MU hosts middle school band fest
HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University hosted the eighth annual middle school honor band festival on Friday, bringing together more than 300 students from about 45 schools.
Steve Barnett, director of bands at Marshall, said it was one of the largest turnouts despite about 10 schools canceling because of the wintry weather.
During the day, the students were organized into three honor bands consisting of about 120 members each. They held two-hour rehearsals in the morning and afternoon and were scheduled to perform a public concert Friday evening.
The students are nominated by their middle school band directors, then are selected to attend based on instrumental needs, Barnett said.
"For most, it's their first and only honor band experience," he said. "Some never meet with a full class and some have only 10 members. It's a really good experience."
Next month, high school musicians will take part in the 12th annual Festival Band Weekend, Feb. 21-23. The guest conductors include Robert W. Smith, a world-renowned composer, clinician and music educator; Mark Hardman, band director at George Washington High School; and Doug McCullough, band director at Beavercreek High School near Dayton, Ohio.
Students will be chosen to participate based on the order in which Marshall receives the entries for the festival and the director's ranking. Entries must be received by Friday, Feb. 1.
High school band directors will be notified by Friday, Feb. 8, of their students' inclusion. Students who are selected will be guaranteed a spot in one of the bands but will perform an audition for band and chair placement on the first evening.
For more information, contact Barnett at email@example.com or by calling 304-696-2317.