Fur Elise is not for amateurs
"Fur Elise" may be a standard, but it's not easy. When middle school students realize this, maybe they're stop butchering the piece. Poor Ludwig must be turning over in his grave -- or at the least, decomposing.
Student performers introduce their own pieces before they play. This can lead to some interesting statements. "An interesting aspect of this piece is that it's pretty." "Something unique about this piece is, um, is, um -- I'm sorry, I've done six of these intros today and I just can't remember any more."
Tears before the festival judge will not improve a rating -- but it won't harm it, either. We only judge the performance.
Excuses for mistakes will not improve a rating, either. See above.
Yes, I did overhear the neighborhood police liaison officer teasing the volunteer by telling her not to spill the donuts or she'd get a ticket.
Festival judges like coffee. At least I do. Keep it coming, and I'll be more alert for much longer! (That's a message to the festival managers, not to the performers, by the way.) Stumble It!