Local band, orchestra students attend PMEA music festivals

Making Music

PHOTO PROVIDED Pictured are Central Mountain High School students who participated in Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s District 4 Band Festival. They are, from left, front, McKenna Zimmerman, Charlize Kepler and Allysen Peters; second row, Victoria Parker, Lillian Conoway, Ashly Yost, Kelly Long and Emma Meixel; third row, Cheyenne Holdren, Zoe Resto, Isaiah Nearhoof, Jadyn Watkins, Garret Hampton and Caitlyn Wilson.

MILL HALL — ‘Tis the season of snow, frigid temperatures, and PMEA music festivals.

Some of the area’s best student musicians attended the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s District 4 Band Festival at Penns Valley Area High School recently. The festival is a three-day honors band that includes students from approximately 20 schools in central and south-central Pennsylvania.

Fourteen band students represented our local high schools, including Charlize Kepler from Bucktail Area High School, Kelly Long, Victoria Parker, Allysen Peters, Zo Resto, Jadyn Watkins, Caitlyn Wilson, Ashly Yost, and McKenna Zimmerman from Central Mountain High School, and Lillian Conoway, Garret Hampton, Cheyenne Holdren, Emma Meixel, and Isaiah Nearhoof from Sugar Valley Rural Charter School.

The District 4 band students were under the direction of Mansfield University’s Director of Bands, Dr. Adam Brennan, who offered excellent musical knowledge and conducting expertise to the 180+ students on stage. One of the selections, titled “There Will Be Justice” and composed by Dr. Brennan, was written specifically for this ensemble. Its world premiere performance on Feb. 15, along with the rest of the concert, was an exciting and powerful presentation of live music at its finest.

Seven Central Mountain High School orchestra members took part in the PMEA District 4/6 Orchestra Festival at State College Area High School. Emma Croak, Holden Fanning, Jaclyn Grenninger, Andrew Haigh, Bryn Miller, Emily Short, and Jadyn Watkins represented CMHS in this honors orchestra which included the top instrumentalists from here to the Maryland border.

The District 4/6 Orchestra was directed by Dr. Kirt Mosier, internationally-known composer and conductor, and director of orchestras at Lee’s Summit West High School in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Dr. Mosier was dynamic both on and off the podium, and his positive impact on the festival participants is immeasurable.

Jadyn Watkins qualified to advance to the PMEA Region III Band Festival on tenor saxophone. He will travel to Penns Valley Area High School in late March to compete for a spot at the state level. PMEA music festivals are unique opportunities for our musicians to work with world-renowned composers, conductors, and educators in a highly-focused but down-to-earth setting. The new musical knowledge and skills that our young musicians bring home from these festivals benefit their peers and ensembles as well as the entire music department.