Select Western Wayne Middle School students participated in the 2019 Middle Grades Music & Art Festival held on Friday, March 1, at the Wayne Highlands School District. Some students had art work on display and others participated by singing or playing musical instruments in a concert held that evening.

Students from a number of area schools participated. Some of the pieces performed by the band students included: music from West Side Story, “West Side Blues,” and “Jupiter”. Some of the pieces performed by the chorus included: music from The Greatest Showman, “Praise His Holy Name,” and “Stars I Shall Find.”

Many of the students from Western Wayne greatly enjoyed the experience of working with different students who share their same interest in the arts.

Eighth grader Evan Peirce, who participated with the band, said he had the most fun learning about a new instrument. Evan plays the tenor saxophone and met a student from Wallenpaupack who plays the baritone saxophone.

“I really want to play the baritone saxophone in the high school band,” Evan said. “The student I met showed me some ways to play and it was really fun.”

Evan’s fellow band classmate Ashley Small Bermudez said she also enjoyed learning from the students in her section at Middle Grades. Ashley plays the mallets.

“A lot of the kids in my section showed different techniques and were helping each other to play.”

The same musical camaraderie was a special part of the Middle Grades experience for students that participated in the chorus as well.

Eighth grader Kylie Merring, a soprano, said the most meaningful part of the experience was her interactions with other vocal performance students.

“It was great to be able to interact with other kids, to hear them sing, and to take notes off of how they do it.”

All of the Western Wayne students in attendance also thought one of the best parts of the festival was the positive and encouraging atmosphere that the directors created at the event.

“Even when we were corrected, we were still told we were doing well,” eighth grade trombone player Elizabeth Wasylyk said.

In the end, all of the students who participated in Middle Grades were thrilled with the outcome.

“At the start of our rehearsals everything wasn’t set to go, but by the time we got on stage for the show we could see a really big change,” tenor Adam Kellogg explained.

Many of the students from Western Wayne who participated at Middle Grades plan to continue their study of the arts in high school whether it be in visual art classes, chorus class, the musical theater program, or in band.

Eighth graders Jake Larsen, Evan Peirce, and Elizabeth Wasylyk think their experience at Middle Grades along with their experiences in middle school band classes are better preparing them to be a part of Western Wayne’s prestigious marching band.

“Experience at events like Middle Grades are better preparing me for upcoming performances at Friday night games,” Elizabeth explained.