BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
A slew of Clarkston High School musicians was selected from over 250,000 students across the state to perform at the 57th Annual Michigan Youth Arts Festival May 9-11 at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.
The festival is a weekend event highlighting the best of the best from Michigan’s high school arts programs.
“As a director, it is very exciting to see the students perform at such a high level,” said CHS Director of Bands Mike Lewis. “We all remember them when they were just getting started and to see the amount of growth over the years is very rewarding. I believe that it speaks to the high level of achievement of the Clarkston music program. We have such great kids here in Clarkston and they are always looking for more ways to improve and grow.”
In Kalamazoo, Nick Adkins (bassoon), Emily Rumstadt (viola) and Will Silvey (French horn) participated in the Full Orchestra, Evan Hall (bassoon) played in the Honors Band, Kenadie Barringer (piano) was in the Jazz Band, and Ben Neideck took part in the Musical Theatre. The Woodwind Quintet was comprised of Molly Damitio (flute), Barringer (oboe), Hall, Rebekah Gerhardt (clarinet) and Silvey, while the Clarinet Choir was made up of Gerhardt, Sophia Dalby, Audrey Dekoninck, Sydney Clements, Kayleen Robinson, Isabella Limbert, Garrett Bailey, Alexa Parsons, Anna Laube, Emily Kroll, Alyson Wilson, Alexandra Purves, Connor Stout, Hannah Graves, Sierra Neumann, and Megan Ludwig.
The Woodwind Quintet performed “Three Shanties” by Malcolm Arnold and the Clarinet Choir performed “Sandglass” by Hirokazu Fukushima. The orchestra and band rehearsed for two days and performed on Saturday. The Woodwind Quintet and Clarinet Choir performed on Saturday morning as well. The Woodwind Quintet also performed at the Gala Concert on Friday night. Neideck also performed as part of the Music Theatre Collaboration at the Friday night Gala.
Hall, who will continue playing bassoon at the University of Michigan this fall, went to the Michigan Youth Arts Festival in 2018 as well.
“This year at MYAF, I was afforded and honored with the best of opportunities,” said Hall. “I auditioned and earned first bassoon in the Honors Band. The Woodwind Quintet that I am grateful to have been a part of successfully beat the competition and was ranked the number one woodwind quintet in the state of Michigan. It was a final resolution to a great high school career. I was also able to reunite with old friends and meet new ones in the process.”
Hall also noted that the Clarkston music program “has and will remain an integral part of my life.”
“I began in the program back in sixth grade, having little musical exposure prior to joining band,” he said. “I definitely struggled a great deal in my early years but for some reason, I was dedicated to my craft. After years of participating in camps around the country, I found a passion for the bassoon.”