By Olivia Nieto
Music in May is one of the longest running high school music festivals in the United States. A handful of Sisters High School students were recently honored in attending.
Taking place at Pacific University in Forest Grove, this program focuses on encouraging the development of music in school systems through the integration of students from around the U.S. into one cohesive and creative community.
The four attendees that were accepted were Kendall Guiney, Blake Parker, Grace Grimes, and Althea Trask. These students were all thrilled to have been admitted. Admission into this program required a letter of recommendation from their band directors, along with information on any of their previous accolades.
“I really thrive in music-based environments, so when I heard about the program, I had to apply,” says sophomore Althea Trask.
And thrive these students did; over a three day period these young musicians practiced over four hours a day to showcase their final performance on day three. Around 500 other students around the U.S. attended to create a spectacular final exhibition.
“It felt crazy to be there. There were so many people, it didn’t feel real,” said senior Blake Parker.
While these students may have been intimidated by the sheer size of the event, they were also grateful for the opportunity to attend it, seeing as this experience required a large fee. Not all of these students were ready to pay this fee, but thanks to the scholarships they received, all who wanted to participate were able to go.
They found this aid in the Roundhouse Enrichment Experience, managed by Sisters GRO, a non-profit organization that partners with local donors to support Sisters high schoolers. With their help, these students were provided with the necessary amount of money to attend.
“I’m so grateful for being able to go. Everything was so great, it was one of the most eye-opening musical experiences I’ve ever been a part of,” exclaims Parker.
These students were placed into various groups based on their ability level and instrument. Two students participated in the choir, while the other two were split between the band and orchestra.
With an average of four pieces to rehearse, these students were busy cultivating an environment of practice and creativity.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the vigorous practice time, it was a nice change of pace,” says Trask.
Accompanied by over 500 students from all over the U.S., these Sisters high schoolers were exposed to a grander musical world. Introductions to occasions like these are valuable to the community. They have the potential to shape young students, bringing to light their passions that they could pursue as future careers.
“I am constantly impressed by the generosity of the Sisters community,” says Sisters GRO Director Laura Kloss. “I really enjoy getting to know our students, understanding their stories, hearing about their goals, and seeing those goals come to life.”
Their final performance was spectacular, exhibiting all of the dedication and sentiment these young musicians put into their music. All of the students gave a huge thank you to the Roundhouse Enrichment Experience that allowed them to explore and navigate this wonderful opportunity.
Olivia Nieto is a student at Sisters High School. She recently became a freelance writer and has been composing articles for the local Nugget Newspaper. Olivia enjoys playing saxophone in high school band and running cross country.