By Gene Schott
AHS Orchestra Director
The Big 9 Music Festival is the oldest such music festival in the country and is considered a pillar of musical performance, creation, collaboration and support for music education nationwide. Unfortunately, due to COVID, the festival has been on hiatus for two years. This year, however, we are back and Austin Public Schools is very excited to host the 88th Big 9 Music Festival on Friday April 29th.
Throughout the day, Austin High School will be buzzing with more than two thousand music students from the 12 Big 9 schools. Knowlton auditorium and orchestras at Packer Gym.
These performances will be commented on by our three guest clinicians:
• Our guest music clinician is Dr. Peter Haberman, Director of Music at Concordia College in Moorhead.
• Our guest orchestral clinicians are Joshua Reznicow, Director of Orchestral Activities at Linn-Marr Schools in Marion, Iowa.
• Our guest choir clinician is G. Phillip Shoultz, associate artistic director of VocalEssence, adjunct professor for conducting at the University of St. Thomas and cantor at Westwood Lutheran Church.
After all 35 ensembles have performed, the top students from each Big 9 school come together to create the Big 9 Select Orchestra, Band and Choir. These incredible ensembles will be led by our guest clinicians and the final concert of the Big 9 Select will take place on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Packer Gym.
In true Austin fashion, we felt this Big 9 Music Festival comeback needed something special. In addition to the incredible music that will be performed by all three ensembles that night, for the first time in Big 9 Music Festival history, with support from the Hormel Foundation, Austin’s Music Boosters and Legacy of Blair Lawhead, The Big 9 Select Orchestra will world premiere a brand new piece for full orchestra entitled “Majestic Fields” written by our guest conductor, Joshua Reznicow!
Tickets for the final concert are $8 for adults and $6 for students. They can be purchased at the door. If you can’t do it in person, it will also be streamed live on the Austin Public Schools YouTube page.
The fact that this festival has persevered through world wars, a myriad of industrial and information revolutions, and even a global pandemic, is testament to the fact that music education is not an “option”, but rather a main principle of a well-rounded education, and we are delighted to be able to host this year’s event. Austin Public Schools is thrilled to invite the Austin community, along with our amazing colleagues, students, school board members, and administration from all Big 9 schools to join us for a memorable day/evening of music creation!