Musical weekend: WSMA, concerts fill Rita, campus
Almost everywhere you turned at UW-Parkside on Saturday, May 5, there was some kind of music: a saxophone quartet from Burlington High School in Molinaro 213; a jazz improvisational combo from Oak Creek High School in the Main Stage Theatre; a Tremper High School double quartet vocalizing in the Frances Bedford Concert Hall; tuba, euphonium, bass guitar, drum, and baritone solos going on everywhere else.
The university welcomed 3,000 high school and middle school musicians Saturday to the Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) State Music Festival. More than 1,100 separate music events took place in the Student Center, throughout Molinaro Hall, and in just about every available space in the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities. Main Place of Wyllie Hall was a practice area alive with the sound of music from dueling violins to woodwind ensembles to people using their thighs as drums.
Among the drummers was Melissa Behling of Racine. She told Kenosha News reporter Bill Robbins, "Playing the drums in very relaxing," adding, "The competition makes me want to work hard and do my best."
To participate, students had to have earned a "starred first" rating in Class A--the most difficult music--at a WSMA District Music Festival, hosted by schools for students in grades 6-12. More than 225 district festivals were held in Wisconsin during the past six months.
The WSMA State Music Festival gave UW-Parkside the chance to put "The Rita" on display and to thank participants for their work.
"The festival...provides an opportunity for the campus and music program to showcase the beautiful, new UW-Parkside facilities and to emphasize how much we value and support the efforts of our school music teaching colleagues, their students, and their families," said UW-Parkside Festival Manager James Crowley.
From comments overheard in the hallways, the Rita's music wing in general and the Bedford Concert Hall in particular received rave reviews.
The WSMA State Music Festival was the centerpiece of a busy musical weekend at UW-Parkside. Thursday, the UW-Parkside Wind Ensemble and Community Band played an evening concert in the Bedford Hall and Arts Alive! presented the fiddle band Barrage in the Main Stage Theatre Friday. The weekend closed with two Sunday concerts in Bedford Hall starting with the UW-Parkside Choirs led by Dr. James Kinchen and the Lake Geneva Middle School Choir and Boys Choir in the afternoon, and ending with the Lakeshore Youth Philharmonic in the evening.