B y Derek Liebig
A trio of musicians from Whitehall High School recently participated in a music festival featuring some of the finest young musicians from Washington and Rutland counties.
Erika Harker, Susannah Ripley and Haley Wiskowski represented Whitehall at the fourth annual Castleton State College Honors Music Festival, held Jan. 24 on the Castleton campus.
The festival features students from Salem, Fort Edward, Argyle, Whitehall and “six of seven schools from Vermont,” Whitehall Band Instructor Melissa Clark said.
“The music was more challenging. It was a level or two above what we play,” Clark said.
The students, who were the first from Whitehall to participate in the festival, were chosen after a thorough vetting process.
They were nominated by Clark who had to fill out a rubric detailing their playing levels, their strengths and their weaknesses. Once the names were submitted, festival organizers put together a band, Clark said.
In order to be selected, students had to be in grades 9-12 and meet high standards of performance, ability and character.
On the day of the festival, students worked with faculty and students from the institution’s music program. Students in the school’s music program ran the festival.
The students rehearsed for six hours before performing in concert later that evening.
“They worked with collegiate instructors,” she said. “It was a win-win. It was an opportunity for the students to get some musical experience and for the college to get its name out there.”
Clark, who took over for longtime band instructor Marc Pratt earlier this school year, is already looking forward to next year’s event.
“We plan on having a few more students next year,” she said.