Last weekend students from across the conference gathered at Sunnydale Academy for the 37th annual Iowa-Missouri Conference Music Festival.

This year’s theme was “Sharing the Joy of Jesus.” In attendance were 139 students from 13 conference schools, eight home school students and two students from George Stone Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska. Their voices blended in a mass choir under the direction of Dana Villarroel, music director at Sunnydale Academy. They performed numerous songs from variety of genres.

A combination of elementary and academy students, parents and teachers formed the festival band under the direction of Dr. Kurt Miyashiro and assistance of Dr. Ricky Little, both professors of music at Union College.

Also assisting with the band were three music majors from Union College: Alex Armstrong, Michael Peters and Alexis Reid.

Daniel Ikpeama, interim music director at Sunnydale Academy, gave assistance in all areas, helping to make the event a success.

The weekend speaker was Pastor Jean-Marcel Clouzet, pastor of the Wichita South Church in Wichita, Kansas. His Sabbath sermon title was “The Power Required to Reach a Dying World.”

The Sabbath afternoon individual school performances and evening Festival Concert were both well attended and supported by family members, friends, Sunnydale staff and students and members of the community. The Festival Concert was live streamed and you can rewatch it here.

This event is the highlight of our school year. It’s amazing to witness these students come together to create such beautiful music with only a day and half of practice together. This is only possible because of the diligence with which the students practiced in their schools and at home, as well as the dedication of their parents and teachers in helping them prepare for this event.

Lifelong friendships are formed and sustained as these students see each other at camp, outdoor school, camp meeting, Pathfinders and other events especially designed for the youth of the Iowa-Missouri Conference. I am thankful for the parents and our constituents who support Adventist Education in our conference, an education that makes a difference in the lives of our children for eternity.