Grand County High School Students attended the Rural Schools Festival for Band and Orchestra in Richfield on Dec. 1. Six strings students and five who are in band represented Grand County.
Carolyn Styles, strings instructor at Grand County high and middle schools said, “This is the first time Grand County has attended the festival.” According to Styles, the students “rehearsed all day Friday and Saturday morning and the concert was Saturday afternoon.”
The orchestra conductor was Dr. Paul Abegg from Dixie State University. Chris Raybould, Grand County High School band director, worked with Abegg when he attended school at Dixie.
The strings orchestra performed “Hungarian Dance No. 5,” (Brahms/Issac), “Symphony No. 25 (Mozart/Brubaker),” and “Rumanian Folk Dance,” (Bartok/Willner).
The band students, under the direction of Steve Shirts, performed “Legend of Bafe,” (John Fannin); “Curtain Call,” (John Wasson); “Chimes of Liberty,” (arr. Loras Schissel); and “Blue and Green Music,”(Samuel Hazo). Overall, there were 26 schools represented at the festival, which invited only honors musicians.
“We all have small programs, but when we come together, we have a nice, large group of kids, which would almost be like a big orchestra,” Stiles stated. “The music was difficult and they were challenged, so it’s really a great opportunity that they had.”
Violinist Molly Knowles said, “I thought it was really fun ... it was hard work, but it was definitely worth it.” Anna Hammond, who also plays the violin, said, “It was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed it ... all the people there were really nice and like Molly said, it was really hard work, but it was worth it.” Cello player Elias Patterson said, “Richfield was a great experience. I hope to do it next year.”
The experience put Grand County on the festival’s map.
“We did come in late on the festival. We didn’t get informed as soon as the other school kids because I think they were unaware Moab had a strings program, but now we are on the list, and now we will be invited and we will have a lot more lead time than we did this year, ” Stiles said.
Grand County has been invited to a festival in Vernal slated for late January. The Vernal festival will feature a band component, strings, and jazz.