The 49th annual High Plains Band and Choir Festival completes its two-day run at Chadron State College this afternoon with a free concert by the high school musicians.
Masks and social distancing are required for the 5:00 concert in the Memorial Hall Auditorium.
Festival coordinator and CSC accompanist Bobby Pace says because of COVID-19, there were two major changes to this year’s festival: there is no guest conductor and the number of musicians taking part is much smaller,
Pace says only about 70 of the qualifying musicians from 23 high schools in Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota could be invited because COVID-19 rules call for 6-foot separation for instrumentalists and 10-feet for vocalists, limiting the number of musicians in practice halls and on the stage.
Pace says even just qualifying is still a big honor while those actually invited are able to take advantage of 2 days of rehearsal with other top high school musicians from the region and members of the CSC music department.
He sees it as especially valuable for those from small schools and thinks “it’s really great they get to come see the college and perform at a higher level.”
In addition to the clinics for the students, the CSC music faculty are conducting sessions for the high school music directors to encourage communication and professional development.
Dr Joel Schreuder is leading the festival choir, Dr Mckay Tebbs the guitar ensemble, Dr Rick Puzzo the percussion ensemble, Dr Michael Stephens the woodwind ensemble, and Dr John Wojcik will lead the band/brass ensemble.