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All-County Music Festivals Celebrate 50 Years

North Area Schools Music Festival

When student musicians, music educators and the audience attend the Central Area Regional Music Festival March 22nd, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Bullitt Central High School, they will make history.

This will mark the 50th anniversary of the first All-County Music Festival in Bullitt County

The first All County music concert (that is what it was called at the time) was held in May of 1968 in the then ‘new’ gymnasium at Shepherdsville High School.

Commemorating such an event is important to music educators and music education in Bullitt County, and it all started when one person asked a simple question: “What if…?”

In 1968 when Shepherdsville High School was the only facility with a band and chorus, Mr. Joe Herde, Mrs. Joyce Trammell and Miss Debby Murrell were the music teachers in the county.

“All elementary schools contained grades 1-8,” Murrell recalled. “The high schools served students from grade 9-12. Shepherdsville High School was the only one of the three county high schools with a band AND choral program. The elementary schools offered band and chorus.”

In the fall of 1967 Miss Murrell approached her colleagues with a question: “What if…?”  What if all of the elementary schools met in a central location and performed a joint concert along with the performances by the high school band and chorus?

The rest, as they say, is history; the All County Music Festival tradition was born.

The following schools participated in the first three All-County Music Festivals: Shepherdsville High School Band and Chorus under the Direction of Mr. Joe Herde; Brooks, Cedar Grove, Nichols, Overdale and Roby choral groups were directed by Mrs. Joyce Trammell; and bands from Brooks, Cedar Grove, Nichols, Overdale and Roby were directed by Miss Deborah ‘Debby’ Murrell.

Half a century later, the festival (and the value of music education) has grown to such an extent that it requires three separate nights to highlight the talents of nearly 2,000 singers and instrumentalists.

The first of the 50th anniversary concerts was hosted by North Bullitt High School on November 20th 2017. The next is scheduled for Bullitt East on March 15th at 7:00 p.m. followed by the official 50th anniversary celebration concert on March 22nd at 7:00 p.m. at Bullitt Central.

Hebron Middle School Band and Chorale Director Wendy Davidson urged the public to support the hard work and dedication of the student musicians.

“We hope that many choose to attend the upcoming celebration concerts to enjoy the music and to play a small part in the continuation of Bullitt County’s rich musical heritage,” she said. “In fact, you may be privileged enough to sit next to one of the performing members from the first concerts, as many band and choir alumni are planning to attend.”

Murrell asked that as the audience listen, “Know that there are educators and community members sitting in the gymnasium asking the next ‘What if.’ “What if…” we invested in the nearly 2,000 student musicians in Bullitt County and provided them with the resources, education, and state of the art facilities that will carry music education in Bullitt County through the next 50 years and beyond? “What if…” Here’s to the music!”

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Bullitt County Public Schools
1040 Highway 44 East
Shepherdsville, KY 40165