By Zoey Angelucci, Chaslin Hoover and Carlie Cardella
It is a very busy season for the students in the East Wing. Between District Band, District Chorus, special band guests and gearing up for the musical, these kids barely have time for anything that doesn’t somehow relate to music.
District Chorus and District Band are very similar. Each of the festivals combine four counties, Beaver, Butler, Mercer and Lawrence County. Each school from the respective counties has an opportunity to have representation from their school. To attend these festivals, choir teacher Samantha Leali explained, “It is a lottery selection where teachers provide a list of names and it goes around a rotation. The schools rotate and the counties rotate. So some years you get first pick and some years you get last. If a section is full, like if there are no spots left for Sopranos, then I can’t send any of my Sopranos, unless you placed in the top four of Honors Chorus. Then, you automatically have a spot.” The same goes for District Band.
The first night of the festival, the students have to audition to see if they continue to Region Chorus or Band. They sing or play their instrument respectively in front of a group of judges. The top six from each section in chorus move on and attend Region Chorus while in band, the top six in each section progress to Region Band. For the rest of the festivals, the students come together with a guest conductor to practice their music. At the end of the festivals, there is a concert to share their pieces.
This year, Shenango had nine students attend District Chorus and two students attend District Band. The singers that attended were Hayden Carpenter, Devon Vanasco, Harrison Miller, Shaina Vitale, Logan Ferrucci, Anna Bupp, Alexis Peters, Kendall Cleaver, and Cassie Tillia. From those nine students, Hayden Carpenter, Logan Ferrucci, Anna Bupp, and Harrison Miller will be moving onto Region Chorus. As for the instrumentalists, Riley Lennon and Emily Wallace attended District Band. Emily Wallace will be moving on to Region Band. These few students have their work cut out for them!
At the same time, band director Doug Butchy arranged for a guest conductor to visit his class and help out the students. Dr. Travis Weller, a professor and director at Messiah College, listened to the students play their pieces and gave them feedback.
“Travis is a very good friend of mine. I ran into him at a conference and asked if he’d be willing to do a Skype with us, like listen to the band and give us some feedback,” said Mr. Butchy. “It turns out he was actually still on break from Messiah and was able to come in and work with them. We played our pieces for the concert for him, and then he just worked with the students to make it sound better. He talked to them about some sound concepts and rhythmic concepts. He gave them some ideas for improvement,” explained Mr. Butchy.
On top of all of this, the students of been gearing up for the spring musical, Crazy For You. Stay tuned for more updates from the East Wing!