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Kyrene Music Honor Festival’s 27th Concert Celebrates Fine Arts Education

Posted February 2023


Over 150 middle school students from all six Kyrene middle schools and Kyrene Traditional Academy performed to a packed Desert Vista High School auditorium on Thursday, February 2 for the 27th Kyrene Music Honor Festival. The festival is held each year and sponsored by Kyrene School District to recognize and showcase the skill and dedication in instrumental and vocal performances by Kyrene middle school musicians.


“I am so proud of these students and all the work they have done and all the things they have learned over these last few days,” said Julie Hackmann, certified specials electives coordinator for Kyrene School District. “Before Tuesday, none of these groups had worked together, the way that they are here on the stage and in the classrooms.”


Each year, Tempe Union High School District (TUHSD) and Kyrene School District select two school days for music teachers and students to rehearse; but that is all. The festival provides students with an opportunity for middle school musicians to experience the high school music environment, foster student leadership at each campus through advanced musical training, and provides students from diverse backgrounds, cultures and schools an opportunity to create an unforgettable evening of music.


“To support our programs, Kyrene budgets $60,000 to help maintain and supply instruments to ensure that every student, regardless of economic means, can participate in instrumental music courses,” said Kyrene Superintendent Laura Toenjes. “All of this leads to one Kyrene community, dedicated to preserving and nurturing a love of fine arts and performance.”


The annual festival would not be possible without the 16 elementary and 17 middle school music teachers in Kyrene School District or the guest clinicians and conductors, Joshua Thye, TUHSD Arts Coordinator, Dr. Darlene Wedington-Clark from the Desert Vista Orchestra Program, and Meg Palermo from the Desert Vista Choral Arts Program. In addition to the auditorium and rehearsal spaces, TUHSD provided transportation for all students to attend the rehearsals and the final performance.