Tri-State Band Festival shows importance of music in schools

Jill Barrile photo: Scott Meier, Ph.D. organized the weekend’s activities. Meier has been running the Tri- State festival at the Mercyhurst campus for nine years.Jill Barrile photo: Scott Meier, Ph.D. organized the weekend’s activities. Meier has been running the Tri- State festival at the Mercyhurst campus for nine years.This past weekend, Mercyhurst hosted the Tri-State Honors Band Festival for the 12th consecutive year.

This festival involves extremely talented high school music students gathering for three days to explore a repertoire of orchestral works.

This year the band worked under the direction of guest conductor Ricky Fleming, Ph.D.

“I really enjoyed watching the conductor, especially after getting to know him. He had a great technique, which seemed to transcend well into the students’ performance,” said Mercyhurst junior Adam Ferrari.

Fleming is an extremely accomplished musician and is currently an associate professor of music at Buffalo State College.

In addition to this, he is the founding conductor of the Erie County Chamber Winds, and, as a trombonist, Fleming has performed for the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Four Tops, Connie Francis, Frankie Valli and has toured with the Irish Tenors.

The D’Angelo Department of Music’s Scott Meier, Ph.D., coordinated the festival with the help of extremely dedicated music students at his side.

This was Meier’s ninth consecutive year successfully organizing this event, highlighting not only the extraordinary students from the high schools in our areas, but also the students of the Mercyhurst community.

The students demonstrated the upmost respect for one another, Fleming and our facilities during their time on campus

Not only were they one of the most courteous groups to visit our campus in years, but they also gave the most stunning concert from a high school band in years.

Senior Marie Karbacka said that “the concert was lovely—a great selection of pieces for a high school band.”
“I truly enjoyed watching Dr. Fleming conduct. He had a very unique style,” she said.

The concert featured advanced music for high school students, especially for the extremely short amount of time that the instrumentalists had to learn it.
The first piece was “Trauermusik” by Richard Wagner, which effectively caught the attention of the audience.

A few of the other arrangements were by well-known composers, such as Ralph Vaughan Williams and Frank Ticheli.
The Tri-State Honors Band festival was definitely a hit with everyone who took part in the experience. Edgewood high school (Ashtabula, Ohio) senior Megan Greenfield was the top audition for the alto saxophone section.

“The tri-state festival is such a good experience for high school musicians,” she said. “It gives students who are interested in music a chance to play with other like-minded students. It’s always a very rewarding experience for me, and I always come away feeling like a more accomplished musician.”

If anything is definite, it’s that the display of musicianship exemplified at this festival has rekindled any lost hope in the arts and has proven the point that the arts should be kept in our schools.