Musical medley: Conestoga to host PMEA D12 orchestra districts for the first time

___________________

By Vaishnavi Sriadhibhatla and Isabelle Emmanuel, Staff Reporters For the first time in history, Conestoga will be hosting the PMEA District 12 Orchestra Festival. The festival is set to take place from January 26 –28, 2023 in the Hobson Wagner Memorial Auditorium. Many hours of planning have gone into this occasion to accommodate the 32...

By Vaishnavi Sriadhibhatla and Isabelle Emmanuel, Staff Reporters

For the first time in history, Conestoga will be hosting the PMEA District 12 Orchestra Festival. The festival is set to take place from January 26 –28, 2023 in the Hobson Wagner Memorial Auditorium.

Many hours of planning have gone into this occasion to accommodate the 32 schools competing. Christopher Nation, a music teacher at ’Stoga,  is hosting the event. Nation helps plan all the logistics in the events including hotels, meals, folders, repertoires and re-auditions. Guest conductor Timothy Dixon, a music educator at Camp Hill School District, has been invited to conduct the festival.

“It’s a very large, complicated process with a lot of moving parts,” Nation said. “We’ve got to coordinate between us and all of the other host directors, all the schools in District 12 as well as come up with a budget that’s going to work.”

In order to secure a spot in the festival, participants had to submit a video to a panel of judges. They recorded five scales and three excerpts, and were given a short-term preparation excerpt to take the place of sight-reading. The audition pieces students played were released on November 13, 2022. Videos of the participants playing were required to be submitted by November 19. The auditioning process has been conducted online for the past two years because of COVID-19, as opposed to the traditional in-person audition applicants are used to.  

“I remember using a few attempts to get the right sound,” sophomore Frank Liu said. “I know a lot of people had technical issues, but for me it went really smoothly, and I think they did a great job with it.” .

Some students, like senior Michael Levin, who played clarinet in last year’s festival, are not new to the PMEA districts.

“It’s a really memorable experience,” Levin said. “I remember the first time I went to my district’s band concert last year. It’s basically taking all the best players in the district. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the all-star game in the NBA — it’s kind of like that, but for all the best high school musicians.”

The excitement is not limited to returnees. Sophomore Lauren Wu, who is competing in districts for the first time, has high hopes for the event.

“I think I’m really excited for the festival in general because I get to meet a lot of people from the area, and learn about them, and play stuff, which is really exciting,” Wu said.

Students who qualified for districts are required to re-audition to qualify for regionals. Judges will listen to a selected excerpt of a piece and combine its score with their score from their previous audition (for districts). This will then determine who moves on to perform in regionals. Levin feels excited to compete in districts but knows there could be more to come.

“[Being selected for districts is] definitely a big honor that I’m very proud of,” Levin said. “But you know, when you get selected for the district festival, you are obligated to re-audition, and try your luck at regionals and then possibly states so the journey doesn’t end.”


Vaishnavi Sriadhibhatla can be reached at [email protected]

Isabelle Emmanuel can be reached at [email protected]

© 2022 Spoke.News. All rights reserved.