Sounds of the symphony orchestra filled the air as the district orchestra warmed up in preparation for their concert. Musicians from 32 schools from all over district 11 came to play in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s (PMEA) concert held at Middle School East on January 27th.
This was the first time that Perkiomen Valley had the opportunity to host a music festival. Mr. Suloman, the orchestra director at the high school, had the honor of being the host director. Previously, only district band had been hosted by the district and that was back in 2018.
Along with hosting, PVSD had the pleasure of having four of their students participate in the district orchestra for the 2023 year: Lea Rubenstein (violin) , Nathan Feng (cello), Sara Zangrilli and Sean Francisco (bass).
“The concert was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed working with the conductor, he was very creative and I liked the way he focused on certain musical aspects,” Zangrilli said.
PMEA is a statewide nonprofit organization of members all across the state that are dedicated to promoting musical development. The modern organization began in 1933. It is exceedingly difficult to be accepted into a district musical ensemble, which is reflected by its audition process.
Each musician goes through live auditions which require them to play a number of scales, play excerpts from a practiced piece, and then finally sight read from a brand new piece. These auditions were held in December of 2022 and ensured that the best were accepted into the ensemble.
After practicing over a month for this festival, the two days before the concert were filled with rehearsals. Led by Mr. Timothy Schwarz, the guest conductor, the musicians spent the evening of January 25th through the morning of the concert practicing as a group.
Mr. Suloman started the planning of this festival almost a year in advance, and worked to make everything right. He said he did enjoy working with all the students for the concert, but admitted that he would not do it again.
“I can’t wait to hear the kids just creating music, they are very talented and I’m very excited to hear them play,” Suloman said.
The orchestra played four pieces, “The Moldau” from “Ma Vlast” (1789) composed by Bedřich Smetana, “The Hebrides” Overture, opus 26 (1830) by Felix Mendelssohn, “Lament” (2021) by Johan Hugosson, and for the finale, four movements of the “Swan Lake Suite”, Opus 20a (1900) by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
The concert sounded beautiful and awe inspiring with the talent that filled the auditorium. The effort these musicians exerted clearly shined through into the concert.
Along with various other celebrations and accolades, people selected to the regional competition were also recognized for their talent at the festival. For PV, Sara Zangrilli and Sean Francisco will both move onto the next stage, regionals, on March 9th and 11th.