The grassy setting of Veritas Prep’s campus – with its tall trees and view of Camelback Mountain – provided the ideal venue for the school’s annual Music Festival in April.
Accomplished and emerging artists provided an afternoon of rhythm and song as the audience lounged on the grass, soaking up the music and the beautiful spring weather. The headliner was Nate Nathan and the Mac Daddy-O’s, a 12-piece band that belted out pop tunes.
“Our goal was to showcase our talent, bring the community together, and finish the year with a fun celebration,” Stephanie Beebe, lead committee chair, said.
Drawing upon her multi-tasking skills, Beebe and her team scouted out musicians, lined up performers, marketed the event, led student and parent volunteers, and took care of setting up and taking down.
“We start planning in December,” she said. “I’m so glad we have texting with these super-busy students,” she laughed. “Auditions are my favorite parts; I love watching the kids come out of their comfort zones, make an effort and shine.”
Veritas is a classical liberal arts academy with a strong focus on drawing, language and the arts. Along with the festival, Ballet Arizona and the Phoenix Symphony entertain students at sister school, Archway Elementary. The school’s choirs – boys, girls, and elite – also give the school a distinctive edge.
“You have to audition for the elite choir each year,” performer Levi Galat, of the band Landmark Nemo, said. “We learn and perform different pieces of choral music together. In February, we go to the Jazz Madrigal Festival at NAU. We sing in front of a judge who rates the schools, and our rating this year was excellent.”
Student band Calle Rosa – composed of Drake Kinerk, Ian Harders, Landon O’Rourke and Cole Kinerk – performed the grand finale of the evening.
“The festival allowed us to share the music we’ve created over the last four years. Ian and I both love the sound of the 70s. That’s why we record on reel-to-reel tape and cassette decks. It’s an older and slower process, but we think it captures a full band sound,” Drake said.
While the musicians shined on stage, there were behind-the-scene stars as well.
“The junior class sold all the food, which was graciously donated by a parent,” Beebe said. “They got to keep the profit and apply it to their senior trip, scholarships and senior breakfast. Students also compete with their artwork for the event design and volunteer to help with stage and event setup and takedown.”
Proceeds from this year’s event go to the Veritas art and music departments.
2022 Veritas music festival performers
- Gio Spadafore (student emcee)
- Drake Kinerk (senior/vocals/rhythm)
- Ian Harders (senior/lead guitar)
- Landon O’Rourke (senior/drums)
- Cole Kinerk (guitar)
- Levi Galat (senior/voice/guitar)
- Liam Pluntke (drums/guitar)
- Lana Rowland (junior/vocal)Maddie Marquardt (sophomore/vocal/piano)Audrey Bitikofer (sophomore/vocal/piano)
- Max Groft (junior/vocals/guitar)Ben Groft (vocals/guitar)
- Peter Townsend (Veritas tennis coach and guitarist)