As the weather finally heats up and spring is in the air, there’s arguably no better way to welcome the season than by listening to music from talented Turlock Unified School District students at the eighth annual Festival on the Green this weekend.
A celebration of the different music programs within the district, like band, orchestra and choir, the first Festival on the Green was held in 2012 when it was decided the programs’ growth meant students needed an entire day to showcase their talents, rather than just one concert. During the day-long festival, guests can enjoy musical performances by 1,500 students from 13 different schools.
“The concerts are a true celebration of the students and their musical accomplishments,” Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Heidi Lawler said.
Throughout the course of the day, the district expects to welcome 3,000 family members, staff and community members for what Lawler describes as a “safe, positive and high-quality, family-friendly celebration of student talent.”
The festival kicks off with a choir concert and lasts all day, featuring TUSD fifth through 12th grade students performing musical selections that demonstrate the progress they’ve made throughout the school year, with some students even performing in more than one ensemble. High school seniors who have participated in the TUSD music program since fifth grade are honored during the event, and the grand finale features a piece performed by all of the students in the program.
Additionally, there are student art displays, live entertainment on a separate, outdoor stage, community information booths, school clubs and parent groups and a variety of vendors selling food and more.
Music is important to the district, Lawler added, and TUSD consistently dedicates resources to the program, ensuring students receive classroom music lessons in grades 1-4 and have the opportunity to participate in band, choir or orchestra in grades 5-12. The district’s local control and accountability plan process, which surveys district stakeholders on which areas they believe should be a priority, has ensured throughout the years that the district continues to support its music program.
“TUSD also has an incredibly talented team of dedicated music educators who create wonderful opportunities for our students in the classroom and beyond,” Lawler said. “While the majority of TUSD’s music students participate in band, choir and orchestra, there are a variety of other course options at the high school level, including guitar and keyboarding.”
The Festival on the Green not only raises funds for the district’s music program, but also provides the perfect opportunity for young students to get a first-person glance at the myriad of musical opportunities that await them as they progress through their educational career within TUSD — all while celebrating the students who make it possible.
“The most important aspect of showcasing the music program through the Festival is to celebrate each student’s success and to demonstrate the high caliber of musicianship and performance of our ensembles, as well as the incredible progress made from elementary school through high school,” Lawler said.
The eighth annual Festival on the Green will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Pitman High School, 2525 W. Christoffersen Parkway. The schedule for the festival is as follows: Choir at 10 a.m., Orchestra I at 12:30 p.m., Orchestra II at 2 p.m., Band I at 3:30 p.m. and Band II at 5 p.m.