By Will Rosson
Staff reporter

The last stop before state music festival is this weekend. Hundreds of high school students will be showing off their musical talents for a chance to move on to state competition at this weekend’s solo and small ensemble regional festival. The festival will be on campus, and is not only an exhausting day for the students competing, but for the host school as well.

Lou Tharp, faculty assistant for Performing Arts, does much of the paper work for organizing the event. This marks the third year in a row that the college has hosted the solo regional festival, which is part of the Kansas State High School Activities Association. Tharp says the day will be a busy day with at least 349 students in this year’s festival.

“We’ll be having six rooms running with a performance every seven minutes all day long,” said Tharp.

Tharp finds the event is easier to run when she has help. Last year Erin Buster, music education sophomore, volunteered to help Tharp with preparing and running the festival. She has once again volunteered this year.

Buster said, “I wear many hats. I am the facilitator of volunteers, and I am the roving person that directors can talk to and ask questions. I am the person that organized the individual rooms as well as coordinates the snack bar.”

“ The regional solo and small ensemble festival is for the 1A, 2A, 3A schools. This is a festival where high school students prepare music literature and perform them in front of an adjudicator and receive a rating. Only I ratings advance to state,” said Buster.

Judges rate the performances on a scale from I through V, with I being the highest rating a student can receive.

Students from 25 schools will be on campus from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. this Saturday. The performances will be in designated rooms in Darbeth Fine Arts Hall.  Wroten hall will serve as the home room location for the students. Student volunteers will run a snack bar. A music studies information table will be set up.

“This is an amazing recruitment opportunity. Hundreds of students get the opportunity to see our campus and interact with students and professors,” says Buster.

College students volunteer to help out. They make sure performances are not interrupted and keep the schedule performance times going, as well as assisting the music judge’s needs. Snack bar volunteers will also be present. Sarah Boyer, music senior, is a again this year.

“I feel that helping at the festival is great because it helps you connect more in the music community and gives you something great to do on a Saturday. I love working the festival because it’s great to connect with the judges as well as the students competing,” said Boyer.

Rooms will be set up in Darbeth on Friday as planned out by Buster. At least 30 music stands and 50 chairs will be placed in six rooms. Directional signs are posted so students can navigate themselves in the building. Buster and company know what to expect this Saturday, thanks to previous experience, and preparation.

Will Rosson is a senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at

Edited by Lea Shores