Festivals, Camps, and Workshops

Racer Instrumental Music Academy (RIMA)

RIMA Summer Camp

RIMA Summer Camp is a week-long music camp held on the campus of Murray State University. This camp is open to instrumental music students entering 9th grade through recent 12th grade graduates. Under the guidance of Murray State faculty and counselors, campers will spend the week rehearsing with a large concert band and will prepare a variety of fun and challenging band literature, culminating with a final Saturday morning showcase concert. Campers will improve ensemble performance skills, focusing on intonation, balance, blend, and musicianship.

Campers will also get an early taste of college life by staying in a residence hall and will be provided with a full meal plan during their stay. Each day, campers will walk to and from their courses. Evening social activities will include swimming, bowling, karaoke night, talent shows, scavenger hunts, games, dance, concerts, and recitals.

Summer Camp Registration

RIMA Winds & Percussion Workshop

RIMA Wind & Percussion Workshop is a one-day event open to high school wind & percussion students. Students will spend the day learning about specific topics in clinics and masterclasses as well as attending performances presented by Murray State faculty and students. This workshop is open to high school students of all ability levels. The RIMA Wind & Percussion Workshop is generally held the first or second Saturday of November.

RIMA All-State Help Lessons

RIMA All-State Help Lessons are specifically designed to assist Kentucky high school students who are planning to audition for All-State Ensembles. Murray State University Wind & Percussion Faculty will offer one free, 30-minute lesson to students interested in auditioning for All-State. Students will receive specific techniques for successful auditioning. All-State Help Lessons are offered throughout the Fall Semester.

Vocal Arts Camp (VAC)

Vocal Arts Camp is a week-long camp that immerses 9th-12th grade students in the art of vocal music. Choral music, musical theatre, pop a cappella, and solo music will be explored throughout the week. Faculty and staff will teach a variety of classes that include Musicianship Class, voice lessons, and a special topics music seminar. Campers will spend the week rehearsing a variety of fun and challenging music that will be presented on the Saturday morning student showcase. No previous voice training is required, but choral and/or performance experience is highly recommended.

In addition to a full week of music making, campers will get to experience what it is like to live on a college campus. They will stay in a residence hall and will be provided a full meal plan during the week. Evenings are filled will fun camp activities, led by our camp counselors, that include an ice cream social, movie night, bowling, talent show, and pool party.


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.

Quad-State Middle School Band Festival

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.


Quad-State High School Band Festival

The High School 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. 


Quad State Choir Festivals

Quad State Middle School Festival

The Middle School Choir Festival is held in historic Lovett Auditorium on the Murray State University campus each year early in late February or early March. Approximately 250 student singers in grades 6-9 from the quad state region participate. The repertoire is selected from western choral traditions, music of cultures throughout the world, arrangements of traditional spirituals and new compositions by living composers.

In 2020, the Treble Choir sang a world premiere composed by Amy Bernon that was specially commissioned for them.  In addition to the rehearsals and performance, the festival offers directors a reading session of new and tried-and-true music appropriate for the developing voice.

Quad State High School Honor Choir

The High School Honor Choir is one of the oldest continuously running festivals in the South and carries a rich tradition at Murray State University.  Selected by audition, the 250 high school singers from a five-state region gather on the Murray State campus for a day and a half festival, rehearsing and performing a major work from the choral/orchestral repertoire. 

Conducted by Murray State University Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Bradley Almquist, the choir features student soloists selected from the Honor Choir.  In addition to rehearsals, the festival offers directors workshops and professional development opportunities.

Quad State String Festival

The vibrant Quad State String Festival brings together elementary to high school string students to experience a day of string-orchestral playing and performance. Held in the last week of October, this festival features four orchestras arranged by a combination of experience level and age group.

Guest conductors are chosen for their expertise in string teaching and direction by Murray State University string faculty to lead upwards of 400 students toward an exciting performance in the historic Lovett Auditorium.

Festival of Champions

Festival of Champions was established in 1976 by the Marching Thoroughbreds Band Director David A. Wells. Festival of Champions is an annual Marching Band event hosted by Murray State and sanctioned by the KMEA Marching Band Committee. The original Festival of Champions contest required Kentucky bands to receive a Superior or Excellent rating at the current or previous year’s KMEA regional festival to be eligible to participate in the contest. Festival of Champions serves as an opportunity to interact with excellent student leaders, faculty, world class adjudicators, and experience campus life activities like Racer Band.



Jazz Festival

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.

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