On February 5, Washington Adventist University opened its campus up to students from schools all across the Columbia Union. Over the course of three days, these students tirelessly rehearsed and perfected several pieces of music in preparation for a Friday night concert and Sabbath morning performances. I had the pleasure of stopping by our neighboring school, Takoma Academy, to interview three of those students: Kendall B., a sophomore clarinet player; Dean C., a freshman saxophonist; and Addie M., a freshman violinist. These three musicians came to Music Fest 2020 with varying levels of experience, some having played their instrument for 6 years and others for nearly 10 years.
Addie, Kendall, and Dean approached the challenge of Music Fest with varying attitudes. Some expressed feelings of intimidation or frustration with the music, but Addie approached it with confidence and optimism. “It was easy,” said Addie when asked if the festival was difficult, “I got to learn from other people with more experience than me.”
Music Fest is an amazing learning experience—it’s a crash course on performance, artistry, and discipline. When asked about what they each learned this year at the festival, there was an assortment of answers. Dean learned about just how far you can take your studies with music, “You can do music with other things. You can even get a masters or PhD in the instrument that you play”; Addie learned brand new rhythms and techniques; and Kendall learned about the importance of his own role in an ensemble, “You have a small part to play in the piece, but you feel even smaller in a huge Music Fest,” he said, “But when you break down into masterclasses, you feel special and you see how important your part is. Each section has an important part to play and it all comes together to form a great song.”
Perhaps the most valuable takeaway of Music Fest for these three musicians was the little life lessons they learned along the way. When asked what advice they would give to other students, Kendall, Dean, and Addie all had great words of wisdom. Addie was eager to advise all future participants to always be on time, Dean made every music teacher’s dream come true when he recommended that everyone practice their instrument every day, and Kendall stressed the importance of intentionality. “Slow down. Take your time,” said Kendall, “Everything feels like it’s going so fast…But it’s important to just slow down and be intentional about every note and phrase that you’re playing to be prepared.”
We thank the Music Department and all who were involved in Music Fest 2020, and from the eyes of Kendall, Dean, and Addie, we think they are thankful too.
Please see video on a preview of Music Fest by Cassila Carvalho: