District Band showcases student talent

Student instrumentalists from 35 school districts in five northeastern Pennsylvania gathered last week at Montrose Area High School for a band festival. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI


The halls of Montrose Area High School were filled with talented and enthusiastic musicians for several days last week, culminating in the Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Association’s District 9 Band Festival Friday night.

Students were selected by judges of auditions from 35 school districts covering five counties in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The host director was Suzanne Bennici of Montrose Area School District, and the guest conductor was Cheryl Boga of the University of Scranton

Students from Susquehanna County included:

From Elk Lake: Diana Root, baritone.

From Forest City, Andrea Burleigh, trombone; Matt Terry, percussion.

From Montrose Area:  Mollie Host, clarinet; Emily Augenti, alto clarinet; Jacob Kerbaugh, bass clarinet; Michael Roman, baritone; Adam Distad, cornet; Megan Gregory, horn; Nicholas Best, baritone; and Ryan Brown, trombone.  From Mountain View: Stephen Landis, cornet.

Students from Wyoming County included: 

From Lackawanna Trail: Jennifer Brown, flute; Garrett Craig-Lucas, clarinet; Myranda Myers, clarinet; Richard Pollock, tenor saxophone; Jesse Morvan, cornet; Michael Jenkins, cornet; Kyle Holmes, trombone. 

From Tunkhannock: Emily Petokas, oboe;  Ashley Shotwell, clarinet; Tiffany Powell, clarinet; Carlie Steinberg, clarinet; Kristen Darling, clarinet; Chris Lindon, alto saxophone; Justin Hill, cornet; Sara Petokas, horn; Katie Proulx, horn; and Bryce Cline, baritone.

The program was selected by Boga, who is dedicated to the performance of new music and has commissioned, prepared and/or conducted the premieres of more than 70 wind and choral works by both established and emerging composers.

One piece, “A Hymn for the Lost and the Living,” was composed by Eric Ewazen at The Juilliard School as a response to his direct experience in New York City on Sept. 11, when school was in session.

An unusual version of the traditional carol, “O Come, O Come Emanuel,” was performed with the concert band members performing the tune in vocal harmony, a capella,  before picking up their instruments. Boga introduced “Veni Immanuel,” arranged by Phillip Sparke, as being a 15th Century processional for Franciscan nuns.

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