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EDITOR, Daily News:
Thank you Ketchikan for making Music Festival a reality!
As Musicfest chaperones, we witnessed the patience of the LeConte crews as we packed more than 100 students from Ketchikan High School with peers from Wrangell, Metlakatla and Klawock, along with instruments, homework and luggage, onto one of the smallest ferries in the fleet for our 18-hour each way trip.
We witnessed youthful exuberance, a few eye rolls and occasional amnesia as to what a garbage can is. But by-and-large, our students made us proud! Books were opened immediately by most during study hours, as students tried to stay on top of the course work they were missing. Students tutored each other during the assigned work period and on their own time. Host families reported that our kids were respectful and a joy to invite into their homes, even after 14-hour days with little sleep.
Music Festival features collegiate-level music educators who adjudicate students musical works. They perform individually, in small groups and as full bands and choirs before these professionals who critique their work and show students how to apply the corrections. In thanking these professionals who attend music festivals around the country, chaperones heard the same story; Southeast Music Festival is, in their opinion, the best in the country! Similar events are fiercely competitive. They marvel at how our program allows students to watch as others are adjudicated, learning from that experience. Even more so, the adjudicators speak to how much Southeast students support each other. Cheering on musicians from other schools, offering words of support and even volunteering to play for another school’s band when an unanticipated absence occurs is unheard of in other programs.
Our amazing Kayhi teachers, Ms. Deidra Nuss and Mrs. Trina Purcell, encouraged, supported and occasionally wiped a tear for students. They truly care for these kids and challenge them to exceed their current level of ability. Whether traveling on packed ferries, participating in daily clinics or performing, our youth not only created beautiful music they left a legacy of support and cooperation of which we can all be proud.