Festivals and Workshops
All-State Help Session - the All-State Help Sessions grow in interest and attendance every year. They are designed specifically to assist those Kentucky high school students auditioning for the All-State Ensembles. Murray State University Faculty and selected university students work with the participating students on the audition music and also specific techniques for successful auditioning. The evening is concluded with a special performance by the Murray State University Jazz Orchestra. The All-State Help Session is generally held on the first or second Tuesday of November.
Athena Festival - The Athena Festival is a biennial event, sponsored by the Department of Music, devoted to the study and performance of music composed by women. The Athena Festival is a multi-faceted event reaching public school music students, MSU students and faculty, regional audiences and scholars/performers from across the country.
Festival of Champions - is an annual Marching Band event hosted by Murray State University and sanctioned by the KMEA Marching Band Committee. The festival is a prelims/finals format Marching Band Competition that features performances by the Racer Band. There is an online application at kmea.org. For more information go to murraystatebands.com.
Jazz Festival - The Murray State University Jazz Festival is a one to two day event that welcomes middle and high school as well as collegiate groups to campus for a non-competitive, jazz education centered event. Internationally known jazz educator Jamey Aebersold is a regular clinician as are the members of his working quartet (Luke Gillespie, Tyrone Wheeler and Jonathan Higgins). Outstanding educators from the Quad State region round out the panel. Todd E. Hill, Director of Jazz Ensembles at MSU is the event coordinator. Also featured at the event are the MSU Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Band and Jazz Combos as well as the KMEA First All-District Jazz Band. Thirteen to twenty groups participate annually, bringing more than three hundred students to campus.
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Quad-State Band Festivals - The Quad-State Band Festivals are a rich tradition at Murray State University. These festivals are among the oldest continuous running festivals in the South and further demonstrate the university's commitment to serving our surrounding region and states. The middle school band festival is held on the Monday preceding Thanksgiving and features four honor bands nominated by the directors of the participating schools. Guest conductors are chosen for their successful careers in working with this age group and their nationally recognized conducting and teaching skills. In addition, a noted composer/clinician is chosen each year to work with the directors in selecting appropriate literature and to provide insights into the compositional process involved in writing for grades 1-3. The Senior High Band Festival is always held on the last full weekend in February and features four honor bands selected by on-site auditions at the beginning of the festival proctored by the MSU Instrumental Faculty and select university students. Guest conductors from throughout the world are contracted to work with the ensembles and an international guest artist is also featured. The three day event is highlighted by master-classes, concerts by university ensembles, faculty selected high school soloists, university scholarship auditions and a culminating concert by the four honor bands. For more information visit:
In odd numbered years, the Junior High Quad State Festival hosts a composer-in-residence in conjunction with the Murray State University Athena Festival for Women Composers. Repertoire selection for the event features the music of the composer-in-residence. Additionally, she is invited to rehearse and conduct the chorus, conduct a reading session for the participating choral directors, and lead a question and answer session with the singers and directors.