The CNMI once again dominated the weeklong Tumon Bay Music Festival in Guam, with the Marianas High School Glee Club being hailed as the festival's overall champion. This marks two years in a row for the MHS Glee Club to take home the prestigious Sweepstakes Trophy.
The good news was relayed to Saipan Tribune yesterday by MHS faculty adviser and National Forensic League chair Harold Easton, after the formal announcement by the festival's founder, Maximo Ronquillo Jr.
“The faculty of the 2013 Tumon Bay Music Festival is proud to announce the selection of the Marianas High School Glee Club-Rhythm 'N Harmony as the Command Performance group for the 2013 Tumon Bay Music Festival,” states the festival's announcement, commending the club's musical director Paul Dujua for a job well done.
As festival champion, the club's Rhythm 'N Harmony will perform in a traditional “Command Performance” on Saturday night at the Micronesia Mall. Awarding rites for the various categories and divisions will follow this performance. The big winner is slated to give a 25-minute performance.
This year is the Glee Club's second time at the festival. The group emerged the most outstanding in the choral competition category for high school, besting other contenders who were mostly from Guam.
Easton said the new honor only demonstrates and speaks well of the amazing talents of the group and the success of the school's music program, which continues to draw the interest of students. Winning the prestigious competition is also a big success for MHS, the Public School System, and the CNMI as a whole, he added.
Easton said that MHS sent 19 students to the festival, including soloists.
Also joining the Guam festival this year are the popular Saipan Southern High School Manta Ray Band and the Koblerville Elementary School's Umang Glee Club.
The MHS Glee Club was formed in November 2010 and later competed in the 2011 Thespian Festival at the University of Lincoln-Nebraska.
Manta Ray Band bags gold, performs for GuamGov
According to Manta Ray Band musical director Will DeWitt, the band captured the gold award once again in the high school band division and will be performing at the awards ceremony on March 9 as the “Showcase Ensemble.”
“The judges and audience had very high praise for our students and they delivered a jaw-dropping performance. This is their fourth straight victory in the high school band division dating back to 2008!” said DeWitt, who also congratulated fellow CNMI musicians from MHS for winning the Sweepstakes Trophy.
“Though we are a bit disappointed in not winning the Sweepstakes award this year, we hope that our PSS leadership will reward the efforts of our students and music educators by further expanding the opportunity to learn music at all public schools,” said DeWitt.
The Manta Ray Band has been the festival's champion three times. The last time it bagged the honor was in 2011. The group skipped the event in 2012 to prepare for their London Olympics performance.
The Manta Ray Band also played for Guam Gov. Eddie B. Calvo on Tuesday at Tumon's beach amphitheater.
This week, the band is collaborating with musicians around the region for the Tumon Bay International Wind Orchestra and the All Island HS Honor Band. All of its members were selected to participate in these two ensembles.