Magical. This is a word used to describe Rocky Mountain College’s Invitational Concert held at Faith Chapel on January 29,2010 by participants, patrons and organizers alike. Community Outreach and Development Coordinator, Jesse Murphy, said the performance was “an experience that doesn't just blend in with other good ones but really stands out. The students, music and venue combo was awesome.”
For the second year, the annual concert invited high school music students from Montana and the surrounding states to join RMC students for a performance in which they collectively prepared intensely over the course of two days. Murphy said he was quite impressed with the size of the audience for what he described to be “such a brilliant performance.” Murphy believed “the audience was in total awe. We had the doors locked until right before the show, so [there] was really a collective ‘wow’ from the beginning, and the size of the two performing groups was so impressive. They were a wonderful audience.”
Krystal VanDyke, a fifth year senior in Music Education at RMC, was excited by the patrons who filled the auditorium. “There were very few seats left… That was absolutely amazing, to have so many people there to listen to some great music.” Megan Heinemann, a Music Education December 2009 graduate, added to these sentiments by saying, “Since there were more participants this year, there were more parents and family members, so the concert was definitely well attended.” VanDyke said, as a performer, it was hard to judge the audience’s reactions during the concert, however, she explained, “Both band and choir got standing ovations, so I think they were probably pretty enthusiastic and excited about what they had heard!”
Audience members were similarly impressed with the performers and the over-all production. Bryon Baumstarck, a senior Computer Science and Mathematics major at Rocky Mountain College, said, “I believe that all the students at the concert, high school and college alike, will go very far in music performance, or teaching/directing music. It was a spellbinding production.”
However, the audience is only one part of the equation with a production of any size. For students’, the schedule can add to or reduce stress levels as they prepare themselves for an already stressful concert. Heinemann said, “Some of the music was really challenging, so I think the groups did exceptionally well for the short amount of time we had to rehearse together,” in response to the basic stress of time constraints. She added, “Some of the logistical aspects of the schedule needed to be worked out a little bit better the day before the concert, but we were in a new venue, so things were different from last year.”
“Along with the new venue,” Heinemann said, “came new technology. There were video cameras and screens showing those images throughout the performance… distracting both the audience and the performers.” However, the new challenges brought easier viewing for the audience also.
When reflecting on this year’s performance, Murphy described one of the concert‘s biggest benefits for all involved, “Everybody wins. Somebody could not walk away last night being disappointed.” In looking toward the coming years’ Invitational Concerts, he adds, “I always want bigger and better. I would love to see things double again next year, get more out of state kids. Maybe we'll need [to move to] the Metra.”