Weather Forecast


Column: Music festival set for Friday at Prairie Elementary

District 518

WORTHINGTON -- A Celebration of Young Musicians Festival will take place at Prairie Elementary School from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Friday, March 2.

You may wonder -- what is a "Celebration of Young Musicians Festival?" These music festivals are hosted in various parts of the state and are intended as musical enrichment activities for our fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students. The festivals are generally in the month of March (in conjunction with Music in Our Schools Month) and feature guest clinicians from around the region and a culminating public performance.

Last year, more than 600 students participated in the elementary festivals throughout the state of Minnesota. The festivals are sponsored by Minnesota Music Educators Association and the Prairie Elementary music department staff consisting of Jeanne Mammen, Linda VanWesten, Katie Stafford and Jeanette Jenson from the Middle School have coordinated this event every other year since 2006.

Here in Worthington, we are fortunate to have the additional sponsorship of the Nobles County Integration Collaborative. With their assistance, our member schools' students are provided with transportation and registration subsidies that make the opportunity available to more children. We are very fortunate to have NCIC supporting us as we enhance our students' musical opportunities with enriching multicultural music experiences.

Who is participating? Members of the Prairie Elementary Celebration Chorus are fourth-grade students who have been practicing specially chosen songs during after- school rehearsals led by Jeanne Mammen. Students and their directors participating from other area schools include: Brewster Elementary School (directed by Elizabeth Bushard); Adrian Elementary School (directed by Linda Kingery); and St. Mary's School and Fulda Elementary School (under the direction of Carolyn Beerman).

What will the students do for the day? Each student will participate in three different musical activities: a choral rehearsal of the songs they have learned led by master choral conductor Nyssa Brown, the music consultant for the Perpich Center for Arts Education; folk dances led by master teacher Andrew Ellingsen from Decorah, Iowa; and world African drumming led by master teacher and professional performer Mick LaBriola from Minneapolis. The day culminates with a concert showcasing the students and their directors beginning at 2 p.m.

You are warmly welcome and encouraged to come and see, hear and experience the music making at 2 p.m. next Friday, March 2, in the Prairie Elementary gym. Admission is free and open to the public.

As we look forward to this exciting day, we extend our thanks to our ISD 518 school board and administrators, especially Mr. Josh Noble at Prairie Elementary, for allowing us to plan these opportunities for our students. Their ongoing support of arts education in our schools continues to be an inspiration for us as music educators at every level.

Jeanne Mammen teaches music at Prairie Elementary.