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1,000 Students Perform at McPherson College For Central Kansas League Music Festival

Jumbled Instrument cases, formal clothes, and beautiful music all across campus – as 1,000 students arrived March 9, McPherson College was transformed into the grounds of a huge music festival.

This is the second year that McPherson College has served as host for the Central Kansas League Music Festival. Student musicians came from Lyons, Sterling, Halstead, Hillsboro, Kingman, Nickerson, Pratt, Hesston, Larned, Hoisington, Smoky Valley and Sterling to perform and compete.

Dr. Joshua Norris, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities, said having so many student groups on campus was a wonderful experience.

“We are so excited to host the Central Kansas League Music Festival again this year at McPherson College,” he said. “The 1,000 students visiting our campus today represent the finest musicians that many of these area schools have. We feel very lucky to be able to hear them, help them progress in their performance skills and to have the opportunity to meet them, their families and the schools they represent while they’re with us.”

The performances on Wednesday represented solos and groups of all sizes – trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, and various other large groups.

Audiences also got to experience diverse musical genres and styles – from small-group acapella singing to small-group jazz, large-group concert choir standards to percussion ensemble performance, and classical full symphony orchestra selections to big-band dance numbers.

The festival was so large, if fact, that the performances not only filled up every available large performance space on campus – such as Brown Auditorium and Mingenback Theatre – but also rooms in Hess Fine Arts Center and Miller Library. Performances even spilled out to the off-campus venues of the Church of the Brethren and Trinity Lutheran Church sanctuaries.

Shawn Knopp, director of bands for Smoky Valley and the festival manager, praised Dr. Norris; Kyle Hopkins, associate professor of music and director of bands; and all those who supported the festival across campus.

“I am thankful that McPherson College is willing to serve as the host site for the Central Kansas League Music Festival,” Knopp said. “I am especially thankful for all of the students and staff of McPherson College who volunteer their time to help run the festival.”

To learn more about the festival and hear the 2016 festival performances, visit