Annual Oktoberfest choral event takes the stage at FFHS
Choir, strings and more on display at FFHS
Posted on 10/22/2017

OktoberfestBy FFHS Fine Arts

So maybe the first image that comes to your mind when you think of Oktoberfest isn’t a stage of 200 students singing in German. But at First Flight High School, an annual tradition makes this the right note for a choral extravaganza!

Held for decades, Oktoberfest is well-known as the largest annual folk festival in the world. But five years ago, First Flight schools started their own annual “musical” Oktoberfest, a different offering that featured performances by students from First Flight Elementary, First Flight Middle and First Flight High School students. And this tradition continues.

“This multi-school event is unique,” explained John Buford, choral and strings director at First Flight High and Middle School. “The Oktoberfest theme gives us a chance to perform some serious music by German composers like Bach or Beethoven – and also during the same concert, mix in some 'oom-pah pah' by singing some fun-spirited songs too, like the have in Oktoberfest.”

David E. Oaksmith Auditorium at First Flight High School is the location for this musical treat on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Choristers from all three First Flight Schools and the high school string orchestra join Buford on stage along with Oktoberfest co-director Alison Fulcher, a new music teacher who came to Dare County Schools last December. Also on display will be tables made by Skip Saunders' carpentry students and designed by Camie Romano's art students. The tables will be auctioned off during the event.

Although this will be Fulcher’s first Oktoberfest, she is now in her 10th year of teaching. Since graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, she has taught elementary, middle and high school music, including general music, band and chorus in Vermont, Indiana, California, Colorado and North Carolina. Speaking of her travels, Fulcher is proud to have spread her wings but really excited to have landed in Dare County with her First Flight Flyers. Fulcher directs her elementary school chorus and assists Buford as co-teacher of the eighth-grade chorus.

Buford began in Dare County teaching at First Flight Elementary in 2005. In a career spanning 30 years (he started working with singers at 17), he has directed choirs of various ages from 8 to 88 in schools and churches in Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina.

“I am very pleased to see students in my choir that I first taught in kindergarten,” Buford said. “Especially when their love of singing remains strong.”

Hopelyn Kovacs, a sophomore, first sang with Buford in Oktoberfest when in elementary school: “My favorite Oktoberfest memory is probably singing songs from the Sound of Music every year,” Kovacs said. “That movie is my favorite – it makes me feel like a child again, even thought I am 15.”

“Oktoberfest is something that not a lot of people, I think, would expect,” she added. “It’s different music. And the (German) language is different than what most people would expect.”

And for Kovacs, the concert has grown along with her: “Every year the music gets more challenging, and I really enjoy learning the more challenging music.”

So keep the lederhosen at the cleaners and save the trip to Munich for another day – the hills (or rather sand dunes) are alive with the sound of music at First Flight High School’s David E. Oaksmith Auditorium on Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. The free concert is a true celebration of beautiful and fun-spirited song. The choral-fest is certain to elevate your spirits.