It happens the last full weekend of February every year, or at least it has since 2006.
Anywhere from 12 to 24 youth choirs gather from across Texas – sometimes from as far removed as California, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi – to combine into a mass of 200 to 400 voices for a weekend of fun, inspirational singing. This year’s 10th Annual Festival includes only Texas choirs for some reason, and there are 267 singers from 14 choirs. Repertoire is 9 anthems from memory, a Treble Choir, a Men’s Choir, and an Honor Choir, all accompanied by 50 members of the Baylor Symphony Orchestra.
A special feature this year – and THIS is going to be terrific – is the addition of liturgical dancers from the Louisiana Dance Theatre in Shreveport, directed by my our longtime friend, Carol Anglin. Carol, a New York trained dancer, is an educator par excellence. When she brings a group of dancers to perform for an event, you can rest assured that the group will be prepared, inspired, and as professional as any group you could pull in from New York, Chicago, or L.A. These students, ages 10-18, will take the stage by storm … sometimes by quiet, slow storm. The mass choir has already been forewarned. As you’re singing the four anthems with orchestra which will also be danced, you MUST concentrate on what you’re doing musically, or otherwise you will be mesmerized by what you see. In fact, you may forget to sing!
Yes, the Baylor Festival always provides something special for YouthCUE students to experience and remember. Perhaps that’s why virtually every group keeps returning, if not ever year, then perhaps ever other or every third year. In the ten years of the Festival, literally thousands of students have experienced what this unique gathering has to offer!
Thanks to the 31 directors who regularly (if not every year) participate in the Baylor Festival. You are the heroes of this event: preparing your students, teaching them their music, getting them registered, traveling with them, and building those all-important relationship throughout the year. We are grateful to you and the amazing work you do week in and week out!
Looking forward to a great weekend here in Waco, TX!
And by the way: More annual YouthCUE Festivals on university campuses are being planned beginning in 2016 and 2017. We need to know if you and your regional colleagues would like to be a part of such an even on an annual basis? The Baylor directors are doing a good job of building their choirs with the Baylor Festival as a midyear “pickup.” It seems to work like a charm, gives the directors some added repertoire for upcoming summer tour, and provides inspiration for the middle of the choir year.