All-Aroostook Music Festival helps expand variety of music to students

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 10:39 AM EST
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ASHLAND, Maine (WAGM) - The annual All-Aroostook Music Festival was held this past Saturday in Ashland. News Source 8′s Isaac Potter was there for the concert and has the story.

The All-Aroostook Music Festival is one the popular events in Aroostook County. The festival is a program where lots of middle schoolers and high schoolers from around Aroostook County with a love of music, come together to play music in a concert. Joel Hall, Superintendent and Principal of Ashland District School, says that this festival has been a long tradition in the County.

Joel Hall: “As far as the County goes, I know that even when I was in school. I participated in part of it, I have paperwork somewhere that my father participated when he was going to Houlton High School back in the 50′s. So it’s been going on for 70-75 years if not more.”

Over 15 schools in Aroostook County participated in the Festival. The event is normally a 2 day event, but due to the winter storm we had over the weekend, it pushed the event to one day. While the schedule was a little condensed due to the change, the students spent the day practicing music and meeting new friends before the evening concert.

Jon Simonoff, Music teacher at Ashland District School, says “They spent the whole morning rehearsing in their groups so they have had times with their conductor working on the music. They have never played together before so it takes some time to get use to a new conductor ‚and also a new sound. So they have been refining the music all morning, they have had some break for food and they have had lunch of course. Now they are rehearsing again, they prepare up all the way up until 5:00 and then they put on the concert.”

Hall says he hopes this festival will help grow the love of music for students in Aroostook County, and to expand their variety of music.

Joel Hall: “Everytime they are exposed to more music in a variety of different ways, kids find their passion and how they want to interpret that. If they get it in a concert band, get in a rock and roll band, or oo if they like listening to it or writing music or singing it. Whatever piece of it then, the more they are exposed to it, the more of a passion they will have to follow that.”

Simonoff says what makes the music festival special is seeing the kids and how the festival impacts them for their love of music when they return back to their schools.

Jon Simonoff: “I mean its great to see the great music happening and seeing the kids play, but after when they come back in schools the weeks after saying that was really cool, that was fun, I enjoyed that, I learned this. That’s what makes it worth it to me, because I think it teaches them that they can have a passion outside of school, and that’s kind of rare.”

Coming together to learn new things, meet new friends, and play new sounds of music. Isaac Potter News Source 8