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Best area high school musicians perform

Best area high school musicians perform

NORFOLK, Neb. – It is always wonderful to hear high school students performing songs that have provided comfort for decades or even centuries.

It’s especially memorable when the finest area high school musicians combine their talents. Add in some experienced college vocalists and area instructors and such an event makes for a celebration like no other.

That’s what happens each year with the HAWKFEST music festival, which happened again on Monday, Oct. 9.

Students from 24 high schools were represented. Students auditioned to get chosen for the Honor Band/Honor Choir that performed in the Lifelong Learning Center, culminating with a concert and scholarship awards given to four seniors in the evening on the Northeast campus.

All things considered; the day makes for an amazing event.

This year’s concert featured performances by the Honor Band and Honor Choir, with the final selection a combined Beatles medley that included the High School Honor Choir, the area directors, and the Northeast College Choir -- all accompanied by the High School Honor Band.

Kevin McLouth, Northeast’s director of Instrumental Studies, said one thing that makes HAWKFEST unusual among other colleges that put together honor bands and honor choirs is the combined number where the band and choir are joined by the collegiate honor choir and directors.

“That’s over 100 voices together singing combined with the Honor Band. We think that’s kind of a unique thing and puts a little different spin on our HAWKFEST than a lot of the other local, type honor bands,” McLouth said.

For many, the medley was the highlight. It was apparent that all ages recognized the Fab Four’s “Hello, Goodbye,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Penny Lane” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” The Honor Band provided the melodies with such familiar sounds as the trumpet piccolo solo in “Penny Lane,” with the voices – at times singing in rounds – making the performance even stronger.

The Honor Choir was led by Northeast’s director of Vocal Studies, Margaret Schultz.

Schultz said that the high school students experienced a taste of music at Northeast with afternoon performances of choral and instrumental selections by the college musicians. In addition, each of the college musicians told the high school students their individual majors, emphasizing that students could continue their love of making music at Northeast, no matter their path of study. 

Schultz said the HAWKFEST musicians did an amazing job of learning and performing the music in a single day. 

Both McLouth and Schultz said one of the great things about music at Northeast is that college students perform alongside community members during the year in both the choral and instrumental ensembles. 

Several years ago, that resulted in a 16-year-old who was homeschooled playing alongside a 92-year-old woman who played saxophone.  A member of the choir has participated for over 15 years. 

“Music helps to bridge the gap and build community fences from generation to generation,” McLouth said.

Honor Band members were:

Bancroft-Rosalie – Andrew Wiese.

Bloomfield – Adeline Bobby.

Creighton – Payton Schroeder, Autumn Key, Benjamin Johnson.

Elkhorn Valley – Emma Quaslet, Adam Dexter, Ashlynn Dexter, Merrinee Vaughn, Jacob Lind.

Lutheran High Northeast – Madi Pedersen.

O’Neill – Kelli Tunender, Celia Mott, Hailey Romesser, Caleb Laursen, Regan Roessler.

Osmond – Erin Wagner, Matthew Alderson, Jack Berg.

Pender – McKenna Mullaniz, Ariel Falcon, Mason Bodlak, Alex Hathaway, Lauren Anderson, McKinley Morgan, Brody Krusemark.

Randolph – Justin Guenther, Matthew Schultz.

Pierce – Lillian Blank, Trayton Christiansen.

Plainview – Landon Hergert, Natalie Gatz, Weston Hoffman.

Ponca – Grace Hansen.

Twin River – Ava Martinez, Grace Sagales, Clay Brandenburger, Robert Elm.

Honor Choir members were:

Allen – Olivia Dekok.

Battle Creek – Talynn Aldag, Piper Rivest, Presley Wolf, Tucker Kirby.

Bloomfield – Sydney Hochstein, Evan Hollander, Michael Dodge, Blake Hochstein.

Boone Central – Emma Lordemann, Eloise Martinez, Myranda Nelson, Jaimie Zwiener, Quinn Bittner, Philip Carnley, Hadley Gulbrandson, Riley Lordemann, Jacob Smith.

Cody-Kilgore – Addysen Hawthorne, Mikah Vander Wey.

Creighton – Irene Burrell, Makayla Mitchell, George Burrell, Gavin White.

Elkhorn Valley – Irelyn Bearinger, Delilah Qualset, Layce Brandt, Paizlynn Glenn.

Fullerton – Megan Toahty.

Leigh – Lillian Bunner, Gabriel Pinkston, Amaiya Ross.

Madison – Samantha Montes, Julixa Moran.

Neligh-Oakdale – Ashlyn Rudolf, Hailey Horstmann, Daniela Parra.

Newman Grove – Carmen Montoya, Cayden Johnson.

Ponca – Brooklynne Lowe, Anny Fernau, Oliver Persinger.

Plainview – Kayci Daudt, Jaren Hergert, Bernardo Camacho.

St. Edward – Lydia Ketelsen, Jerel Matchett, Anthony Reader, Jacob Reeves.

Stanton – Chelsea Kment, Sam Jessen.

Winside -- Natalie Cautrell, Elayna Hoskinson.


HAWKFEST Band performance

Kevin McLouth, instrument director at Northeast Community College, directs the Honor Band during a Beatles medley that concluded the HAWKFEST music festival. In the background is more than a 100-voice Honor Choir. (Northeast Community College)