Bellefonte musicians take on district and regional competitions

Emma Homan, Feature News Director

Since January, the Performing Arts Department has been incredibly busy. Choir, Band, Jazz Band, and Orchestra have each had district competitions where our most talented students travel to perform with other qualifying students, be directed by guest directors, and learn new pieces of music to add to their already bursting repertoire. Here’s a summary of all the events, in order of occurrence, and all of the participating students.

A September audition decided which students would participate in District Chorus held from January 14 to 16. These students would participate in a massive group choir with other selected students in our area. The District Chorus event took place at State College Area High School, and was attended by seniors Noah Aberegg, Hannah Coslo, Caden Guizar, Haley Herr, Kara Leonori, Cecilia Mazzocco, and Cecilia Stanton; juniors Sam Henry and Emma Liadis; and sophomores Jane Burgess and Allison Nicholls.

The diversity of pieces gave some students a bit of extra challenge and allowed them to sing and perform a variety of different styles, some of which they’ve never done before.

“I struggled the most with ‘Tuttarani.’ It was quite fast and was nothing like anything I’ve sung before,” Haley Herr said.

The huge size of the choir allowed for some to have unique experiences.

“Since I am a male singer, I am used to small sections with at most 10-12 guys singing. However, at District Choir, we had nearly 100 male singers. It was very cool to feel the balance of voices,” Noah Aberegg said.

District Orchestra, occurring between January 26 to 28, took place at Somerset High School and was attended by seniors Hannah Coslo, Jack Nedrow, Lillian North, and Katie Nugent; junior Emma Liadis; and sophomore Michah Blanchard. Similar to District Choir, students would take part in a massive orchestra with students from across the district, able to hear what their instruments sound like in an orchestra of over 100 people. First chairs who gained their role through auditions at the conference and those who made top ten strings will proceed onto Regional Orchestra, and three students made that position: Katie Nugent, Emma Liadis, and Micah Blanchard.

“I had so much fun getting to play in a giant orchestra and hanging out with my friends. I can’t wait for Regional Orchestra,” violist Katie Nugent said. 

Similarly, the District Band Festival allowed for students to perform in a massive band of 150+ students, alongside the best and brightest from other districts in the area. The festival was held at Huntingdon Area High School. Students auditioned for Band Director Mr. Caleb Rebarchak using provided musical pieces based on their instrument of choice, and he sent recommendations to PMEA District 4 for them to make their selections on students to add to various ensembles. From February 9 to 11, the following chosen students attended the festival: seniors Madigan Ashe, Josiah Cadman, Cecilia Mazzocco, Alan McMahon, Lillian North, Cecilia Stanton, and Reese Walters; juniors Rebecca Burns and Bailey Hoff; and sophomores Micah Blanchard and Cole Dermota. Students that will be attending regionals because of their auditions and chair placements at District Band include Madigan Ashe, Micah Blanchard, Josiah Cadman, Cole Dermota, Bailey Hoff, Cecilia Mazzocco, Alan McMahon, and Reese Walters.

Many of the District Band students agree that the event was exhausting, but rewarding. 

“The days were long and the hours leading up to auditions were stressful, but despite this, the festival was an incredibly fun experience that I will cherish forever,” junior flutist Bailey Hoff said.

Jazz Band is extracurricular, with rehearsals happening outside of the school day, with only particular instruments being played to stay true to the jazz sound. Students in the Jazz Band auditioned for the District Jazz Band Festival by sending in recordings of their performances to be divided among three separate bands. Students that attended the District Jazz Band Festival include seniors Madigan Ashe, Josiah Cadman, and Cecilia Mazzocco, and freshman Sophia Harper.

“I had a great time at District Jazz. The guest director was wonderful and I had a lot of fun playing songs like ‘I Wish’ by Stevie Wonder,” Sophia Harper said.

Students that placed in the top ten at District Chorus were chosen to move on to Regional Chorus. These students include seniors Noah Aberegg, Caden Guizar, Cecilia Mazzocco, and Cecilia Stanton, and junior Emma Liadis. Regional Chorus took place recently at Clearfield High School on January 23 to 25.