Excellent musicianship certainly doesn’t start at the collegiate level. With a strong drive and determination, even beginning musicians have the ability to move an audience.
This past weekend, Mercyhurst was once again the home of the Tri-State Music Festival, which was coordinated and conducted by Associate Professor of Saxophone and Music Education Scott Meier, Ph.D.
More than 70 high school students from eight schools organized themselves and gave a spectacular concert in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center (PAC).
The festival itself lasts a grand total of three days of music-filled excitement and enrichment.
But these three days aren’t all fun and games, there is an incredible amount of practice and hard work that must be crammed into what little time the students spend together.
Although this almost seems like an impossible amount of work to get done in such a short period of time, these high school students are the top in their bands and hand selected by their directors.
The festival commenced with the Tri-State Prism Concert Friday, Jan. 11. The program features the Mercyhurst Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Vocal Jazz group and “The Monks Brew,” Mercyhurst’s resident jazz band who have made quite a name for themselves in the area.
The hard work and efforts of the high school students lead up to a performance in the PAC on Saturday, Jan. 12, and words can barely describe the performance that was given.
The concert started off with a grand Russian march-esque piece by Reinhold Gliere.
The nationalistic “Russian Sailors’ Dance” was a great way to start the program, featuring the students’ abilities to work with and understand music from different cultures.
Second in the program was a fantastic rendition of “Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo” by Malcolm Arnold.
Just these pieces alone showcased the students’ ability to understand the vast difference that can be found in two pieces of repertoire.
The program then slowed down a bit with “Hymn to the Fallen,” a solemn piece that transitioned nicely into the final selection, “The Forest of the King,” by John Williams. The Tri-State Festival is a great opportunity for high school students to experience a fast paced, but educational music experience in a fun and inviting environment.
Not only does the festival build musician camaraderie between schools, but also builds skills and facilitates social growth.
The visiting students have the opportunity to spend days getting to know each other and even enjoy attending a dance held for them by the music department on Friday night. From Meier to the visiting high school students, and even the Mercyhurst music students that helped with the event, this was an unforgettable experience that left all with a renewed sense of teamwork and self-accomplishment.