Elementary students from all over Iowa-Missouri came together at Sunnydale Academy last weekend for the 38th annual Music Festival, sponsored by the Iowa-Missouri Conference education department.

This year’s theme was “A Journey of Trials and Triumphs” and brought together 149 students from 12 conference schools, six homeschoolers and three students from George Stone Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Under the direction of Dr. Ricky Little, professor of music at Union College, students blended their voices in a 140-member mass choir and performed a variety of songs from various genres. A combination of elementary and academy students formed the festival band under the direction of Dr. Kurt Miyashiro, another professor of music at Union College. Also assisting with the band and choir were five students from Union College: Alex Armstrong, Alex Carlson, Jacqueline Flores, Christianna Nesmith and Danyelle Nesmith. The weekend speaker for the event was Robert Wagley, executive secretary for the conference. His Sabbath sermon title was “Kingdom Math – Least = Much.”

The Sabbath afternoon individual school performances and the Festival Concert that followed were both well-attended and supported by family members, friends, Sunnydale staff and students and members of the community. The concert was live streamed online and can be viewed again below.

“This event is the highlight of our school year,” shared Dr. Joseph R. Allison, education superintendent for the conference. “It is such an amazing thing to see students, who have worked on their music at their individual schools or homes, come together to create such wonderful music with only 24 hours of practice.”

Music Fest is only possible because of dedicated parents and teachers who help prepare the students for this event, and the positive effects may be seen long after everyone has gone home. Lifelong friendships are started and enhanced as students see each other at summer camp, outdoor school, camp meeting, Pathfinder and other youth events. “We are thankful for the parents and our constituents who support Adventist Education in our conference,” said Allison. “It’s an education that makes an eternal difference in the lives of our children.”