Festival features music performances

Kathleen Cunningham

Music will fill the corners of Webster Hall auditorium this weekend.

On Saturday, Missouri Southern will play host to a group of 150 elementary and high school students for the Suzuki Federation Music Festival.

The festival is for students of the violin, piano and vocal lessons.

“The purpose of the Festival is of course, music and encourages the student to practice their instrument or practice singing,” said Kexi Liu, associate professor of music and director of Suzuki Violin Academy.

As part of the festival, the Suzuki federation students perform for a group of judges. The students are rated on a five-point scale, a process that is done each year.

The students enter the contest based on the national Suzuki class. It is a way for the students to get involved in the longer progress of honing their skills.

“It hopefully shows progression from one year to the next,” said Charles “Bud” Clark, department head of music.

Clark’s son and daughter both attended the festival when they were younger.

“If they get a certain rating, they get a trophy, and the trophy every year gets a little bigger,” he said. “They get a pretty good-sized trophy once they’ve been involved in this many, many years.”

While they are contesting for trophies, they are only competing against themselves.

They do not compete against each other.

“The students just try to do his or her best,” Liu said.

The student performances not only impact their scores, but can also help them pursue their musical studies beyond high school.

“These trophies look good on an application to apply to a university,” Liu said. “It looks good on their records.”

The students are usually encouraged to carry their pursuits of their instruments into college and, if they have considered it, to come to Southern.

Liu said the number of applicants is larger than in previous years.

The Festival is part of a larger Missouri federation of contests, which is part of a national federation in itself.

Liu said the Festival is in its 15th year at Southern.