Midland University - Fremont, Ne

Festival of the Arts showcases nearly 1,200 performers

Festival of the Arts showcases nearly 1,200 performers

Nearly 1,200 middle school and high school performers will take the stage Thursday through Saturday at Midland University’s Seventh Annual Festival of the Arts.

The three-day festival celebrates performing arts through critiqued performances, professionally led workshops and a show that is open to the public.

“Festival of the Arts is about healthy competition,” says Greg Butka, Director of Operations for Performing Arts. “Too many times we place an emphasis on competition to beat someone or to win. Here at Midland, we strive for a higher level of excellence. 

“We all can improve and grow as performers, so our history of the event has been about that,” he adds. “We bring in professionals, both local and national, that have proven to raise the bar of excellence. We provide a positive and healthy environment that challenges students to raise their expectations of themselves in a fun and uplifting way.”

Seven choirs and 15 jazz bands will take part in the festival on Thursday. Ten more choirs will perform on Friday with another five on Saturday. In total, there will be 1,165 performers – 560 high school students and 575 middle school students.

Schools participating in the festival include Abraham Lincoln High School, Alliance High School, Arlington High School, Bellevue East High School, Brownell-Talbot High School, Burke High School, Elkhorn Middle School, Elkhorn Grandview Middle School, Elkhorn South High School, Elkhorn Ridge Middle School, Elkhorn Valley View Middle School, Fremont High School, Fremont Middle School, Grand Island Northwest High School, Millard North Middle School, Millard South High School, Nebraska City High School, Osmond High School, Otte Blair Middle School, Papillion-La Vista High School, Papillion-La Vista South High School, Ralston High School, Thomas Jefferson High School, and Wilson Middle School.

Each choir will have an opportunity for a critiqued performance in front of other groups during the morning. Then the festival participants will attend professionally led workshops in the afternoon following by an end-of-day show. Bands that are attending will perform throughout the day Thursday and be able to enjoy a special performance by the Midland University Jazz Band under the direction of John Huss.

Leading workshops for vocal performers will be Anna Costella, a Blair native; Joel Johnston, director of R&J Studios; and Dan Hays, Director of Theater at Midland. Costella will teach a dance workshop, Johnston will lead a performance workshop and Hays will provide a musical theater workshop.

On Friday, Jed Logue, the master of ceremonies for the festival, will lead an improve workshop and Midland’s Kat Sodawasser will lead a street percussion workshop.