Choral Competitions Festival
When you’re visiting Pigeon Forge on a weekend in April 2016 and you hear a group of teenagers spontaneously burst into song, don’t worry. You haven’t been magically transported to the set of a Broadway musical. Chances are that group of musically talented teens are visiting the area as part of Fiestaval, a month long series of competitions for middle and high school choral and instrumental groups. Festiaval dates are April 8-9, April 15-16, April 22-23 and April 29-30.
Each weekend throughout the month of April, the Country Tonite Theatre will be the home of a rigorous competition of voices and instruments from all over the nation. This 1500 seat venue will see scores of songs belted out from immensely talented and carefully rehearsed school choral groups. The seats will resound with tune after tune played by dedicated and gifted kids. The performances, though, aren’t strictly for aesthetic purposes. Each group will be trying its best to out-sing and out-play every other one.
The hours and hours of rehearsals that these groups put in ultimately come down to the competitions. School groups will compete in several categories, with Middle and High School competing separately. Performances include Jazz Choir, Show Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, and Parade. Awards will be given in seven vocal and five instrumental categories. A special Grand Champion award will be given for the top school in the vocal category and in the instrumental.
With competition points on the line, it’s important that the Fiestaval be carefully and fairly adjudicated. That’s why the shows are judged by methodically chosen and imminently qualified people. Band and choral directors from across the country and from all levels of academic life participate. Even Broadway performers enjoy judging the competition.
It’s not all hardcore competition, though. Fiestaval participants will get a chance to relax from their show-time jitters when they visit Dollywood for the day. And what better place for crowds of musically inclined teens to spend some time? Dollywood has truly become the music center of the region, hosting myriad on-going festivals of music from world to country. Perhaps a coveted job as a performer at Dollywood will be on the list of aspirations for some of the Fiestaval competitors.