The young pianists played the grand piano in the auditorium, while the string players performed in the band room. The festival organizers are very grateful to the high school administration and staff for their help and cooperation in arranging for this event.
Most of the participants, ages 5-17, are from the Vermillion/Yankton area, although this year there were students from Milbank and Tea. The following teachers had students performing this year: Judy Aiello, Sheila Dailie, Nick Curry, Lois Droegemeier, Susan Keith Gray, Christy Kimball, Karen Lipp, Beth Mitchell, John Thomson, Karen Wearne and Janis Yarbrough.
Each student performs two pieces of music from memory, one of which is a required selection and the other is a piece which the student and his/her teacher choose. The judge gives each performer a rating along with a written critique.
The judge for the string performers this year was Richard Rognstad, cello and string bass instructor at USD, and director of the USD Orchestra. The piano students were judged by Christy Kimball, a piano instructor at USD and the organist and music director at Trinity Lutheran Church in Vermillion. The judges were both very complimentary about the festival and the quality of the performances.
The following students received a superior rating in the piano solo event: Julie Auch, Kate Brockevelt, Ellen Brown, Jack Brown, Johanna Bryan, Maggie Busek, Shelby Covill, Heather Dean, Eric Droegemeier, Sarah Droegemeier, DeNell Dykstra, Sam Ekstrom, Ander Geise, Anna Hammond, Marley Hanson, Abby Havener, Naomi Havener, Kevin Helenurm, Andrew Heine, Ashley Henry, Jennifer Hildreth, Blake Hill, Emily Hill, Derek Iverson, Cara Koch, Clayton Larsen, Lacey Leichtnam, Kelsie Leikvold, Sophia Leikvold, Natalie LeVan, Raychel Lorenz, Morgan McKinney, Elly Miiller, Heidi Osterberg, Coleman Peterson, Seth Phillips, McKayla Poppens, Sowmya Ragothaman, Erin Rasmussen, Sarah Rasmussen, Ryan Reiffenberger, Stacy Schluttner, Paul Schwasinger, Forest Skilbred, Chrissy Sorensen, Heather Sun, Sean Thomson, Emily Van Den Hul, Olivia Van Den Hul, Jade Van Kley, Abby Van Peursem and Joel Van Peursem.
Excellent ratings for piano solo were given to: Peter Auch, Byron Banasiak, Meghan Cameron, Dayjia Castillo, Mikaela French, Shantel French, Paul Granaas, Victoria Gregoire, Ellen Hanson, Mark Helenurn, Alison Heine, Makenna Koble, Reilly Larson, Lauren Leichtnam, Audrey Miiller, Micah Rarick, Emily Renner, Julie Renner, Caitlyn Schwebach, and Nicholas Stewart.
Peter Banasiak, Cory Cordie, Stephanie Cowman, Ethan Druin, Jacob Krier, and Kayla Munger received a satisfactory/fair rating.
The following students received a superior rating for violin solos: Julie Auch, Theresa Barnes, Friend Bechtel, Odrey Bechtel, Rebecka Bogue, Maggie Brown, Zofie Dvorak, Brooke Hiemstra, Agnes Kabambi, Keren Kabambi, Carmen Lipp, Annie Peasley, Janani Ragothaman, Allen Schmitz, Emily Schmitz, Alexa Thomson, Sean Thomson, Sophia Vandenhul, Leah Waid and Jacki Wang.
Excellent ratings for violin solos were earned by David Barnes, Mikael Leet and Emily Lundgren.
Jessica Bogue, Addy Bryan, Rose Dvorak and Josephine Kabambi earned a superior ratings for viola solos; Owen Swallow and Chance Sorensen received a superior rating for their cello solos.
In the violin concerto event, superior ratings were given to Friend Bechtel, Annie Peasley, Janani Ragothaman, Alexa Thomson and Sean Thomson; Rebecka Bogue and Jacki Wang received an excellent rating. Rose Dvorak received a superior for her viola concerto.
In addition to receiving a rating and comments from the judge, participants can earn points every year based on the ratings they receive, and gold cups are then awarded to those earning the required number of points (15 points for a small cup, 30 points for a medium cup, and 45 points for a large cup). This year 14 gold cups were awarded.
Small gold cups for piano solos were earned by: Julie Auch, Byron Banasiak, Johanna Bryan, Eric Droegemeier, Sarah Droegemeier, Mikaela French, Ander Geise, Paul Granaas, Ashley Henry and Nicholas Stewart. Micah Rarick and Emily Van Den Hul were awarded medium gold cups.
A small gold cup for viola solo was awarded to Jessica Bogue, and Jacki Wang received a medium gold cup for violin solo.
Thanks to the members of the Vermillion Music Club who worked to put on this festival (Lois Droegemeier, Solveig Korte and Mary Sorensen as well as Sarah Chadima and Carolyn Johnson) and to the teachers who encourage their students to participate.