State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Young Musicians Get in Tune for Band Festival

by on March 14, 2014 6:30 AM

How do you get to the Pennsylvania Music Education Association's Region III Band Festival?

Practice, practice, practice.

On Thursday, nearly 200 top high school musicians began practicing at State College High School, in preparation for this weekend's annual Band Festival.

The students represent 53 school districts from across Central Pennsylvania. They were chosen because of their outstanding performances at district band festivals held last month. Richard Bundy, Director of the Penn State Blue Band, is guest conductor.

Bundy says these are promising musicians, "There are a lot of very, very talented players -- very talented players. So that's one of the things where the better players bubble to the top through the [selection] process."  

Bundy notes it can be a challenge taking kids from dozens of schools who've never played together, "and mold it into a unified sound in a couple of days."

But he adds it's lots of fun, "Its a lot of effort to expend ... but it's a very enjoyable experience to try and motivate them to help them to have a memorable experience."

Naturally, Bundy will be looking for musicians with enough talent to join the Blue Band, but he says there's more to it than that. "I'll be talking to them about Penn State in particular ... but also one of the things is to try and get across to these students is that no matter where they go to school or what they do beyond high school, what they're doing now is something they can take with them into their adult life."

The very best of these musicians will go to Harrisburg in a few weeks and will play in the PMEA All-State Bands.

State College High School Director of Bands Paul Leskowicz says the players auditioned for the PMEA All-State Bands Wednesday night. Only 25 of the 187 musicians in Region III will get to go. Nine players from State College High School were selected to perform in Harrisburg. That's the highest number of State College students since 2004. "I'm extremely proud," says Leskowicz. "Its a great honor."

The State College High School students selected for the PMEA All-State Bands are:

  • Katie Reese, flute
  • Luisa Bressan, flute
  • Abbey Harrington, clarinet
  • Ryan Czekaj, clarinet
  • Ella Misangyi, clarinet
  • Sarah Lucas, alto saxophone
  • Anna Hirsch, alto saxophone
  • Colleen McDonough, french horn
  • Tim Gilpatrick, tuba

The Region Three Band Festival will be held at Penn State's Eisenhower Auditorium at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 15.

The Band Festival concert is open to the public. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors, students and youth. Tickets will be available at the door or you can click HERE to buy them online.

There will be no charge to park at the Eisenhower Parking deck thanks to a sponsorship by the State College Music Boosters, Inc.

You can watch video of these talented young musicians rehearsing below:


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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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