Concerts' quality not a surprise

A friend told me earlier this week about several wonderful school concerts she had been to this Christmas season in Marion. I wasn’t surprised in the least; since I arrived in Marion in fall 2008, I’ve always been impressed by the talent of performers I’ve seen in Marion’s schools.

Maybe I’m easy to impress in that area. I’m not a musician at all, so what do I know? But people who know about music agree with me. In February, the Marion High School Men’s Chorus will perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association annual conference in Wichita. Their performance will be mixed in with state honor choirs, essentially the state all-star teams of high school music. In addition to the Men’s Chorus performance, David Clark notified me last week that Isaac Baldwin and Ryan Nelson were selected to be in the All-State Honor Choir performing at the convention — the all stars of the all stars.

My friend was impressed enough by several of the soloists to mention them by name, but she didn’t want me to single them out because there were too many good solos for her to remember them all. That sounds like a mark of a great concert, when you can’t keep track of all the wonderful performances. She was even impressed by how well the accompanist supported the students.

Unsurprisingly, the vocal concert and band and choir concert were great, according to my friend. Some people might be surprised at how pleasing she found the middle school concert, but it makes a lot of sense. Those excellent musicians in the high school have to come from somewhere, right?

She also mentioned that attendance was good at all three concerts. I’ve written in this space before about how important it is for the public to go out and support the arts by enjoying concerts, plays, and musicals, so I won’t belabor the point. I’ve never seen a disappointing crowd for a performance in Marion, and I think that at least contributes to the quality of the schools’ music programs.

— ADAM STEWART

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