CHAMBERSBURG, Pa.—The best high school musicians in five counties will put their musical talents together on Saturday.
The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association will present the Upper District 7 Band Festival at the Chambersburg Area Senior High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m.
The event will feature 145 high school students from schools in Franklin, Perry, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon counties.
Seventeen local musicians were selected to participate in the district band:
- Chambersburg: Ryan McClure, bassoon; Emily Arnold, flute; Abigail Mosior, soprano clarinet; Paul Lessard, alto saxophone; Andrew Stadler, cornet; Kyle Snowberger, cornet; Preston Charlesworth, tuba; and Jessica Rice, piano.
- Greencastle: Brittany Spangler, bassoon; and Joseph Wentz, alto saxophone.
- Waynesboro: Anissa Freeman, flute; Natalie Smith, flute; Danielle Bautista, soprano clarinet; and Catherine Stiles, tuba.
- Mercersburg Academy: Caroline Yoo, flute; and Daniel Kwak, soprano clarinet.
- Shippensburg: Cassie Fernelius, bassoon.
While most of the students are in grades 9 through 12, students can audition for a spot in the district band beginning in seventh grade, according to festival organizers.
In December, about 1,000 students competed for a spot in the district band by auditioning before a panel of judges from PMEA.
"We're talking about a level of musical excellence that is far beyond what a normal high school program can do. These are actually the best of the best students," said David Wenerd, Chambersburg Area School District Music Department Chairman and festival host director.
The guest conductor for Saturday's festival is Temple University's Matthew Brunner who is assistant director of athletic bands in the Boyer College of Music and Dance.
This is the fourth year that 17-year-old CASHS senior Andrew Stadler has performed in the district band.
To attain a seat with the band, he had to compete against about 50 other players.
"It's an honor for me that all my practice paid off," said Stadler, who has a full scholarship for music education to the University of Alabama based on his academics.
Not only has he been in the district band for four years, but also Stadler has been to the state level two years and is going to perform with the eastern band this year.
"Anytime there are kids in the news, it's normally for something they've done wrong, and this is something that kids have done right," said Stadler. "People need to know that kids aren't just a bunch of hooligans — they can do well."