The Iowa-Missouri Conference Music Festival brought together 86 elementary-aged students from nine conference elementary schools on May 5-7 at Sunnydale Adventist Academy. There were 67 students in choir and 19 students in band.

Students practiced Thursday and Friday. On Sabbath, festival participants performed four songs during the church service. An afternoon concert included 10 songs evenly split between band and choir. The final two songs of the concert featured both band and choir and earned a standing ovation from the estimated 200 attendees.

Following the concert’s conclusion, students signed each other’s T-shirts. Each year, the T-shirts for Music Festival feature artwork submitted by students and a student-submitted Bible text that follows the theme. This year’s theme was “iWitness.” The winning art was designed by Bryan, a student at Sedalia Adventist School. The selected Bible text was 2 Peter 1:16, submitted by Cecile, a student at Andrews Christian Academy.

The choir clinician, Leandro Bizama, is currently the associate pastor of worship and evangelism for Campion Academy Seventh-day Adventist Church, and previously worked as a music and Bible teacher at several institutions.

Bizama prayed with students and discussed service and witnessing. He said he selected music not only because of how it sounded, but for the spiritual message behind the songs.

“During the rehearsals—the many hours that we rehearse for a music festival—we talk about why those songs were chosen, we talk about what the songs say and what it means for the singers,” Bizama said.

The band clinician was Joseph E. Choi, music director at SAA. Choi has held various conducting positions in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to leading the Music Festival band, Choi helped coordinate the entire event.

“Music Festival wouldn’t have been as successful as it was without having Mr. Choi there to figure out the logistics of the practices and the final performance,” said Joseph Allison, education superintendent.