May 9, 2016     Jon Linker

Rhythms International Music Festivals: All About Education


Rhythms International Festivals are about music education first and foremost, not competition. At most competitions you do not know who you are competing against (high or low). Many groups choose Rhythms because they really want to find out how good their ensemble is from the clinicians.

Rhythms offers one full hour on stage, so not only do you get to perform for the judges, you then receive a master class and critique from them directly on stage following your performance. Though they are very honest and direct, they will educate and motivate your students during the remaining time.

Orchestra performing on stage in front of adjudicators

Because it’s a festival and not a competition, there is no limit as to what type or level of group participates since no two groups are compared to each other. As the director of your ensemble, you may set the bar as high or as low as you wish depending on your group. There is no set repertoire at a Rhythms Festival so you are free to choose whatever you feel is best for your particular group.

When it comes time to perform at the festival, it is now up to your ensemble to meet your standards. They will have to earn their rating from the judges—who are very hard to convince! Musicality, stage appearance, attitude, and responsiveness are some of the key elements the judges are seeking.

Being a festival, everyone is a winner in that they are all entitled to receive an honest and thoughtful clinic accompanied by the recorded and written comments and suggestions of our judges. Every ensemble receives an elegant participation awards plaque, and every school gets a flag of the destination along with a letter from the mayor thanking them for coming.

Fantastic Awards Banquet

One of the many highlights of a Rhythms International Festival is the banquet dinner, a semi-formal awards dinner and dance event where students can dress up and feel valued.

The evening begins with a pre-banquet “Coke-tail” party, a great way to break the ice between groups and have musicians mix & mingle.

Every Rhythms banquet also features a great live band to perform during dinner. Each band comes with a local flair & theme. For instance, Montreal features Jazz, Cleveland features Rock and Roll, Chicago features Blues, and so on. Students are invited to dance and even perform with the band. That’s right! All of the bands are interactive and more than happy to have students join them on stage and perform with them live!

Following dinner will be an awards presentation where each director and school will receive a custom Rhythms plaque, an envelope containing written/vocal comments of their performance, a flag of the festival destination, and a rating plaque. Once the award ceremony is completed, lights are turned down and a local D.J. takes over so your musicians can dance the night away.  

Learn more about participating in a Rhythms Festival!

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