Student Musicians Showcase Talent
Perhaps Dixie Paruch, Central Fulton School District superintendent, summed up Saturday afternoon’s festivities best by saying, “Music is inspiration to the soul.”
In opening up McConnellsburg High School’s doors and auditorium to more than 185 top-ranked musicians from Franklin and Fulton counties, this year’s county band festival culminated Saturday afternoon with a performance by junior high students, as well as senior high, aspiring instrumentalists.
Having many memories of past county band festivals, Paruch along with event co-directors Greg Strine and Ryan Wade made plenty of new, lasting memories with help from guest conductors Dr. James Latten and Daniel Atwood. For Strine, having a son perform with each of the junior and senior high groups along with 18 of his own students from Mc- Connellsburg was an honor in and of itself.
For ninth-grade French horn player Billy Crowder of Mc- Connellsburg, just meeting students and directors from the other 13 participating school districts was a great opportunity.
“It’s fun playing music,” said Crowder, 15. “The people from the other schools and the directors are nice and fun to talk to.”
His third time performing with the junior high Franklin/Fulton County band, Crowder said the tune entitled “The Great Locomotive Chase” proved to be the most interesting and upbeat song on the day’s playlist overseen by Dr. Latten, an associate professor of music at Juniata College. According to Latten, the song is based on a contingent of Union soldiers who attempted to infiltrate
Georgia in 1862 and steal a train. Warning bells sounded, leading to a chase that could be easily imagined through the tempo and varied sections of the song.
Meanwhile, the three-movement piece “Tales of a Medieval Warrior” by Travis J. Weller of Mercer, Pa., captured the life and times of a medieval warrior, the champion of the weak and defender of the nation. Joining those two songs on the junior high portion of the program were “Ammerland,” “Jungle Dance” and “Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.”
The senior high program directed by Atwood, the director of bands at Saint Francis University, was dedicated to the late Samuel B. Forney. Forney served as band director at Greencastle-Antrim for 32 years and was renowned among residents for teaching students about commitment, respect and sportsmanship.
“On A Hymnsong of Philip Bliss” by David Holsinger opened the senior high program in memory of Forney and was the most noteworthy song of the day for Southern Fulton sophomore Logan Faith. Faith said the “true meaning” behind “Hymnsong” made it a significant piece to play.
Saturday’s performance marked the fourth time the 16- year-old Needmore trumpet player has been selected to play at county band. He said he has enjoyed meeting new people at the events and has made many new friends from all over the area, but especially from Forbes Road, and still maintains contact with them outside of the music setting.
Fellow Southern Fulton Indian and member in the Class of 2016 Austin Miller of Warfordsburg said he took much joy in playing “Declaration Overture” by Claude T. Smith. Miller, who is in his seventh year playing the trombone, referred to the piece as being “upbeat” and he “loved the sound.”
He added, much like Faith, he has enjoying meeting other students at the county band festivals.