Schools come together for county music festival

Wanda English Burnett - Editor

Music students in the area are gearing up for the Ripley County Music Festival, which will be held at the Tyson Auditorium in Versailles on Wednesday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Students from Batesville, Jac-Cen-Del, Milan and South Ripley - 170 in all - will perform under the direction of Guest Conductor Dr. David Greenlee, who is Director Emeritus of Choral Activities at Eastern Kentucky University. He retired in 2002 after completing a 40-year teaching career.

Dr. Greenlee has been recognized for his outstanding choral performances. His choirs have made many appearances with major symphony orchestras, national, regional and state music conventions. He is the only Kentucky director ever chosen by his colleagues to conduct the Kentucky All-Collegiate Choir. He has conducted four European concert tours, six All-State choirs, and two Masterwork performances in Carnegie Hall.

The famed conductor remains very active as a choral clinician and guest conductor. He adjudicates many of the countries top choral and show choir competitions with North American Music Fest, Smoky Mountain Festival and Music in the Parks. He received his bachelors and masters degrees from Ball State University and his Doctorate from the Indiana University School of Music.

Trish Johnson, former choir director of Milan High School will accompany the musicians with Eric Stauffer, South Ripley band director as guest instrumentalist. Local choir directors include Raymond Ocampo, Batesville; Glenn Unklesbay, Jac-Cen-Del; Dara Stutler, Milan; and Rae Jean Auterson, South Ripley.

The program includes: Exultate Cantamos Festivo (Sing, Dance, Celebrate), Althouse Mi Yitneni Of (Who Will Give Me Wings) Shimoni Windy Nights Gray, Golden Dream Moline, He never Failed Me Yet Ray, Bist Du Bei Mir (Abide with Me) Bach, Ave Maria Schubert, Ride On King Jesus! Johnson.
Everyone is invited to hear this spectacular choir as they perform the above selections. The event is sponsored by the Ripley County Community Foundation, Inc., which is in its 10th year. The foundation continues to grow and benefit residents in the county. Over $3 million in grants have been distributed to qualified non-profit organizations and since 1998 there have been 18 Ripley County students chosen for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship - a full ride to a college education. This year the board and staff of the RCCF are planning to add a “dash” of 10th anniversary celebration to the events that occur throughout the year. The celebration will culminate with the Gala on November 4.

The mission of the RCCF is to “promote the betterment of Ripley County and the enhancement of the quality of life for all its citizens through the creation of permanent endowment funds.” There are presently over 80 funds set up. Anyone interested in more information about the foundation or how to set up a fund can call Sally Morris, executive director at 812-933-1098 or toll free at 877-234-5220.
The RCCF is proud to sponsor the Ripley County Music Festival and congratulates all musicians participating this year.

The Ripley County Music Festival is noted as being one of the oldest of its kind in the state. The first one was held at the Milan High School on March 21, 1950. According to information published in The Versailles Republican March 16, 1950, eight schools were involved in the inaugural event with a choir of 306 and a band with 180 pieces. Eugene Slick of Anderson was the guest conductor for the band. The event was hailed a huge success with over 500 in attendance. The birth of waves of music to come was born in Ripley County.

Since its inception, the festival has thrilled audiences with this year the promise of one more great music event. Everyone is invited to hear the students perform and carry on the tradition of music excellence in the community.

Admission to the event is just $2.00 for children and $4.00 for adults, not up that much from the first 1950 event when admission was a quarter for children and fifty-cents for adults!

Rae Jean Auterson, South Ripley’s choir director noted that the students have been working especially hard for this performance. She said they will rehearse the day of the event, have a meal prepared by Crossroads Restaurant, and then give the performance that evening. “Please come and support our students,” she concluded.

© Copyright 2003 Ripley Publishing Co.. Inc. | Site Design by Eclectic Video