One of the biggest annual events for Montana high school musicians won't be moving forward this year - the all-state band, choir, and orchestra music festival has officially been cancelled.

I was never much of a music kid (I picked up the trumpet in fifth grade so I could learn how to play the Star Wars theme, and then as soon as I learned it, I was pretty much done), but I was friends with a lot of them, so I know how much these kind of events can mean to them. Different students from all over the state are chosen from their high schools, the absolute best of the best, to perform together. It's a great way to meet new people and to work with other musicians - the festival usually brings together over 100 schools across the state of Montana.

Of course, the cancellation makes sense - in the age of COVID-19, it's difficult to plan for any event, especially one that forces a lot of people to travel and then get together in a big room. It's disappointing for the students who've worked so hard to get to this point, but it is in the interest of their safety and their families'.

Local music director Ryan Davis says he's exploring the idea of doing a smaller, county-wide festival instead, just to give the students something new to work towards. Do you think this is a better idea?

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