By Paige Seitam and Ian Richard
Shenango musicians continue to flourish in their musical abilities. Two Shenango students in particular, freshman Cole Sickafuse and junior Emily Wallace, received accolades when they were selected to be a part of an elite group of instrumentalists chosen from four counties to participate in Honors Band at Westminster College..
“Students who want to be a part of the PMEA District 5 Honors Band must audition in November each year,” shared band director Mr. Butchy. “Literally hundred of students from Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, and Mercer counties audition. The best 150 students on all instruments are selected.”
The festival takes place over three days at Westminster. A guest conductor works with the students for two and a half days and then the elite group presents a concert. Cole Sickafuse was the only freshman French horn player to successfully audition into the band. Emily Wallace placed fifth out of 30 clarinetists.
Throughout their journey, Cole and Emily not only improved as musicians, but learned what it takes to accomplish a goal as well. Emily stated, “We had to practice a lot, around 10 to 20 hours a week. Even though you may have setbacks, you can still accomplish your goals.”
Cole and Emily both mentioned that this experience was definitely one that they will carry with them the rest of their lives. The talented Wildcats were on the same page regarding the idea of how enjoyable it was to be surrounded with such amazing musicians and people who all share the same aspirations as them.
“Playing music and working with many talented musicians was my favorite part of Honors Band,” expressed Emily. In addition to being surrounded by musical genius, Cole mentioned how beneficial it was to have a knowledgeable director as well as a nurturing atmosphere.
“Cole is a very fine musician who will have a very bright future in the PMEA festival system. He is following in the footsteps of many successful French horn players from Shenango,” stated Mr. Butchy. “Emily Wallace has been a part of PMEA Honors Band for several years in a row and is also co-principal clarinet for the Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra. She is a very accomplished clarinetist.”