OBU Hosts State Keyboard Festival

More than 40 middle school and high school students from across Oklahoma will gather to compete in the State Keyboard Festival at Oklahoma Baptist University on Saturday, Feb. 21. The competition will be conducted in Raley Chapel. It begins at 8:30 a.m., and will last until about 2:45, ending with a recognition ceremony of the winners in Yarborough Auditorium.

Sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, the State Keyboard Festival is a gathering of young Oklahoman pianists who will play hymns and church pieces in front of a panel of judges. Students participating already have competed at the district level. Following district competitions, students were recommended to play at the state festival.

The students will be competing in three categories, including a repertoire piece, usually a classical piece; a published hymnal arrangement; and a hymn expansion, which is a hymn with additional improvisations made by the performer.

"The purpose of the festival is to promote church music and train future church musicians," said Dr. Carol Ann Bell, associate professor of music at OBU and site coordinator and adjudicator for the festival. "To give them the opportunity to perform in this type of setting motivates them to really work at it and improve their skills and knowledge of hymn playing."

OBU provides judges, student monitors and student conductors for the event.