BLAIRSVILLE — On April 12, six Blairsville Middle School students went to the Pennsylvania Music Education Association District 3 Band Fest held at Purchase Line High School.
The group consisted of seventh-graders Mary Tran on flute, Grant DiStefano on alto saxophone, and Brandon Pease and Jesse Chovanec on percussion. Eighth-graders Bobby Bell and Riah Faulkner both played trumpet.
To prepare for their upcoming trip, students practiced on their own as well as during their lesson times with Alice Moore, Blairsville band director.
“Students were chosen based on their playing ability,” Moore says.
During Band Fest, sixth-grade students were under the direction of Dr. David Ferguson, and the seventh- and eighth-grade band was under the direction of Dr. Hurbert Toney Jr.
“I liked the guest conductor,” says Pease. “He taught me not to be hesitant (while playing) and I took that away.”
“The guest conductor was by far one of the most fun directors I ever had,” Faulkner added.
The students also played with a variety of people from 24 other schools. While the students were at the practice session with Dr. Toney, the other directors attended music meetings and workshops that were given by the host director, Rebecca Bracken.
During the concert, the band played an arrangement of military marches titled “Marches of the Armed Forces.” While the band played the marches, audience members who serve or have served in the armed forces were asked to stand and be recognized. In the changing of the bands, the school directors performed several songs, including an all-fife song.
At the end of the concert, Bell said, “Music is important to me because it relieves stress.”