Celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Fine Arts Festival, Owensboro Public Schools will begin the program on March 18 at the RiverPark Center.
Over the 10 days of the festival, more than 3,000 students from OPS will perform for 8,000 audience members over the five performance nights.
Throughout the festival’s 10-day run, visual art students will have their work displayed in the lobby of the RiverPark Center. The best of the displayed work is identified by Heather Logsdon from Kentucky Wesleyan College’s Visual Arts Program and each school level participants receive a red, white or blue ribbon award.
The festival opens with the band programs March 18. Concert band, jazz band, percussion ensemble and fan-favorite Red Steel will all perform, including the Cravens Elementary steel band for the first time, which will perform in the lobby prior to the start of the show.
Sixth-grade band student Landon Block said that he enjoys seeing the latter grades perform.
“I like to see what I can do if I stick with band,” Block said.
Haley Alsup, a senior band performer said that she enjoys having the chance to show the younger performers what they can look forward to, including the hard work they put into it.
Anna Clements, who will perform with the high school band said that it is incredible to perform in such an amazing music hall and she enjoys seeing the faces of the directors after they have performed.
Due to seating limitations and the popularity of choir night, the show has been split into two shows — elementary school choirs who will perform at 6 p.m. and middle and high school choirs who will begin at 7:30 p.m. on March 19.
Hannah Brown, a fifth-grade student at Cravens said that her favorite part of performing is that parents come to see the performance and see what students can achieve.
On March 20, orchestras from Sutton and Newton Parrish Elementary Schools will join the middle and high school orchestras.
“My favorite part of being at the RiverPark Center is the atmosphere,” said seventh-grader Sydney Lovett. “The atmosphere is always shifting, people are nervous or excited, that’s until the music takes it all away.”
On March 26, theatre students from Sutton, Owensboro Middle School North and Owensboro High School will perform.
For the festival’s closing, two dance shows will be March 28 with all five elementary schools performing at 6 p.m. and middle and high school dance groups performing at 7:30 p.m.
OPS recognizes the enjoyment children get when attending programs at the RiverPark Center and are encouraging all who attend to make a donation toward the RiverPark’s venture, “Entertain the Future.”
For many children, the RiverPark Center’s school performances throughout the year are the only live productions they have seen. The RiverPark Center offers several arts education programs to community schools, bringing them onstage and showing the technical aspects of the performing arts facility.
The Fine Arts Festival takes it one step further, allowing students the opportunity to perform on a stage where many have watched professionals perform to a full audience, including several family members who attend their performances.
Admission is free and each night will begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the start of each show.