FORT PIERCE — More than 480 of the best high school and middle school music students and their music directors from the Treasure Coast and beyond will converge on Indian River State College’s Massey Campus in Fort Pierce from Jan. 16-20 for the 45th Annual IRSC Honor Band and Orchestra Festival.
The festival is the largest school outreach event in the region for secondary music students. Select world-renowned clinician band and orchestra conductors have been invited to participate. Students who take part in the festival are nominated by their school’s music directors, and finalists are selected by Dr. John Southall, IRSC’s Chair of Performing and Visual Arts, Director of Bands, and Coordinator of Music Education.
Packets including the music are sent to finalists, who familiarize themselves with their pieces over the holiday break. Then, beginning on Jan. 16, the finalists rehearse together with the other selected musicians, under the direction of their guest conductors, at rehearsal halls and theatres at Indian River State College.
“It’s at heart a community outreach event because we have representatives from every middle and high school, public and private,” Southall said. The process also gives students a glimpse of what it will be like, should they choose to become professional musicians, he said.
The festival culminates with performances by three high school concert bands, one high school and middle school orchestra, one high school jazz ensemble, one middle school concert band, and one middle school jazz ensemble.
Guest conductors include Dr. Rick Fleming, Professor of Music and Director of Bands at State University of New York, Buffalo, who will conduct the top concert band; Angie Dueñas, Orchestra Director at Vero Beach High School, will conduct the orchestra; Christopher Dorsey, retired Director of Jazz Studies at Dillard High School for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, who will direct the jazz ensemble performances.
Following is the schedule of final performances. They all will be staged in the McAlpin Theatre. There is no cost to attend these concerts.
Tuesday, Jan. 16
• 6 p.m. — Middle School/High School Orchestra performing Leonard Bernstein, conducted by Angie Dueñas
Friday, Jan. 19
• 7:30 p.m. — Middle School Jazz Ensemble performing Benny Goodman, conductedby Jason Hatfield
• 8 p.m. — High School Jazz Ensemble performing Wynton Marsalis, conducted by Chris Dorsey
Saturday, Jan. 20
• 5 p.m. — Middle School Concert Band performing Gustav Holst, conducted by Sean Srigely
On Friday from 1 - 2 p.m. in the McAlpin Theatre, the College will conduct an informative session for festival participants to learn about opportunities with IRSC and about the IRSC Promise.
Students graduating in 2024 from Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie County public and public charter high schools and eligible in-district homeschool graduates who wish to earn tuition-free Associate degrees from Indian River State College can take the Promise Pledge beginning January 24, 2024.
For more information about this event or the instrumental music programs offered at Indian River State College, contact the Performing and Visual Arts Department at 772-462-7727.