Waynesboro high-schoolers taking musical talents to the national level

June 04, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • The Waynesboro (Pa.) Area Senior High School students who were chosen for national ensembles in choir and band are shown from left, front row, Rebecca Reed, Dani Bautista and Maureen Bradley. Back row, Emily Johnson, Brad Barkdoll, Mat Levine, Zac Arestad, Zach Roth, Andrew Payne and Missy Ecker.
Submitted photo

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Waynesboro Area Senior High School students are hitting the right notes as they are being selected for national performance opportunities.

Eight students are headed to the National Mixed Choir, and clarinet player Dani Bautista will play with the National Concert Band. Piccolo player Natalie Smith plans to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Performances for the national choir and band are scheduled for Sunday, June 24, at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

“This particular group of students has a drive and desire to strive for excellence. ... Their talent is obvious, but when you add a strong work ethic, they all have amazing futures ahead of them,” WASHS vocal director Eric Griffith said.

All of the students submitted audition videos to be selected for their performances.

Choir participants are Missy Ecker, Rebecca Reed, Emily Johnson, Mat Levine, Brad Barkdoll, Andrew Payne, Zac Arestad and Zach Roth.

Choir and band students will rehearse for a few days in Baltimore prior to the June 24 event, Johnson said.

They also will have opportunities to participate in tours and visit museums, Reed said.

The six song selections for the choir include “Doors of Daring” and “Amazing Grace,” as well as pieces in foreign languages. Students are now learning the songs on their own.

“We need to learn it from memory,” Payne said.

Bautista said she especially enjoys the jazzy pieces from her instrumental selections.

Ecker said she always liked show choir because she could spend time with good friends and study with Griffith.

“It’s just a great experience all around,” she said.

Reed said she expects about 200 youths to participate in the national choir.

“We’re the only school from Pennsylvania to get selected,” she said.

Johnson said she hopes the national choir experience provides an opportunity to work on advanced techniques.

Levine and Barkdoll participated in the national choir in 2011.

“You get to meet a lot of crazy, awesome people from all over the place,” Levine said. “It takes the best high school musicians from across the country and puts them in one place.”

To be selected for the Macy’s parade’s lead band, Smith sent organizers a recording of her playing a four- to seven-minute song. She sent part of Mozart’s Concert in G.

“I was really happy I made it. A little surprised, too,” Smith said.

Smith started playing the piccolo at age 6. She also plays the flute, tenor saxophone and piano.

Smith, who will be WASHS marching band’s commanding officer this fall, expects to do some sightseeing in New York City the week before the parade.

“I love music, and to me, I feel like it’s an honor to walk out in a parade that everybody watches across the country. ... It’s a feeling that can’t really be described when you are performing,” Smith said.

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