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All That Jazz

One hundred and sixty-five high school musicians descended on Youngsville High School last Monday evening in hopes of securing one of 74 spots in the PMEA District 2 Jazz Festival.

“For district jazz, there is no region or state level. All the students who wish to audition for district jazz out of IU5 or IU9 – which makes up PMEA District 2 – come here to Youngsville because we’re the most centrally located school,” Youngsville band director Cindy Scheid explained.

Warren County was represented at the auditions by students from Youngsville and Warren.

At Pennsylvania Music Educators Association festivals for choir, concert band, and orchestra, students are selected beforehand, given their music, and audition the Thursday night of the festival. Students are then assigned a chair placement based on their scores in the audition and advancement to the region and state level is decided based on those placements.

The festivals includes four bands that are filled from the audition process. Band 1 is assigned the most difficult music, bands 2 and 3 are given more moderate to difficult music, and band 4 is assigned the least difficult music. Each band’s repertoire has 20-minutes worth of music.

Bands are made up of 18 members playing alto sax, baritone sax, trombone, piano, bass, tenor sax, trumpet, bass trombone, guitar, drums, and vibes.

Like other PMEA festivals, students are housed with host families local to the host school.

Guest conductors for the District 2 Jazz Festival are Dr. Hubert Toney Jr., director of bands at Millersville University of Pennsylvania; Kevin Vinson, instrumental teacher at Titusville Area School District; John Marszalek, retired director of instrumental music at General McLane; and Ron Steffanina, instrumental teacher at Western Beaver Area School District.

The concert will be held at Titusville High School on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 after rehearsals Thursday and Friday, Feb. 19-20.