Expanded Stately Oaks Festival Welcomes Nearly 400 K-12 Music Students

By Cullen Sadler

February 07, 2024

BATON ROUGE, La. – The 2024 edition of the LSU Stately Oaks Music Festival – a multi-day immersive camp for middle and high school musicians hosted on the LSU campus – set a new attendance record, with nearly 400 students participating in large ensembles, group masterclasses, and interactive rehearsals with LSU School of Music students, faculty, and guest artists.

Held February 1 – 3, this year's festival expanded to include string instrumentalists (violin, viola, cello, and string bass) for this first time, arranged into two orchestral ensembles led by David Saccardi, Assistant Professor of Music Education, and Scott Terrell, Virginia Martin Howard Director of Orchestral Studies. Additionally, this year's robust attendance supported three full wind bands, led by Lawrence Williams, a second-year graduate conducting student, and guest artists James Thompson and Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant. World-renowned composer Steven Bryant worked directly with several groups to prepare some of his most recognizable works, including DuskThe Machine Awakes, and Bloom.

musicians on stage

Students in the 2024 Stately Oaks Middle School Orchestra rehearse in the LSU School of Music Recital Hall on February 2, 2024.

"David and I were thrilled to join forces with the Department of Bands to present an expanded Stately Oaks Music Festival," said Terrell. "Adding middle and high school orchestras to this renowned event will serve as a tremendous boost to the continued success and growth of Louisiana’s orchestral programs, and one that we hope students will strive to be a part of every year."

Faculty and current students in the LSU School of Music played an active role in the festival's intensive schedule, from giving masterclasses and demonstrations to chaperoning campers between rehearsals and sightseeing activities. Highlights included the Collage Concert – an exhibition performance by the Tiger Marching Band and current LSU School of Music ensembles – and a guided tour of Tiger Stadium and LSU Football facilities. The festival culminated in a series of finale concerts on Saturday, February 3, where participants performed the music they learned for family members and friends.

musicians in rehearsal

Second-year LSU graduate conducting student Lawrence Williams leads Stately Oaks participants in rehearsal at the Tiger Band Hall on February 2, 2024.

“This year’s Stately Oaks Music Festival was a resounding success,” said Eric Lau, Dean of the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts. “We were thrilled to welcome hundreds of young musicians into our halls, united in an exciting collaborative environment and mentored by current students, faculty, and renowned guests. Events such as Stately Oaks are core to our commitment to fostering a new generation of artistic performers and educators.”