Outstanding high school musicians from around the region will converge at Mercyhurst University for the 13th Tri-State Music Festival, beginning Friday, Jan. 11.
Nearly 80 high school students from eight schools have been selected by their directors to experience three days of rehearsal under the direction of guest clinician and Mercyhurst music faculty member Scott Meier.
The festival kicks off with the Tri-State Prism Concert at 8 p.m. Jan. 11 at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. The concert, free and open to the public, will showcase Mercyhurst’s Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble as well as the student jazz combo, “Monk’s Brew.” They will perform a variety of selections, from traditional big band music to concert marches as well as Stevie Wonder’s smash hit, “I Wish.”
The high school students will spend the weekend rehearsing selections from Malcolm Arnold, Shostakovich, John Williams and Pierre La Plante. Their work culminates in a free public performance at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.
“The Performing Arts Center is the most beautiful when you’re on the stage looking into the hall,” Meier said. “Those students truly have the best seat in the house.”
The festival gives high school students an opportunity to rehearse core musical literature that’s also fun to play, while connecting and socializing with fellow young musicians. In addition to rehearsals and seminars, festival attendees room together, have meals together and enjoy a dance on Friday night. It’s a valuable experience for everyone, Meier said, but particularly for the students who come from smaller music programs and can now connect with other young musicians of their caliber.
Music education majors at Mercyhurst also gain experience from the festival. In addition to performing at Friday’s Prism Concert, they will staff the festival and administer the high school students’ auditions in addition to chaperoning them throughout the weekend.
“Our music education majors run everything behind the scenes,” Meier said. “They benefit just as much from this as the high school students do.”
For more information about the Tri-State Music Festival, contact the D’Angelo Department of Music at 824-2394.