NACOGDOCHES, Texas – An April 1 deadline to register to participate as a booth exhibitor or sponsor for the Stephen F. Austin State University Music Preparatory Division’s 40th anniversary outdoor music festival is drawing close.

The all-day outdoor event on Saturday, May 1, will feature the talents of Music Prep’s outstanding student musicians and give local merchants the opportunity to showcase their businesses while showing support for the School of Music’s outreach programs, according to Alba Madrid, Music Prep director and program instructor.

“This family-friendly outdoor music festival is the perfect way to end our school year, and it is a fitting tribute to 40 years of making music,” Madrid said. “This music festival will be a socially distanced event allowing music lovers to enjoy exceptional music, exhibition booths, food vendors and the great outdoors.”

Local merchants can be a part of the celebration by showcasing their businesses at booth spaces that will line the grounds of the Music Prep House at 3028 Raguet St. and/or by donating door prizes to be given away during the festival. Event sponsorships are also available, and local food trucks will be onsite.

Proceeds will help fund, in part, two major projects, including the creation of the Shirley Watterston Piano Lab and establishment of the Strings Project, Madrid said.

The Watterston Piano Lab, which will be housed in a renovated garage area at the Prep House, will provide space for the SFA Music Prep to deliver affordable group piano instruction to members of the Nacogdoches and East Texas community. Classes will be offered for students of all ages (retirees, adults, teenagers, elementary) and skill levels. In addition to outreach potential, the piano lab program will also provide music majors internship opportunities to gain valuable teaching experiences in conjunction with their piano pedagogy classes.

“These supervised teaching opportunities fit the university's strategic plan by being a recruiting tool for college music majors seeking these types of transformative experiences as part of their academic and practical studies at SFA,” Madrid said.

The Strings Project will establish classes that provide practical hands-on training for undergraduate string education majors during their college years and give children from the community the opportunity to study a stringed instrument in a group setting. Classes are offered for elementary, middle and high school students.

The 40th anniversary celebration and outdoor festival is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 1. Deadline to register for event booth space is April 1. For more information about sponsorships, or to register for a booth, contact Madrid at (936) 468-1291 or For more information about Music Prep, visit