PMEA Festival Attendees Announced

West Branch students to attend District and County festivals in the oncoming months.
Pictured above are students who attended County Choir on Saturday, October 21st.
Pictured above are students who attended County Choir on Saturday, October 21st.
Image/Graphics by Daniel Stilson

West Branch band and choir students have recently had the opportunity to participate in music festivals with schools across the state. The first level of the festivals is qualifying for the county festivals. On the choir side, there is one choir open to students 9-12. With the band, there are two ensembles available based on whatever grade that a person is in. Students in grades 7-9 are to join a full junior high band while students in 10-12 participate in the senior high ensemble. 

The first festival this year will be County Choir. It will be held at Philipsburg Osceola on October 20th and 21st. The guest conductor is Mr. Eric Brinser from Bellefonte Area School District. The participants will all be from Clearfield County, including Glendale, Clearfield, and Curwensville. 

County Band will be held at our very own West Branch Area School District. The festival will look slightly different than in past years, with it only being a one-day festival. Students from grades 7-12 will spend the day here, working with various instructors across the state. The junior high band will be working with the guest conductor, Dr. Travis Weller in the morning, while high school students are working with other teachers on their instruments (see first list below). After lunch, they will then switch places. The high school ensemble will work with Dr. Weller while junior high students will attend the masterclass. Although there will not be a concert for this festival, both bands will perform for each other after working with Dr. Weller.

 “It is exciting any time we have the opportunity to host a music event at West Branch.  We have beautiful facilities and we enjoy sharing them with our musical community.  This year we are piloting a “clinic” format for County Band,” says Mr. Lance Jones.

The next stage of festivals will be Districts. In the most recent Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) meeting, teachers across the district met to choose kids to fill out their ensembles. Only students in grades 10-12 can participate. This year, District Band will be held at Glendale High School from January 11th-13th. The guest conductor will be Dr. James Colonna of Messiah University. District Choir will be held at Juniata High School from January 25th-27th. Dr. Matthew Fritz of Elizabeth College will be the guest conductor for this festival.

Both of the festivals will have a Saturday concert. Students will stay overnight in a hotel near the schools or commute to the schools. 

Mr. Jones gives his thoughts on the festivals. “Festivals are a crucial part of the artistic education and experience for all students.  In our area, festivals are the only opportunities our students have to play in full ensembles, with all written parts represented on stage.  These events are also prestigious in nature, meaning that students are often required to prepare advanced literature (often college-level or written in the context of a different culture or language) in a very short period of time.  Many schools consider the festival experience similar to taking an “honors or advanced” track, as we see in other academic subjects. Lastly, festivals are important for our communities as they provide quality public performances that otherwise would only be found outside of our rural communities.“

Listed below are the teachers who will assist with County Band:

Flute= Ms. Judith Bungo

Clarinet= Dr. Stephanie Cramer; Messiah University

Double Reeds= Dr. Jason Worzbyt; IUP

Saxophone= Dr. Mike Krauch

Trumpet= Dr. Scott DiTullio; Thiel College

Horn= Dr. Mike Harcow; Messiah University

Low Brass= Dr. Jer Umholtz; IUP

Percussion= Dr. Erik Forst; Messiah University 

Conductor= Dr. Travis Weller; Messiah University

 

Listed below are students who are slotted to attend the festivals:

 

County Choir

-Hadlee Ishler 9th, Soprano 

-Jason Weatherholtz, 9th, Tenor

-Kelcey English, 11th, Alto

-Hayden Martin, 11th, Bass

-Hope Croyle, 12th, Alto

-Shaela Gillen, 12th, Alto

-Braeden Salter, 12th, Bass

-Matt Eirich, 12th, Tenor

 

County Band

-Ali McCamley, 9th, Alto Saxophone

-Emily Shingledecker, 9th, Alto Saxophone

-Ben Coval, 9th, Trumpet

-Juliette Hall, 9th, Trumpet

-Nathaniel Urueta, 9th, Trumpet

-Evan Wooster, 9th, Trumpet

-Hilde Lautier, 9th, Tuba

-Mason Amos, 10th, Percussion

-Hannah Isler, 10th, Clarinet

-Keagan Dobo, 10th, Trombone

-Jonah Porter, 10th, Trumpet

-Addison Collar, 10th, Clarinet

-Bailey Wooster, 11th, Flute

-Madison Gray, 11th, Clarinet

-Haylie Amos, 11th, Alto Saxophone

-Kelcie English, 11th, Tenor Saxophone

-Hayden Martin, 11th, Baritone

 

District Choir

-Jordan Walker, 10th, Alto

-Kelcey English, 11th, Alto

-Hayden Martin, 11th, Bass

-Hope Croyle, 12th, Alto

-Shaela Gillen, 12th, Alto

-Matt Eirich, 12th, Tenor

 

District Band

-Hannah Isler, 10th, Clarinet

-Addison Collar, 10th, Clarinet

-Jonah Porter, 10th, Trumpet

-Keagan Dobo, 10th, Trombone

-Bailey Wooster, 11th, Flute

-Madison Gray, 11th, Clarinet

-Haylie Amos, 11th, Alto Saxophone

-Kelcie English, 11th, Tenor Saxophone

-Hayden Martin, 11th, Baritone

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About the Contributor
Matthew Eirich, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Matt Eirich and I’m a writer for Warrior Watch. I’m a senior and I play for the soccer, football, and baseball teams here at West Branch. I am also involved with the band, choir, and drama programs here at WB.