.
From 1 to about 7:30 p.m., student vocalists and woodwind, brass and percussion players will perform solo or ensemble pieces for judges. The event is open to the public and will feature students from Northwest Division 2 schools in Kremmling, Walden, Rangely, Meeker and Craig.
Hayden band director Don Cherni has required all his band students to participate in the festival. There are about 30 students in the middle and high school band.
"Public performance is a very valid part of being a performer in any situation," he said.
The students chose their music after the winter holidays and have been rehearsing during class and on their own time.
"They are doing great," Cherni said. "Most have never played a festival before, so it's a new experience for them."
Local musicians Belinda Rossi, Gary Foss, Mike Lewis, Cary Kamperschroer and Katrina Grobe will rate each soloist's or ensemble's performance. The festival is noncompetitive, and ratings are only meant to give students a sense of their playing levels, Cherni said.
"They get to not only learn from me, they get another opinion from a judge, and they also get to hear other students," he said.
Hayden has not hosted the festival since 1999. Students will perform in five rooms: Vocalists in the band room, percussionists and pianists in the auditorium, woodwinds in the Spanish and English rooms and brass in the video conference room.
Based on what he's been hearing during rehearsals, audiences will be in for a treat, Cherni said.
"I think they'll be pleased, and I'm sure we are going to hear good things from other schools," Cherni said.
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