Regional students offer special concert in Marion this weekend

This weekend, hundreds of students from our region will gather here in Marion as part of the Indiana Music Education Association’s 31st annual Circle the State with Song festival.

About 420 talented young singers from elementary, middle, and junior high schools in Adams, Grant, Huntington, Kosciusko, Wabash, Wells, and Whitely counties will spend the day working with guest clinicians — a chance to build their skill as singers — and then will put on a special performance together.

This concert will start at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Walton Performing Arts Center at Marion High School.

It is open to the public, and tickets are $3 (free for ages 5 and younger). Tickets are available at the door, or will be available online soon at http://circlethestate.imeamusic.org/tickets.

The festival — which is held at several different sites around the state (this year from Feb. 15 through March 7) — exposes young singers to new music and gives them the chance to have a choral experience quite different from the regular school class or performance. Altogether, about 5,000 students around the state participate in this annual festival series.

Elementary and middle schools/junior highs participating in the Walton Center performance include Akron Elementary School, Alexandria Intermediate School, Allen Elementary School, Andrews Elementary School, Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School, Burris Laboratory School, Crestview Middle School, Frances Slocum Elementary School, Justice Intermediate School, Kendall Elementary School, Lancaster Central Elementary School, Manchester Intermediate School, McCulloch Junior High School, Northview Elementary School, Oak Hill Junior High School, OJ Neighbours Elementary School, Ossian Elementary School, Riverview Elementary School, Riverview Middle School, R.J. Baskett Middle School, South Adams Middle School, St. Paul Catholic School, Swayzee Elementary School, Tippecanoe Valley Middle School, Wabash Middle School.

After weeks of practice on their own and at their schools, students will spend most of the day Feb. 15 rehearsing the concert selections with a guest clinician at the Honeywell Center. At our region’s festival, the middle school clinician is, Scott Buchanan, director of choral activities at the Indiana State University School of Music, and the elementary clinician is Leeann Starkey, a conductor from the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.

The Circle the State with Song began in 1989 as a choral festival for elementary students. In 1991 it expanded to middle school and junior high students. Not only does it provide students the chance to sing challenging choral pieces with peers from around the area, it also provides music teachers an opportunity to observe and learn from the clinicians, and to network with colleagues from around the area.

IMEA’s mission is to support and advance music education in Indiana by representing the united interest of music educators and students and by providing professional leadership and service in music education to enhance the arts in the schools.