Quigley Hall welcomes 150 high school students to the 65th Western Slope Choral Festival

150 high school students
High school students spent March 2 through 4 working with Western vocal music majors and guest conductors.

Students from 27 high schools all around Colorado came to Western to attend the Western Slope Choral Festival. Professor Heather Roberson organizes the weekend and invites guest conductors to work with the students.

“The most difficult thing about this festival is the amount of time it takes to organize it all. People are aware of what happened when the festival occurs but they don’t know what all happens behind the scenes and what leads up to it,” Roberson said.

Daniel Afonso, Ph.D., from the University of California, Stanislaus, was the guest conductor for the woman’s choir and Jeremy Manternach, Ph.D., from the University of Iowa, was the guest conductor for the mixed choir. They worked with the students on techniques to improve their singing skills.

“My favorite part about the festival is the progress the students make in the short time of just two and a half days. It’s just amazing,” Roberson said.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) played a part in the festival by helping visiting students find their practice rooms, the 

rehearsal hall and navigate the campus. NAfME students helped the festival run smoothly for the three days of rehearsal.

During this festival the fire department also holds their annual benefit concert. Back in 1953 a committee of Gunnison Volunteer Fireman spoke with the president at Western to suggest sponsoring two evenings of music by the Western band. Since then, the proceeds from these concerts have been used to replace equipment at the fire department. The band concert traditionally features the piece Third Alarm March by Arthur Fiedler which includes fire fighters playing bells and earsplitting sirens.

Western is proud of the Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department and appreciative of its efficient and indispensable contribution to school and community. These concerts are a token of that appreciation.

Story by Grace Flynn. Photos by Anna Flynn

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 12:45pm