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Middle School Ensembles Take Top Awards at Music Festival


Clockwise from top left: Students display prizes they won at Busch Gardens following the competition; strings student Kaia Petty ’29 smiles as she holds up the trophy for her ensemble; Kelly, Parunak and Strebendt display their trophies.

On Friday, May 3, members of the Middle School Fine Arts ensembles — strings, band and choir — traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia, for the annual Music in the Parks competition at Busch Gardens.

The festival takes place at theme parks across the country, drawing student ensembles from all over the U.S. and Canada to share their music and learn from experienced teachers who provide feedback and encouragement. Continuing Ravenscroft’s long tradition of excellence in the performing arts, all three Ravenscroft ensembles earned outstanding scores in their respective categories:

  • Sixth-Grade and Middle School Strings won a first-place rating of “superior” and took first place overall among the orchestras.

  • Sixth-Grade and Middle School Band achieved a rating of “excellent” and finished with the third-highest score across all of the bands that performed throughout the day. 

  • Sixth-Grade and Middle School Choir received first place with a “superior” rating and were the highest-scoring Middle School choir.

After the performances, students were able to spend some time at the Busch Gardens theme park, enjoying the rides and games with friends in celebration of their hard work.

Director of Strings Pamela Kelly said, “Coming home with trophies and having had a fun time in the park are certainly wonderful results of this event. However, I want to emphasize the aesthetic values of the trip, such as the experience of traveling successfully with such a large group and performing alongside other ensembles from other states and schools, which will positively impact each student’s growth and development for years to come.”  

“I was exceptionally proud of the students’ preparedness and adaptability in a new performance environment,” Co-Director of Bands Matt Parunak added. “We are glad to have this performance opportunity for the students and hope they enjoyed their time performing and in the park.”

“Our students did so well at the competition. Of the 12 middle school and high school choirs that competed that day, we were the second-highest-scoring choir, only 0.5 points lower than the highest-scoring high school choir!” Choir Director Rob Strebendt said. “I am very proud of our students!”

Congratulations to these Ravens!