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County students to symphonize at music festival
music festival pic
Pitman High orchestra instructor Don Grishaw conducts the junior high school Honor Orchestra in a practice session before the group performs in the Stanislaus County Music Festival. - photo by ALYSSON AREDAS / The Journal

For one weekend school rivalries will be forgotten as high school and junior high students in Honor Choir, Honor Orchestra, and Honor Band come together to harmonize at the Stanislaus County Music Festival.

Co-sponsored by the Stanislaus County Music Educators Association, Stanislaus County Office of Education, and the Gottschalk Music Center, the annual music festival invites the public to an entertainment-filled event that showcases distinguished guest conductors and students throughout the county.

Students are recommended to audition for the honor program through their music teachers. Guest conductors for this year’s festival include Mary Stocker and Daniel Alfonso for Honor Choir, Don Grishaw and Ryan Murray for Honor Orchestra, and James Mazzaferro and John Abigana for Honor Band.

According to Grishaw, who will be conducting the junior high school Honor Orchestra, his students have been busy rehearsing during the past two weeks.

Grishaw and his students are slated to play a variety of musical pieces, including “Pavane” by Peter Warlock, “Rondo Royale” by Henry Purcell, “Symphony No. 9” by Antonín Dvoák, and “Fiddles Out West” by Mark Williams.

“This is a great opportunity for students, because they are able to perform a repertoire that is more difficult than at the school setting,” said Grishaw. “This festival takes the top students in the county and takes them a little further.”

Creekside Middle School eighth grader Ashley Jepson is the junior high Honor Orchestra Violin First Chair. Having played the violin for five years, Jepson is excited to perform this weekend during the music festival.

“I am looking forward to seeing all of the groups come together to play the concert,” commented Jepson.

The Stanislaus County Music Festival will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday with the high school and junior high school Honor Choir. The high school and junior high school Honor Orchestra will perform at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The festival will conclude with the high school and junior high school Honor Band at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Completely free to the public, the festival will take place at Modesto Junior College auditorium at 435 College Ave., in Modesto.