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Band Students Pursue Excellence

Dalaney Smith l Feature Editor

Over the summer and throughout the school year, the sound of the band practicing can be heard echoing in the hallways.

Ten band members will be traveling to the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg on Feb. 9-11 to participate in the district band festival. District band is hosted by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, with Cedar Crest being a part of District 7.

Seniors Sophia Medzoyan (clarinet) and Derrick Nolan (trumpet), juniors Emily Harrell (flute), Molly Hibshman (flute), Ashlan MacDonald (clarinet) and Cameron Toscano (bass clarinet), sophomores Audrey Fugate (French horn), Ryan Ney (French horn) and freshmen Haylee Cook (trombone) and Ali Gatto (clarinet) were selected to participate in this event.

These students have been putting in hard work since early summer to prepare audition material and scales with hopes of making district band. They traveled to Eastern York High School on Saturday, Dec. 3 for the audition.

“(District Band) is the first stop on the way to Region and All State, so it's always exciting to get the process started,” said band director Scott Muenz. “That way, our members can audition and try to work their way as far as they can through the system.”

The District 7 music festival includes students from Lebanon, Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry and Franklin counties. A few students who are participating in district band are likely to move on to regional band, where they would compete against others in region 5.

“I want to make Regions this year, so I can hopefully go to more festivals,” said Medzoyan, who plays the clarinet. “Maybe All States too but we will see.”

Medzoyan attended Districts last year and qualified for the virtual version two years ago. Some students who are revisiting this competition are looking forward to reconnecting with other band members that they met there.

“(I am looking forward to) meeting new people and saying hi to old friends,” said Toscano, who will be playing the bass clarinet at Districts.

Meeting new people who share similar interests can create strong friendships, so it is one of the many things that is anticipated about this event.

“Playing in a higher-level band and meeting new people in my section who play the same instrument is something that I am really looking forward to,” said Fugate, who plays the French horn.

At last year’s Districts competition, Fugate was 11th chair for the horn. This year, she was pleased to find that her hard work paid off as she moved up to third chair.

While most of the students who were selected for Districts this year have competed in previous years, there are a few students who are filled with nervous excitement for their first high school band competition. This is Cook’s first year trying out and being a part of the festival.

“I feel pretty good going into it,” said Cook, who plays the trombone. “I feel well prepared and ready to go. Individually, I think I will do okay; the music is harder than what I normally play. As a group, I think we will sound fantastic.”

She has been putting work in both in and out of school to perfect her music. According to Cook, she practices her trombone for at least half an hour every day and is taking extra private lessons to learn the necessary music.

In contrast, this is Nolan’s 4th year attending District Band. This year he will be 1st chair for trumpets.

“Something I have always looked forward to every year is meeting new people and making new friends,” said Nolan, who plays the trumpet. “It’s a really fun and great experience learning from others because no matter how well you can play the music, each person has their own set of strengths that everyone can learn from.”

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