Fourth annual Music Fest held at Medea Creek

$10,000 raised for Oak Park Instrumental Music Association

Amanda Lurey/Talon
Choir students perform Disney-inspired music from “Lilo and Stitch."

Musicians and singers from Oak Park High School and Medea Creek Middle School joined together for the fourth annual Oakchella.

The Oak Park Music Festival, better known as Oakchella, raised over $10,000 for the Oak Park Instrumental Music Association on Sunday April 7.

Shary Trux, president of the OPIMA board, wrote to the Talon that just four years ago OPIMA, brand new, was striving to create a fundraiser to meet three goals: “1) raise money for a new band program, 2) provide an opportunity to show the Oak Park Community the results of the district’s decision to create an instrumental music program that extended through the 12th grade [and] 3) provide an opportunity for the districts’ musicians to perform in front of a large audience.”

According to Trux, the money raised at Music Fest goes into OPIMA’s general budget “for things like music copyrights, instrumental coaching, instrument repairs, purchasing the kind of expensive instrument that we want for our music ensembles but that parents can’t really buy or rent –– like the large kettle drums, the baritone horns, the tubas, the vibraphones. It pays for band room supplies like reeds and mouthpieces. It pays for entrance fees and transportation to festival competitions.”

At Music Fest, there were two stages in use: the amphitheater and the field. Choir students were in the amphitheater and instrumental ensembles were on the field.

There were many booths and activities there besides the performances. There was one with a sugar dispenser and another with face paint. There were two food trucks — Kona Ice and Epic Tacos — a bake sale, a game area from the OPHS Associative Student Body and more.

While senior and OPHS choir leadership member Savannah Owens acknowledged the irony of singing “Burning Love” in the burning heat, her favorite performance of the afternoon was the “Grease” medley. She explained that choir leadership helped make and put up flyers and select the soloists that performed at Oakchella.

Owens enjoyed working with sixth graders.

“They’re so much younger, and they think so differently,” Owens said. “It’s fun to hear their perspective, and they have cute, little voices.”

Sixth-grader Christina Cook said Music Fest is “very fun because you get to experience other voices.”

OPHS choir member and freshman Dominic Land said his favorite performance of the day was when he sang “Travel Song” with sophomore Eddie Park.

“We have a lot of fun doing it, and it’s fun to mess around with each other,” Land said. “Everyone’s great. It’s like we’re all coming together to listen to some great music.”

Sophomore Charlotte Robertson, ASB sophomore class secretary, mentioned that ASB wanted to bring games since “the music festival is really cool and we want everyone to appreciate that.”

“We wanted to create a fun space to make it more inclusive and entertaining for people of all ages,” Robertson said.

MCMS eighth grader and percussionist Alamea Samples said that she liked working with the OPHS band.

“I like it because you get more experience knowing them, especially if you want to do band next year,” Samples said.

Another MCMS eighth grader and percussionist, Faith Bursin, said that working with high schoolers was “intimidating” and that her favorite part of the event was “when I actually played the right notes.”

Freshman Hannah Glazer participated in the event all three years at MCMS and said, “I think it’s a lot more fun this year because I get to sing a lot more.” Her favorite part of Oakchella was the finale that included both high school and middle school ensembles “because then we all get to come together.”

Member of the Instrumental Music Council executive board and clarinet player, senior Morgan Cole, wrote to the Talon that “the turnout was incredible. This was by far our best year yet.”

“I love being a part of the music festival. It first began when I was a freshman, and being able to watch it grow and improve has been so incredible,” Cole wrote. “I’m so proud of everyone and what we’ve managed to achieve, and all for the sake of sharing the joy of music. I know, super cheesy, but it’s true. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”