Winter Park: 5,000 student musicians, teachers heading to Grand County for festival
Sky-Hi Daily News
By the end of the next two weeks, thousands of music students will have come through Grand County to display their musical talents during the 20th Annual Winter Park Ski-Music Festival.
Many will also try out their snow sport skills as well, some for the very first time.
The group, which consists of about 100 2A-5A schools and their band and choir ensembles, is brought together through the efforts of the Middle Park High School and a group from Dallas, Texas, organized by Jae Jones.
Lou Tyler and his wife, Nona, who are longtime friends of Jones, consider themselves big fans and have been coming to the myriad of unique performances since the event’s inception in 1989.
Lou, who especially likes the concert bands and the jazz and show choirs, said he and Nona were blown away by a 125-member full symphonic band that “defined that first year. It was outstanding,” he said.
But they were also blown away with each of the previous years’ low attendance in the audience.
With the free event bringing up to 5,000 students, teachers and parents to Grand County, the Tylers want to make sure residents and visitors don’t miss this once-a-year chance to see and show their support of complimentary performances from what may be considered the stars of tomorrow.
Jones agreed it seemed like the people in Grand County were the last to find out about the event.
“The most important thing,” she said, is “the Winter Park Ski-Music Festival has created so many memories for young music students. It is a musical experience and a recreational experience that is a first for so many students.”
They come not only to perform, but to be evaluated for their musical skills during the friendly competition.
“They’re coming here for a reason,” Lou said. “They think they’re good and want to be evaluated outside their own area.”
They come in by the busload from Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Wyoming, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, California, New Mexico and British Columbia ” there’s even a group (Trondertun Folkerhogskule) from Trondheim, Norway.
Jones said about 75 percent of the students in each group are also signed up for their first ski or snowboard lesson and that once again Winter Park Ski Area is offering discount lift tickets for festival musicians who want to check out Colorado’s winter recreational opportunities. She wanted to thank Winter Park Resort for its generosity, the East Grand School District for its continued support and hospitality, as well as the numerous lodging, ski rental vendors, “and all the local citizens who have contributed toward the success of the festival over the past 20 years.”
The festival hosts school music groups from across the nation to compete within their respective categories. Many of those students who attended the festival in the past who are now music directors are also bringing their music groups to the event.
The choral performances will be hosted at the East Grand Middle School, with the EGMS sixth, seventh and eighth grade mixed choirs and the MPHS Treble and Show choirs performing April 3.
Concert bands and orchestra performances will be held at Middle Park High School each Thursday evening, and on the mornings of each Friday and Saturday. Jazz bands will be performing at East Grand Middle School on Thursday evening April 3 and Friday evening April 11. (The Middle Park Concert Band kicks off the concert list at 3 p.m. April 3 and the Middle Park Jazz Ensemble is set to play at 5:35 p.m. April 4).
This year, four jazz bands of Norwegian students will be attending and performing toward the end of the evening on April 11. This will also be the eighth year (in a row) for Northwest High School of Justin, Texas to attend. Their talents were enough to bring home last year’s Grand Champion title. All performances are free and open to the general public.
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Grand Lake officials will discuss next week a plan to halt new construction in downtown Grand Lake.