Sigma Alpha Iota hosts Middle School Festival

Shayndel Jones

Keeping music in the community is what the Sigma Alpha Iota organization is all about at Washburn. This organization is a music sorority for women which is open to all majors on campus.

Sigma Alpha Iota held their annual Middle School Ensemble Festival on Saturday, Mar. 11 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. This event was open to middle school students around Topeka and the surrounding cities to showcase their musical talents and gain feedback from Washburn students before they enter high school.

Most of the students attending this event plan to continue music classes in high school which results in participating in regional and national competitions where they receive feedback from judges.

Jessica Knieff, vice president of Sigma Alpha Iota, studies a music minor at Washburn. She has been a member of the organization for three years.

“It always amazes me to see these students come out to perform, especially if they haven’t done anything like this before,” said Knieff. “This is a great experience for personal growth, for students to realize that they have potential and they can share what they love in a welcoming environment.”

Music is constantly getting pushed aside in public schools as government officials cut budgets and cut curriculums, which is one of many reasons why Sigma Alpha Iota tries to shed light on music on campus and around the city.

“Students can gain a lot of insight on their talents and performances when attending events like the Middle School Festival,” said Knieff. “It really helps them gain confidence and hone their skills before they perform in front of high school judges.”

Throughout this year, Sigma Alpha Iota has worked with the Boys and Girls Club of Topeka by hosting an instrument ‘petting zoo’.

This event teaches young students about the different types of instruments as well as gives them the opportunity to make music together.

“The Boys and Girls Club event was so much fun,” said Knieff. “It was great to see them enjoy what they were doing.”

This organization is not strictly for music majors or minors. It is an organization for anyone who has an interest in music. Their next event will be the Sigma Alpha Iota Ball in April. This is another event that is open to everyone on and off campus.