SDA Music Festivals Overview and Timeline



The first ongoing SDA music festival is held in the Northern Union (now part of the Mid-America Union) at Maplewood Academy. It was planned and conducted by Adrian R. M. Lauritzen. His wife, Evelyn Sorensen, who had experienced festivals when she attended public school in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, provided the "inspiration" for the festival.


The Lake Union (in the Midwest) establishes an ongoing music festival in 1942. The festival includes both band and choir and is hosted by the academies on a rotating basis for many years. After it stops, because of financial problems, it is restarted in 1982 as the Andrews University Music Festival, hosted by AU and funded in part by the university, the Lake Union and a fee paid by the students. It alternates between choir/orchestra and band and is complemented by numerous smaller festivals in the Lake Union.


Atlantic Union College establishes the first ongoing college-sponsored music festival. Six academy choirs, along with trios, quartettes, and other smaller vocal groups, come to the campus to join with the college choir in presenting a full weekend of programs by the mass choir and the college's band, orchestra, and choir.


Walla Walla College starts a music festival for band and choir that involves over 240 students. While the school paper hails it as the beginning of an annual event, it ends after three years. In 1964, Lloyd Leno conducts the first of what will be a continuing annual series of festivals that alternate between the band and choir/orchestra. There are numerous other smaller festivals throughout the Northwest.


The Central and Northern Unions establish festivals. When Union College begins hosting them later that decade, they are renamed "clinics" to satisfy educational leaders who want to guarantee that they are real learning experiences. UC continues to host what is now known as the Mid-America Conference Music Festival, which alternates between band and choir. There are numerous other smaller festivals throughout the Midwest.


Pacific Union College schedules its first festival. It is the only festival in California that has continued without break since it started. The Southern California and Southeastern conferences, in partnership with La Sierra University, currently sponsor an ongoing festival that, like the one at PUC, alternates between band and choir. PUC also has a keyboard festival every year. There are numerous smaller festivals in California.


Lyle Hamel establishes the Florida Conference music festival for elementary and junior high bands and choirs, hosted by Forest Lake Academy (See A Pioneering Venture). It has continued without break to the present.


The Southern Union establishes a multi-faceted festival that continues until 1994, when Southern Adventist University begins to host and coordinate the event. It now alternates between band/orchestra and choir for four years and features keyboard and hand bells every fifth year.