Orchestra and Choir Fest: A Night Full of Music


Michelle Rybski

High school and middle school choirs perform together at Choir Fest.

Lillianna Rederer, Staff Writer

The annual St. Charles Orchestra and Choir Fest welcomes eighth grade students from Wredling and Thompson Middle Schools to connect with high school musicians; Orchestra Fest was held on Monday, Oct. 17 in East’s main gym, and Choir Fest will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 26 in North’s auditorium.

Orchestra and Choir Fest gives eighth graders a glimpse of what the next big step is like; it motivates and encourages them to pursue their musical ambitions in high school.

“It’s an opportunity for eighth-graders to hear what is possible, to hear a different kind of sound,” said Mike Molloy, SCN choir teacher. “It’s a real light bulb ‘aha’ moment when they are suddenly surrounded by juniors and seniors.”

Orchestra and Choir Fest usually inspires 8th graders to continue playing their instruments and singing in high school, although it is not the main purpose of the event. Throughout the course of the afternoon, middle school and high school students get to know one another and rehearse as a group, concluding the night with a concert. 

North’s annual Orchestra Fest introduced the class of 2027 to North and East combined chamber orchestras.  Both high school orchestras prepared a demanding and intricate composition in the hopes of impressing and persuading the eighth-graders to choose to continue music in high school.

“We’re in an age of constant choice. We have a big buffet of things to choose from, and for younger kids to see older kids continuing on in music, it’s kind of a big deal,” said Andrew Masters, SCN orchestra teacher. “These kids are taking these AP classes, and they have these busy schedules; they do sports, clubs and they’re still making time for [music]… For an 8th grader to see high schoolers doing that, it’s very powerful.”

The unique event benefited both middle school and high school students. High school students benefited by leading and representing their chamber group, and the eighth graders got to learn about the high school orchestra and high school itself.

“I think that Orchestra Fest provides high school students with the opportunity to function as leaders and representatives of their ensemble. I enjoyed answering [the eighth-grader’s] questions about the music program at North, the high school lifestyle and other general questions when I lead a breakout group alongside other high school orchestra members,” said sophomore Anna Gagne, chamber orchestra student. 

North’s annual Choir Fest is taking place on Oct. 26 and will introduce the class of 2027 to St. Charles North and East junior and senior choirs. Middle and high school students of all ages sing together, bringing a variety of sounds and skills to the table, giving a beneficial experience for both middle and high school students.

“[In the past years] my students get the enjoyment from the sense of service, of providing that service to the middle school students and have the opportunity to be leaders,” said Molloy.

Choir Fest allows high school students to be leaders as well as providing the opportunity for eighth graders to sing in a large choir with 150 people in total and not a choir consisting of 20 to 30 people. 

“[Orchestra and Choir] Fest has allowed me to realize that you can absolutely have fun and still perform exciting and elegant pieces of music with so many talented musicians of many ages,” said Gagne.