Image Credit: Heidi Baumgartner

Students Work in Concert at Music Festival

Faith Jordan remembers two times as an elementary student when she attended the Washington Conference Music Festival at Auburn Adventist Academy. Now, however, she is an academy freshman.

“It is an entirely different perspective seeing students come to the music festival, sometimes for the very first time,” Jordan says. “I can relate to them in a very personal way because I have been in their shoes.”

During the music festival, 301 students plus their sponsors stay on campus at the academy and participate in intense all-day rehearsals in preparation for a weekend concert.

Jordan remembers staying in the dorm with a senior her first year. “She was very polite and helped me to make myself at home,” Jordan says. “I will never forget her kindness to me. She helped me let go of the fear I had that I was not going to enjoy the music festival at all.”

Students who attend music festival typically are in grades six through 10 and represent Adventist elementary and home schools in western Washington and beyond. The young musicians participate in five music disciplines: band, orchestra, bell choir, piano and vocal choir.

This year, the music festival theme of “Living Water” featured a repertoire of water-related music — ranging from Handel’s Water Music to the traditional spiritual song “Down to the River to Pray" and the cheerful tune of “Singin’ in the Rain” — at the Saturday night concert.

Right after music festival, Washington Conference Office of Education received a collection of 22 thank-you notes from students.

“We loved reading all the letters; they overflowed with gratitude,” says Becky Meharry, Washington Conference associate superintendent. “It was heartwarming to see the students’ responses and to find out their different experiences. For some, it was all about the food, fun and living with their friends in the dorm. For others, it was a spiritual experience with the music and mentorship from adults.”

The multidisciplinary music festival is held the last weekend of each February. Young musicians are welcome to join the festival and may make arrangements by contacting Auburn’s music department.

As for Jordan, she says, “I only hope that I was able to give that same loving example and comfort that was given to me during my first stay.”

Featured in: May 2016