By Jim Hagerty
DAVIS JUNCTION, Ill.—Davis Junction Community Park in Davis Junction was rich with the sound of music Saturday, Sept. 12. While each athletic field was full of youth softball, soccer and flag football players, bands jammed while people strolled through the park and a special festival area.
Unlike events like On The Waterfront, Festa Italiana and Taste of Rockford, which slate established acts from various locations, the Davis Junction Music Fest’s featured bands are still relatively unknown—for good reason. Each act, like the teams competing in nearby fields, were composed of area youth and young adults.
While not a big name on hand, stellar musicianship was certainly center stage. According to festival organizer Tracy Haley, the young musicians are every bit as talented as many of their more well-known counterparts. They just lack the venues and opportunities to showcase their chops.
“We are trying to showcase all the local talent that our schools have to offer,” Haley said. “These kids have no place to play because they are underage and can’t play in clubs.”
Performers hailed from Stillman Valley, Oregon, Sycamore and Rockford schools. Among the acts, representing an array of genres, were Britches and Hose, Brit and Dani, Wave System and Fighting for the Fallen. A young cellist also played Beatles songs while a group, age 6 to 16, performed classical pieces.
Festival proceeds go to the music and art programs of the Meridian Community Unit School District 223 (CUSD 223).
“Without arts in the schools,” Haley said, “these kids may never have picked up an instrument (and) we have many talented young people.”
From the September 16-22, 2009 issue