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Jefferson MS Music Dept. Debuts Festival, Invites Composers

This past Saturday, March 23rd, the inaugural Jefferson Middle School Music Festival transformed Gabrielino High School into a vibrant symphony of sound. The first-ever event brought together the school's talented choirs, orchestras, and bands for a day filled with performances, learning, and a special opportunity: live feedback from renowned composers.

Students from grades 6-8 took center stage, showcasing their skills with a diverse repertoire. The program highlighted the works of esteemed composers, with a special focus on the music of Ruth Morris Gray, Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Rosemead High School, and Richard Meyer, a retired music teacher and internationally acclaimed composer of band and string literature.

But the real magic happened beyond the stage. The festival brought in these composers not just to hear the music, but to directly interact with the students. Choirs, conducted by Rachel Chew, received insightful feedback from guest clinician Ruth Morris Gray herself. Bands, under the direction of Nate Coyne, and orchestras, led by Esther Minwary, had the privilege of working with guest clinician Richard Meyer. These live feedback clinics provided invaluable guidance and inspiration for the young musicians.



Proud parents and family members filled the audience, witnessing the entire process unfold. Throughout the day, the air crackled with nervous anticipation before performances and erupted in thunderous applause after. The impact of the composers' feedback was evident. Students incorporated the suggestions, their confidence growing with each refined note. By day's end, the final performances showcased a remarkable improvement, a testament to the power of live instruction and the dedication of both students and instructors.



The event was collaborative in that it was hosted by Jefferson Middle School, but supported by Gabrielino High School staff including Melissa Romero, Instrumental Music Teacher, and Ruben Arteaga, Production Tech Teacher. The entire Production Tech class was on hand to help with all technical and sound needs throughout the day.





The Jefferson Middle School Music Festival's debut was a resounding success. It was a day buzzing with music-making, collaboration, and a shared passion for the craft. For the students, the chance to perform and learn directly from such accomplished composers was an unforgettable experience. This first-ever festival promises to become a cherished tradition, fostering a love for music and excellence within Jefferson Middle School's thriving music program.


JMS Orchestra Teacher, Esther Minwary with Richard Meyer
JMS Orchestra Teacher, Esther Minwary with Richard Meyer

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