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Viewpoint Hosts the 20th Annual CAIS Honors Music Festival Featuring Talented Students from 17 Independent Schools Across Southern California and Led by Five Renown Guest Conductors
Viewpoint Hosts the 20th Annual CAIS Honors Music Festival Featuring Talented Students from 17 Independent Schools Across Southern California and Led by Five Renown Guest Conductors

For the 17th time since 2006, our Viewpoint music community welcomed student musicians, guest conductors, and an enthusiastic audience to our campus for the annual CAIS Honors Music Festival, culminating in two outstanding concerts on Saturday, January 27.

The festival, in its 20th year, was started by former Viewpoint educator, administrator, and musician herself, Margaret Bowles, who attended the concerts as our very special guest.

“Each nominated by their music teachers, more than 230 students participated in the festival, and Viewpoint was well represented in all five ensembles - treble and concert choir, concert band, and chamber and string orchestras,” said Dr. Kristin Herkstroeter, Music Department Chair at Viewpoint and emcee of the festival.

The treble choir, led by guest conductor, Ruthie Millgard, sang five incredible selections, accompanied by our very own Dr. Kristin Herkstroeter on violin, and Mr. Wells Leng on piano. T.J. Harper led the concert choir in five diverse and engaging selections, accompanied by Viewpoint’s concert choir pianist, Ms. Patricia Mabee, and supported by our concert choir manager, Mrs. Carrie Dietsch.

The Instrumental Concert started with the Concert Band led by Dr. Elizabeth Peterson. The students performed four selections in different styles and ended their portion of the concert with a selection that featured movie music written by John Williams. For the first time ever, there were two orchestras at the festival. The Chamber Orchestra was open to juniors and seniors by auditions that they submitted in the fall. They played their first selection, the Elgar Serenade, without a conductor, which is quite a feat for high school students. The Festival ended with the String Orchestra performing Orawa by Polish composer, Wojciech Kilar. This minimalistic composition was a huge challenge for the students, as the students were divided into many parts, often with only 3 students on a part and playing a style not familiar to most of them. The students did a truly impressive job at the performance.  

This festival allows students the opportunity to learn and perform music they would otherwise not be able to perform by their school music ensembles. The music performed at the festival is typically more challenging and often requires a larger ensemble than many of the music groups at our Independent Schools have.  

“Students in all five ensembles left the festival, exhausted by the intensity of the weekend, yet exhilarated by what they were able to accomplish in less than 24 hours,” said Dr. Herkstroeter. “It was a truly memorable experience they will be talking about for many years to come.”

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