In April, exactly 100 students in grades 5-8 came from across the Iowa-Missouri Conference to Sunnydale Adventist Academy for the Iowa-Missouri Music Festival. The theme this year was On Eagle’s Wings and hearts were lifted high as the families and school communities gathered together to see the children use their talents to sing and play praises to the Lord.
The choral guest clinician, Lawrence Galera, came to us from Collegedale Academy and spent much time not only practicing the songs but also helping our students to understand more about music theory and choral practices. Joseph Choi, the music director at Sunnydale Academy, conducted the band and gave many of our students their first experience playing in a band.
Students participated in this event in other ways as well. The conference Education Department holds an art contest prior to the event that allows students to express the theme artistically. This year, Cheyenne Small from Sedalia Seventh-day Adventist School drew the cover art for the program cover and Michaela Lawrence from Hillcrest Seventh-day Adventist School in St. Louis, Missouri, created the design for the T-shirts.
During the intermission of the concert, conference education superintendent, Melissa Morris, presented pins of service to teachers who reached milestone anniversaries. Kori Cook from Hillcrest School in St. Louis received her 10-year pin. Valerie Haveman from College Park Christian Academy received her 15-year pin and Sandra Blackburn was presented with a pin for 35 years of service.
The Music Festival concluded with a special rendition of On Eagle’s Wings in which the choir and band played together. After the dismissal, students celebrated new friendships by signing their names on their friend’s shirts as a keepsake of this special event.
The Iowa-Missouri Conference is grateful for the support of teachers, chaperones who helped to make this event possible, and to Sunnydale Academy administration and staff for opening their doors to our elementary students.
Melissa Morris is education superintendent for the Iowa-Missouri Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.