Orchestra Students go to Districts

Addotta Addotta, Reporter

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Orchestra students auditioned on Dec. 1 for PMEA Districts, and three students will attend the festival in Jan.

The Pennsylvania Music Association (PMEA) Districts is a state-wide competition where orchestra students play a piece and are graded on their skills.

This year the festival will be held in Central Dauphin High School on Jan. 10 and 11, and  junior Annie Hebel, freshman Zackary Sharkey and junior Lucas Schwanke will attend.

Even getting into districts is impressive, and because the festival includes students from every high school in Pennsylvania, ranking high is no easy feat.

Students have been preparing for several months for the competition. The piece all competing students must learn is released in summer, and then students usually practice the piece with their private instructor.

Orchestra Director Zachary Levi ultimately decides who he’ll take to Districts.   

Levi has always taken at least one student to Districts.

“I’ll…send [students] if they seem like they’ve prepared on the music,” said Levi. “There’s no guarantee that just because you know the music really well that you’re gonna get in, cause you don’t know what your competition’s gonna be like, but if you’re well prepared, if you seem like you know what you’re doing, I’ll take [those] students.”

Students who are chosen after auditions go to the festival, where they will audition their piece again for a panel of judges.

The judges decide where each competing student across Pennsylvania places.  

Students are given a number, and when their number is called, they enter a room with at least two judges, who are facing away from them.

The student will come in, play their piece and leave without talking.

“[PMEA sets] up the system to be as fair as possible,” said Levi.  

Susquehannock usually does well in these competitions, but it is not typical to rank very high, as Susquehannock sends fewer students than other larger schools.

Levi hoped the attending students did not stress over the auditions.

“Take your time… go in there, do the best you can and know that there’s so much of this process that is not in your control,” said Levi.


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