East Juniata Students Participate in District Level Music Festivals

            It's festival season for the Pennsylvania Music Educators' Association [PMEA], and several East Juniata musicians are involved.

            Instrumental musicians and chorus members who are chosen to participate in District festivals do so as part of PMEA's District 4, which includes Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties. One of the festivals with EJ participants has already concluded, as District Chorus was held January 12-14 at Penns Valley High School in Spring Mills. Singers from the EJ Tiger Chorus who attended included: junior Emilie Gerig, Soprano I; junior Sarah Irvin, Alto II; junior Sam Karper, Bass II; sophomore Clay Leitzel, Tenor I; sophomore Nicholas Pillot, Bass I; and senior Jenna Seaman, Alto II. The format of the Chorus festival involves selection of students to move on to a regional event. Gerig advanced to this next level and will be singing in the Region III Chorus, scheduled for February 23-25, at Curwensville Area High School in Curwensville, PA.

            District 4's orchestra festival will be a combined event with District 6 and will be held at Somerset Area Junior-Senior High School in Somerset, PA January 26-28. EJ participants include junior Sarah Irvin who will play the bassoon; sophomore Zach Leitzel, who will play the trumpet; and senior Gracie Strawser, who will play the violin.

            The PMEA District 4 Band Festival will be held February 9-11 at West Branch Junior-Senior High School in Morrisdale, PA. Representing East Juniata will be senior Caitlin Elsasser, playing flute; junior Sarah Irvin, playing tenor saxophone; junior Sam Karper, playing tuba; sophomore Bryson Kantz on percussion; and sophomore Zach Leitzel, playing trumpet.

            The final District Festival in which EJ students will participate is the District 4 Jazz Festival scheduled to be hosted by Clearfield Area High School in Clearfield, PA February 16-18. This festival is somewhat different than the others, in that freshmen are allowed to participate. [The others include only sophomores, juniors and seniors]. It is also unique among this group of events in that its participants have already gone through a round of live auditions, which took place Sunday, December 4 at Huntingdon Area High School in Huntingdon, PA. Students who emerged from auditions with seats in the District Jazz ensembles include: freshman Kylie Elsasser on baritone saxophone; freshman Margaret Edwards on trombone; freshman Robert Ferry on trombone; freshman Sierra Gearhart on alto saxophone; junior Sarah Irvin on tenor saxophone; sophomore Zach Leitzel on trumpet; freshman Paige Smith on alto saxophone; and senior Gracie Strawser on keyboard.

            East Juniata Band and Chorus Director Mr. Kevin Milliken accompanies his students to all of the Festivals, so for the coming weeks, he will be, as titles of [different] songs by artists Lynyrd Skynrd and Ricky Nelson say, a “Travelin' Man.”

East Juniata High School Junior

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