JASPER — The Indiana Federation of Music Club (IFMC) held its annual Piano, Organ and Voice Festival for District 8 North at Trinity United Church of Christ in Jasper on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30. District 8N is a club of the region teachers and students of music. This year, 94 participants participated in 318 events from Orange, Perry, Dubois and Spencer counties and the towns of Jasper, Huntingtburg Dubois, Ferdinand and French Lick. The ratings were Superior, Excellent, Satisfactory, Fair and Needs Improvement. IFMC- Jasper has been in operation since 2000. Prior to that year, students from this area participated in the Evansville Festival. Since its founding in 1898, the parent organization NFMC has grown into one of the largest musical organizations in the world with member clubs and individuals of all ages. The NFMC is accredited by the United States Congress and is the only music organization that is a member of the United Nations.
This year’s 94 participants study under the guidance of eight regional instructors: Paula Alles (Alles Music Studio/Jasper), Beth Vance and Kim McConnell (Hometown Music/Huntingburg), Jennifer Derr (Jennifer Voice and Piano Studio/Jasper), Camille Rathfon (Poplar Cottage Music )/French Lick/, Sarah Sergesketter (SKS Music Studio/Jasper) Barb Schnarr (Barb’s Music Studio/Jasper), Sister Rose Wildeman and Sister Michelle Mohr (The Dome, St. Benedict’s Monastery, Ferdinand) and Sue Lorey (Lorey’s Music Studio, Dubois).
IFMC students have the opportunity to perform solos and ensembles of piano, vocals, and other instruments. Each participant is encouraged to prepare for their performances at the highest level of musical achievement. This group of teachers and students helps to create a more dynamic, musical and cultural environment in our community. Each performance is judged and students receive constructive feedback, ribbons, certificates and points which accumulate for trophies. The mission of IFMC District 8N is to promote study, stimulate interest in American and world music, and encourage each participant to achieve a high level of musical achievement.
Piano students could participate in events that included solo piano, hymn playing, sight reading, and American patriotic and folk song, singers entered art songs, musical theater, and singing at seen. Guitarists competed in Classic or Pick style events. . There are several levels of competition including Preschool (up to 9th birthday), Primary, Elementary, Medium & Moderately Difficult I & II, Difficult I & II, Very Difficult I & II, Musically Advanced Class I & II. In Jasper, the highest entrant this year was Musically Advanced. Some students are allowed to skip levels.
Sight-reading is made up of one-line exercises related to the performer’s piano, instrument or solo voice level. Judges apply specific rules adapted to different skill levels.
Students can also participate in the improvisation event where they play scales and chords in different keys, then improvise an accompaniment to a simple melody.
The theoretical competition for the early levels ranges from naming bass and treble clef notes to naming key signatures, including the order of sharps and flats. Students also demonstrate their knowledge of musical vocabulary words such as tempo and dynamic marks and their knowledge of music composers and orchestral instruments.
Two solos are performed for the solo piano event, one of which must be memorized. Entrants are judged on memory, accuracy, correct marks, expression marks, and mark values. The Rhythm category includes proper tempo, continuity, control, and regularity of rhythm. For piano technique, participants are scored on piano fingering, hand position, and pedal.
Voice includes breath control and diction, and their musical sense is judged on articulation, balance, dynamics, interpretation, style, intonation, phrasing and tone.