By Ian Ong, Co-Student Life Editor
Photo courtesy of Javier Montaner
It’s more than just an ensemble; it’s a comprehensive, musical and educational experience.
Last Saturday, junior Javier Montaner placed third out of 12 trombonists at the PMEA Regional Band Festival, securing his spot in the All-State Band ensemble.
“I was very happy, first of all because I was not sure how far I would make it,” Montaner said. “I was genuinely surprised when I made it into the regional level.”
The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) is an organization of over 4,500 members dedicated to promoting the musical development of Pennsylvanians. Every year, PMEA hosts musical festivals at the district, regional and state levels for which students may audition to be included in each festival’s ensemble. Auditionees are expected to display musical excellence with their instruments: being able to play scales, sight-read and perform pieces. Montaner participated in the district band festival, held Feb. 9 to 11 at Bayard Rustin High School, and moved on to play in region band, held on March 25 at Council Rock High School South. Musicians must reaudition at each level as part of a competitive process to keep their seat on the ensemble. Montaner placed as third chair at regionals, therefore being included in the top four trombonists who are eligible for states.
“After my reaudition for the state ensemble, I felt like it had gone well, but I also knew that I was competing against many other very competent, very competitive and very good trombone players,” Montaner said.
The All-State Band Concert will occur on April 22 at Warner Theatre in downtown Erie, Pa. If Montaner places well at the reaudition, he will be able to attend the prestigious National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-National Honor Ensembles from Nov. 26 to 29 in Orlando, Fla.
Overall, Montaner reflects positively on his experience participating in PMEA’s festivals, feeling that it has helped to further his musical career.
“You get to play with other musicians who are as good, or even better than you,” Montaner said. “When you play more complex pieces with people who are very competent, you really get to enjoy the music that you’re making.”
Montaner also played trombone for the PMEA’s orchestra ensembles, making it to the regional level before being cut.
Ian Ong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.