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
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 Ripleys 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.