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.
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 Murray State is the event coordinator. Also featured at the event are the Murray State 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.
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 Murray State 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:
Vocal Arts Camp - The Vocal Arts Camp Murray State University’s Vocal Arts Camp (VAC) is a week-long camp that immerses 9th-12th grade students in the art of solo singing. Each day, students receive voice lessons, acting and movement classes, and a studio voice class. Students also participate in a mock musical theatre audition, or a mock college audition, and receive feedback from faculty to help prepare for future auditions. Participants perform in a student showcase recital at the end of the week. No previous vocal training is required.
Junior High Quad State Choral Festival - The Junior High School Quad State Festival is held at Murray State University each
year early in the spring semester. Approximately 130 6th-9th-grade students from Kentucky,
Tennessee, and Illinois participate each year. In even numbered years, Dr. Amy Aucoin,
Associate Professor of Music at Murray State University, conducts the ensemble. She
selects repertoire that is often inaccessible to individual choirs but provides the
perfect balance of challenge and accessibility to this large group. Repertoire is
often from the classical western music tradition, music of cultures throughout the
world, arrangements of traditional spirituals and new compositions by living composers.
In recent years, Dr. Bradley Almquist, Professor of Music at Murray State University
and Director of Choral Activities, has conducted a men’s ensemble while Dr. Aucoin
has conducted the women and unchanged boy voices on treble repertoire.
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.