Students taking center stage at music festival tonight

PARKERSBURG – More than 830 fourth- and fifth-grade students will be involved with the county’s elementary music festival this evening at the Parkersburg High Fieldhouse.

Kim Matthews, curriculum coordinator for Wood County Schools, said students from all 19 of the county’s elementary schools will take part in tonight’s annual music festival, now in its 51st year.

“It’s been going on, obviously, for a long time,’ she said.

Matthews said several years ago the festival was a lengthy event that also included bands.

“It has gone through some transitions over the years,” she said. “It’s just the choral portion that we do now.”

Teachers and students have been working for months on choir and dance numbers for the presentation. In addition to the mass choir, 11 schools will perform dance numbers. Matthews said the theme for this year’s event is Music Matters.

“They are making the emphasis on how music is part of everything in life and all curriculums.”

The festival starts at 7 p.m. There are no tickets being sold at the gates. Matthews said the event was pre-sold.

“Typically, it is well attended,” she said. “It’s one of the reasons we have pre-sold tickets to control numbers.”

The event will last a little more than an hour, she said. Traditionally, students sat in the floor-level bleachers of the fieldhouse, but those have been removed and will be replaced with risers.

Matthews said teachers begin planning and practicing for the event in the summer getting together to pick music and working on the program with their groups throughout the year.

“When we get to this point the students have had a chance to work with it for a while.”