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Choir Ninja, with Ryan Guth

Jan 19, 2018

It’s easy to fall into a rut. It can happen with the music we select, our teaching methods, and even the festivals we attend. But there are lots of opportunities for a festival experience that can reward and motivate your singers, while also giving them a valuable performance experience. Jess McDowell, from Winter Park Ski - Music festival, talks about what to look for in a festival, and what you can do to make sure you have a great experience no matter where you go.


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Highlight to Tweet: “Read. Your. Information. Packet. Don’t scan it; read it.” - Jess McDowell

Show Notes:

  • Three things to look for in a great festival:
    • Great performance space
    • Fun recreational activity
    • Fantastic closing/Awards ceremony
  • Come early and stay late
    • Take the opportunity to watch other groups perform
    • Learn good concert watching etiquette (you can be the audience instead of the performers!)
    • Arriving early for recreation keeps the festival on schedule
    • It also lets you interact with the other festival participants.
  • No matter where you go, there’s one thing you can do to have a great festival experience: read your information packet! Your festival organizers already know the questions you are likely to ask, and they have probably already provided all the information you need. But if you can’t find it, ask!


Jess McDowell can bake! Cookies, cakes, breads: everything that your personal trainer wants you to stay away from. As if that weren’t skill enough, Jess’ has spent the past 15 years working with music ensembles from all over the nation to bring them to an amazing festival in gorgeous Winter Park, Colorado. Jess is the festival coordinator for Winter Park Ski - Music Festival. Being a complete music nerd, and also an avid skier, Jess gets to combine his love of great performances on stage as well as his love of the beautiful state of Colorado. The only thing that gives Jess more pleasure than baking and organizing group travel is being head “cat herder” and “magic maker” for the acclaimed Turtle Creek Chorale.

Resources/links Mentioned:

Sponsored by:

Sight Reading Factory (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for 10 free student accounts!)

My Music Folders (Use promo code “NINJA” at checkout for “last column” or best pricing - usually reserved for bulk purchases only!)