High School’s Festival of Sound 2018 begins Dec. 7

WHEELING — It’s that time of year when the students of Wheeling Park High School are preparing for the 24th anniversary performances of the Festival of Sound concert extravaganza.

This much-anticipated holiday event opens at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 with additional performances at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and, concluding at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 in the J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center on the campus of Wheeling Park High School.

Tickets for the performances are now being sold online at http://wphswv.booktix.com/ and also in the main offices of Wheeling Park High School and Ohio County Schools, National Road in Elm Grove. Online ticket sales will incur a small convenience fee. In-person ticket sales are available from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on school days through Dec. 7 while online ticket sales will continue (if available) up until each showtime. Seating for each show is limited and is general admission. The availability of tickets for purchase at the door cannot be guaranteed.

Doors will open one hour before each show. There is handicap-accessible seating available as well as handicap-accessible parking with drop-off in front of the center. Parking for the general public may overflow to the school’s rear parking lot where patrons will have the option to walk through the building or ride a shuttle bus around to the front entrance.

The Festival of Sound boasts a variety of the very best holiday music coming from TV, Broadway, jazz, sacred and secular traditions. There will be something for every member of the family to enjoy.

The Music Department of Wheeling Park High School is preparing Festival of Sound for the public that has supported its performances for the past 23 years and the event continues to be as popular as ever! What is the reason for over two decades of success? It’s simple: the students! These very talented teens represent a collaborative nature of learning that remains a constant at Wheeling Park High School. Many of the concert performers are also active in competitive sports, theater, speech and debate, student government, clubs, career/technical studies, and a wide variety of their own music ensembles outside the school day. This environment at Wheeling Park isn’t just in the music department but incorporates teachers, coaches, office staff and administration throughout the school. It’s an approach that is even older than the Festival of Sound, itself.

“We have something special here that gets its start in the earlier grades. Our middle schools are the grounds for developing student leadership and collaboration. At the high school level, it’s all about supporting the students in that endeavor,” said David Alfred, director of bands. “We also cannot overlook the importance of a good music education particularly in the primary grades. That is what ensures success years down the road. In this regard, Festival of Sound really is a celebration of music education throughout all of Ohio County Schools.”

According to choir director Joyce Jingle, “When Festival of Sound preparation begins you can feel the intensity and excitement within the walls of the WPHS Music Department. This is the favorite performance of the year for most students. You can tell how invested they are and that they realize they are a part of a long-standing tradition at Wheeling Park High School. Many of the students have been attending the Festival of Sound for several years!”

Senior Emily Loh, who is a member of band, strings and choir, states, “I really enjoy making great music with the talented musicians at Wheeling Park!”

Senior Kaylin Templeton adds, “I like how the whole music department works together to make the magic happen.”

Senior Jordan Sparks includes, “Who doesn’t love Christmas music! I like to see all the students come together to celebrate Christmas with music.”

Assistant Choir Director Christie Curley thinks that some of the fun of FoS will be just watching students transition from one ensemble to another as the performance progresses. “We literally have students in four or 5 different performance groups. That’s a tremendous level of commitment and musicianship!”

Ensembles performing during the 2018 Festival of Sound include the Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, Percussion Ensemble and Steel Drum Band. The Red and Blue Orchestras along with the Concert Choir, Young Patriots, Voices of Freedom, Men’s and Women’s Ensembles will also appear during the show. Highlights of the performance are bound to include those selections that incorporate all 350 musicians in what is called the Patriot Ensemble. It is a sight to behold and a joy to hear. In yet another collaborative endeavor, the award-winning Speech Team members serve as masters of ceremony.

The collaborative nature of these music students is the focus of the Festival of Sound shows. Orchestra Director Ben Podolski states, “We teach so much more than music and the students teach us as well,” and it shows since FoS seems to get better each year if that’s even possible!

It’s important to note that the event doesn’t come off without administrative support and a host of parent and alumni volunteers handing out programs, supervising backstage, coordinating ticket sales, and ushering. “There is just no way that we could do a professional level concert like this without all of the efforts our administrators and volunteers are putting in behind the scenes,” explains Curley.

Ohio County School Superintendent Dr. Kimberley S. Miller states that, “Festival of Sound is a magnificent event, and it is a source of pride for Wheeling Park High School and Ohio County Schools!”

While the Festival of Sound is over twenty years old, its home is relatively new. The show is housed in the J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center, a state-of-the-art, 1200-seat performance theater on the campus of Wheeling Park High School; the center opened in 2012. The venue features dress-circle seating, a mezzanine and two galleries. An elevator is available as well as restroom facilities on every floor.

Music Directors of the Festival of Sound are David Alfred, Seth Bell, Christie Curley, Joyce Jingle and Benjamin Podolski.

For more information call Wheeling Park High School at 304-243-0400.