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Published January 22, 2012, 07:41 PM

Music Students Advance Their Skills At Honor Band And Choir Festival

High School students from fours states were chosen for the 27th annual Honor Band and Choir Festival at the University of North Dakota. The weekend event exposed students to a higher level of music on a college campus.

High School students from fours states were chosen for the 27th annual Honor Band and Choir Festival at the University of North Dakota. The weekend event exposed students to a higher level of music on a college campus.

Melea Hoeffner, Parkston, ND Student: "Absolutely amazing. I learned so many new things and the music was phenomenal," Melea Hoeffner, a bass clarinet student from Parkston, South Dakota, said.

Hoeffner is just one high school student chosen from 800 who auditioned for the Honor Band and Choir Festival. Students from Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota had the opportunity to learn at a more advanced level.

"It was really cool. It gave me a higher quality of learning with different people who had been playing for longer, like the college students. It was a really good opportunity," Hoeffner said.

280 high school students spent their weekend at the Hughes Fine Arts Center. They worked with UND faculty and music students. The high school students say the weekend was challenging, yet unforgettable.

"It was a major learning experience," Brandon Viestenz, a bass clarinet student from Jamestown, North Dakota, said.

"Many of the students come from smaller schools so they never get this chance to play this higher level music. And so when they're here it's a new experience, it's a good experience and it's a good challenge for many of the kids that are here," Elizabeth Tang, Band Director at Lake Of The Woods School, said.

Tange was once a high school student in the honor band, then a music student at UND. She says working with these students this past weekend was rewarding.

"It's definitely because they're passionate about it and know it's important and want to learn more about it," Tange added.

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