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Fairfax Academy Hosts MCT Festival

Eight annual MCT Fest displays students’ talents, leadership.

Members of the Fairfax Academy Music Computer Technology (MCT) class at their annual MCT Festival performed original compositions. The MCT Fest featured a variety of musical performances.

Members of the Fairfax Academy Music Computer Technology (MCT) class at their annual MCT Festival performed original compositions. The MCT Fest featured a variety of musical performances. Photo courtesy of Erin Bloom/Fairfax Academy

Students enrolled in Fairfax Academy’s Music Computer Technology (MCT) class impressed parents and teachers by hosting and performing original compositions at the Eighth Annual MCT Fest on Jan. 8 in Fairfax.

Thanks to student leaders like Cameron Welke, a senior at Fairfax High School who served as manager for the festival, and MCT Instructor Christopher Johnston, a Lorton resident known as "Mr. J." by his students, event attendees enjoyed a variety of musical styles at the festival.

According to Johnston, there are five goals of the MCT Fest, including presenting original music, allowing students to run an event, promoting awareness of the academy in the community, helping students gain networking skills, and fundraising.

Although the weeks leading up to MCT Fest were somewhat stressful for Johnston and his students, due to snow days and school delays, the festival still went smoothly.

"I didn’t sleep well that week at all. I slept great the weekend after. I caught up on all the sleep that I wasn’t able to get because so many things can go wrong," Johnston said.

In addition to managing the event, Welke performed twice during MCT Fest. He played guitar at the beginning with Ben Alter, the other student manager, and then played violin as part of a chamber ensemble.

As a student manager, Welke began preparing and organizing the event in August.

"It’s really a lot of figuring out what needs to get done, who can do it, who will do it and how to get them to go on and do it," he said.

Welke enjoys having Johnston as an instructor and looks forward to coming to class every day.

"He’s really a gem in the educational system. He’s the one teacher that I’ve never come into class where he has not been excited to be here and excited to teach us about something new. He knows the programs like the back of his hand and he really and truly loves what he does," Welke said.

Erin Bloom, the career experience specialist at Fairfax Academy, said that Johnston’s passion for teaching makes the class enjoyable for the students.

"He’s very passionate about not only teaching but about each one of them. Individually he’s so passionate about every single child in the class," Bloom said.

Welke has noticed the attention Johnston gives to each student during class.

"Actually, his one shortcoming might be that it’s impossible to get him by yourself because he’s always off working with somebody. And when he works with somebody he really focuses on what they’re doing and tries to make it the best so it can help them become a better musician as a result of it," Welke said.

The students also enjoy their instructor’s jokes, which were recited during MCT Fest.

"The students did a wonderful job. It’s a huge undertaking," Johnston said.