Pacific University Music in May, one of the longest-running high school music festivals in the U.S., celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Some 34,000 students have participated since its inception in 1948. Former music Professor Richard Greenfield founded the festival to encourage the development of string music in public schools. Band and choir were added at the suggestion of high school music directors.
The festival, which takes place May 24-26 this year, has attracted many distinguished guest conductors, including the late Carmen Dragon — whose hand-written notes on the string parts for “America the Beautiful” are still used in the final concert. In honor of the festival’s 70th anniversary, this year’s conductors are acclaimed Pacific faculty members Michael Burch-Pesses, Dijana Ihas and Scott Tuomi.