GALENA, Alaska - Galena’s Fourth Annual RIFF@N*HOOK Music Festival at Galena Interior Learning Academy’s Ptarmigan Hall offered music performances to the community and music instruction to students.
The music festival offered middle and high school teens the opportunity to attend free classes taught by professional musicians.
The festival was organized by Karrie Pavish Anderson, the Ptarmigan Hall music and arts program director. Mrs. Pavish Anderson is also in charge of inviting guest musicians to Galena and in charge of fundraising, assisted by residential adviser Patti Crow.
The guest musicians for the 2010 RIFF@N*HOOK Music Festival were Jaunelle Celaire of Fairbanks, director of the Musical Theater; Aziza Syed of Los Angeles, teaching piano class and accompanying in musical theater, voice class, and advanced vocal ensemble; and Kathryn Hendrickson of Fairbanks, teaching the flute class. Several other musicians also participated.
Galena teens and community members attended the performance featuring all staff musicians. This also gave teens a chance to meet the festival musicians.
The Premiere Performance, featuring festival staff musicians, occurred on March 29. The musicians played a wide-ranged variety of music including jazz, musical theater, singer-songwriter, classical, and flamenco styles.
The RIFF@N*HOOK EXTREME Face-Off was held in the GILA auditorium on March 31. The event is a competition where teens perform 30 seconds in front of a crowd. The competition is single-elimination. Two teens perform; afterward, they are judged by the crowd. Whoever gets the loudest cheer advances to the next level.
The 2010 EXTREME Face-Off champion was Kaleb Sanford, thrilling the audience with his electric guitar. Second place was awarded to sophomore Michael Ford, singing and playing the piano. Third place was awarded to both sophomore Emma Simple for singing and to freshman Aaron Cox for drumming.
The festival ended on April 3 with a tremendous bang at the Student Finale Concert, the culminating event of the festival.
The Advanced Vocal Ensemble opened the show with The Alaska Flag Song. Following the Flag song were solo and ensemble performances from the youth who were adjudicated on Thursday, plus the elementary and teen ensemble classes.
Budding musicians performed beginning repertoire like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “The Skater’s Waltz”, while intermediate and advanced musical youth presented songs like “Crepescule” by Massenet, “Wash That Man Out of My Hair,” and “I’m Looking Through You” by The Beatles. The EXTREME Face-Off runner up performed in nine of the night’s performances, either singing, playing the piano, or both.
Selections from “Nabucco,” “Oklahoma!” and “Grease” were performed, much to the delight of festival audience members who rarely have the opportunity to be exposed to the performing arts. This was the first year that the festival has presented musical theater performances.
At the close of the Student Finale Concert, seniors Kaleb Sanford and Matt Goodwin were poised to begin the Post-Concert Encore Metal Show. Youths of all ages swarmed to the front of the auditorium in anticipation of heavy metal songs presented by the seniors and festival staff.
When the curtain closed and the crowds dispersed, teen performers made their way to the RIFF@N*HOOK After Party, where they were met by catered food, movie showings and good conversation to wind down another successful festival.
Sherri Kessner is editor of Galena’s “Hawk Highlights”