VARDEN- An area high school has the honor of being the host school for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Region IV Band Festival, which will take place March 12-14.

VARDEN- An area high school has the honor of being the host school for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Region IV Band Festival, which will take place March 12-14.

PMEA sponsors music festivals for band, chorus and orchestra each year, at the District, Regional and State levels.

Western Wayne High School is the host school for this year's band festival.

“It's a great opportunity to bring students to Western Wayne for all to see the level they can accomplish,” said Western Wayne Band Director Raymond Stedenfeld.

The students are selected to participate through an audition process held in the fall and prepare their music in advance of the festival.

Once at the festival, they audition again for chair placement and advancement to the next level. For this purpose the state is divided into 12 districts and six regions.

Region IV, made up of District 8 and 9, encompasses a 14 county area stretching from Wellsboro in the West, Lewistown and Shamokin in the South, Susquehanna in the North and reaching to New York State in the East.

District 8 includes schools from Bradford, Snyder, Lycoming, Columbia, Union, Montour, Northumberland, Sullivan and Tioga counties.

District 9 includes schools from Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, Wyoming and Susquehanna counties.

Dr. Jason Worzbyt is the guest conductor. He is a Professor of Bassoon and Associate Director of Bands at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Worzbyt holds a B.S. in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Music in wind conducting from the University of North Texas and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in bassoon performance from the University of North Texas.

Committed to music education in the state of Pennsylvania, Worzbyt served as President of District 3 of the PMEA and continues to serve that organization as an adjudicator, guest conductor and clinician.

He has also authored several study guides for the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band and Beginning Band series published by GIA. Worzbyt lives in Indiana, Penn. with his wife, Michelle, and very active four year old, Christian James.

Making it happen

Stedenfeld said it takes “a lot of work” to put the festival together. He added there are “many to thank” for their help and support.

“A big thank you goes out to the administration, school board and faculty,” Stedenfeld said.

He added some of the staff will be helping out with the audition process as well.

“The band parents have also been a major help,” he said. “They've put in a lot of hours.”

Stedenfeld added the band parents are even taking care of feeding the students.

Getting to know the students

Western Wayne will be represented by 10 students. They are:

• Flute-Jessica Hampton and Allie Mosomillo

• Clarinet-Tarina Usher and Katie Petrilak

• Bassoon-Ryan Batzel

• Contra Bass Clarinet-Destiny Jakubowicz

• Trumpet-Michael Carrasquillo

• Euphonium-Margaret Rennekamp

• Tuba-Zach Curtis

• Percussion-Noah Shandor

For most of them, this is their first regional competition for band. Usher, a senior, is the only repeat participant.

This will be making her third appearance at regionals.

“I'm excited,” she said.

Usher also gave some advice for anyone new to the competition.

“Make sure you practice your music,” she said.

Hampton is a junior and is “looking forward” to regionals.

“I can't wait for how good the performance will be,” she said. “This is the best of the best in the area. It will be a well-prepared concert. The music is challenging, but I'm definitely looking forward to the opportunity.”

Sophomore Rennekamp concurred.

“I'm excited for the experience and being able to meet other people who are also dedicated to music,” she said.

“I'm nervous to try out,” said Jakubowicz, also a sophomore. “I'm also really excited.”

Curtis, a junior, said the experience should be “very rewarding.”

“It'll be a good learning experience,” he said. “There's a lot gain.”

Shandor, also a junior, said he's “nervous” for the audition, but adds it should be “smooth sailing” after.

“Make sure you're practicing all along and don't wait until the week before to start,” he added.

Sophomore Batzel is “looking forward to the end result.”

“The auditions won't be fun, but then we can enjoy seeing other musicians,” he said. “We'll learn a lot. We can only get better.”

“I'm nervously excited,” said Petrilak, a sophomore. “I'm nervous for the auditions, but I'm excited to meet new people. I'm also looking forward to the music.”

She added having the festival at Western Wayne will be helpful.

“Having it at our school makes it homey,” Petrilak said. “It's familiar.”

Sophomore Mosomillo stated she's also nervous, yet excited.

“The auditions make me nervous, but I'm really excited to get to meet students from other schools in District 8. I'm excited for the experience.”

Carrasquillo, a senior, is also looking forward to regionals.

“I'm excited,” he said. “I love music. It's my favorite thing to do.”

He added he's “never felt nervous” in auditions for other competitions he's taken part in.

“I'm confident in what I do and it pays off,” Carrasquillo stated. “I don't let nerves get to me. I'm glad to be able to go to regionals.”

The festival concert will take place on March 14 at 7 p.m. at Western Wayne High School. Admission is $5. Seniors and students are $3.