Fresno State is hosting its annual Fresno State Invitational Choral Festival this week in the Music Hall.
In its 13th year under current organizer Anna Hamre’s watch, the invitational has grown in size and ends today.
The event, which takes place over three days starting Wednesday is open to the public and includes over 75 different high school choirs from all over the valley from Bakersfield to Modesto.
The high schools, some of which are local Fresno schools, are involved in the invitational as a way to help high school choirs get exposed to other choirs as well as help them tone their own abilities and learn from the judges’ suggestions.
Angelica Lee is a high school senior at Sunnyside High in Fresno where she is the president of the choir. Lee has been to the festival three years in a row and thinks that the invitational is fun and helpful to all the choir members.
“They have adjudicators that help us They can help improve our vocal sounds,” Lee said.
The event is not only useful for the choir members, but the directors of the choirs also use the event to help teach their choir students.
Christopher Barges, director of the Bakersfield High School Choirs, said the festival was a great chance for kids to get out and work on their music for the upcoming year.
“For the kids, of course it’s a great time for them to feel the formality of what they’re working on and working towards. It’s very educational for them,” Christopher Barges
Barges added that any time you can get high school students on a college campus it’s beneficial to them.
Hamre uses this event as a chance to get judges from all over that have different opinions and styles to help make the event a learning experience for the choirs.
“We bring in the finest clinicians we can find; many have international credentials. They clinic our groups and our students can observe them clinic our choirs,” Hamre said.
Hambre was excited about this year’s judges, noting that they are renowned judges who are used all over the world to critique performances.
“The main clinician is Dr. Janet Galvan from Ithaca, New York. She is in demand all over the country as a guest conductor and clinician. Assisting her is Dr. Jeff Gemmell from The University of Colorado in Boulder,” Hamre said.
Choirs at the festival have the opportunity to be graded on their performances and the top five grades will be invited back the following year.
“Each choir has the option of being rated. The best five or six choirs from one year are invited back to perform in the command performance (always on Wednesday evening) next year,” Hamre said.
The festival is also put together by the help from Fresno State music students. This festival gives music students a chance to get behind the scenes, as well as perform and direct during the event.
“Many of our student will become music teachers, so they gain valuable experience in learning how to effectively present choirs and what clinicians are observing. Consequently, many of the choirs that come to our festival are conducted by our graduates,” Hambre said.
Hambre also said that this was a great group of music students who did a fantastic job working and participating in the event.
“This festival has grown because our student offer such a remarkable festival –efficient, supportive of area programs, and a model for outreach. I can’t say enough good things about them,” Hamre said.
The festival that has grown under Hamre’s guidance is now one of the largest choral invitational of its kind in the state. The festival includes men’s, women’s and mixed choirs.
For more information and today’s schedule, go to the Music Hall Room 126 and ask to speak to Anna Hambre.