PEPPERELL — Traffic might be heavy in and out of Nissitissit Middle School (NMS) Saturday, Feb. 4 as more than 1,200 students from 70 middle schools representing about a quarter of the state descend on Pepperell to audition for the Central District Junior High School Music Festival concert.

This is the second consecutive year Pepperell has hosted the auditions. Tryouts include instruments and voice. Thirty-five schools are sending students from their choruses.

Tellier said he wants to alert residents of Chace and Tucker avenues so they won’t be surprised at the Saturday traffic.

“It’s a huge event for the town,” said NMS Band Director Kevin Tellier. “I’ve sent students to the festival for 26 years and last year was the first time we’ve had the facilities to host it. Nissitissit is perhaps one of the best facilities in New England.”

Middle school students begin arriving at 7 a.m. and won’t be leaving until about 7 p.m. Actual auditions take place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Each pupil in the auditions is evaluated individually on solos from pieces assigned to their instrument or voice by the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA). Pupils who score high enough are selected to participate in the music festival concert scheduled for May 6 in Trotier Middle School, Southboro. Last year, the concert was held at Narragansett High School in Baldwinville.

NMS instrumentalists participating are members of the concert band, jazz band or orchestra.

“This is terrific,” Tellier said. “It’s a team effort from people from the administration, Pepperell Parents Pro Musica, the Nissitissit Choral Parents group and other older students.

“Pepperell Parents Pro Musica are playing a major role this year, handling all kitchen operations to feed everyone,” Tellier said, “all band parents and the executive board.

“They fill the gap between what the school can provide and what’s needed. It’s a big gap,” he said.

Snow date is Sunday, Feb. 5. More information and directions for out of towners can be had at