News Column

A flood of student musicians

April 30, 2014

By Dale Denwalt, Enid News & Eagle, Okla.

April 30--ENID, Okla. -- Hundreds of youthful musicians flooded Enid Wednesday for the opening of the Tri-State Music Festival.

Among those were director Kiley Feely's young students from Burlington Elementary School. As they waited in a cramped Central Christian Church, just outside their performance room, Feely double-checked their instruments and chatted with parents and other directors who came to the storied music festival. Because of the large number of students, performances were scheduled at schools and churches around Enid.

One by one, the competitors before Burlington's brass ensemble and soloists came and went. When it was their turn Wednesday morning, the group played five different songs.

"Some of them will be duets, trios, solos," Feely said. "My son is playing his first solo."

Feely teaches all bands at Burlington. She will be back in Enid Thursday with grades seven through 12.

Nerves might be an issue for some of the fourth-graders who are competing for the first time -- especially at Tri-State, which now is in its 82nd year. Feely was confident, though.

"Nah," she said. "He's going to do great."

Her words of advice for the Burlington Elementary School band, before they played? Simple.

"Perform it how we practiced," she said.

Organizers expect 9,500 students to show up over the competition's three days. Some bands are part of the Enid Public Schools system, but some come farther.

"This is kind of a big day for them because they're from such a small town," Feely said. "Coming to Enid's a big deal. They get to go to the mall; they're excited."

The carnival is set up at Oakwood Mall again this year.

The Burlington Elementary students came out in groups as they finished. Finally, their director emerged from the judging room.

"They did a great job. We'll just have to wait for the readings" for specifics, she said. "A lot of them, it was their first time."

Logistically, the competition appeared to be going smoothly on its first day. Back in the Tri-State headquarters, organizers tallied and posted scores while students prepared for the Elementary Honor Band Concert that night.

Tri-State continues tonight with a garage band competition at 6 p.m. Admittance to the event, which is at the courthouse Gazebo, is free.

Other free events this week include a drum line contest at David Allen Memorial Ballpark at 4 p.m. Friday, and Tri-State Million Dollar Parade at 6 p.m.

The garage band and drum line competitions are in their first year at Tri-State.

Performers will gather Friday at 8 p.m. for the Grand Concert at Convention Hall. Tickets for the concert are $3.

There are no Saturday events. The marching competition will be held in the fall.


(c)2014 the Enid News & Eagle (Enid, Okla.)

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Source: Enid News & Eagle (OK)

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