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Valley Forge Music Students Learn From the Best at Honors Ensemble Festival in November

Members from the Valley Forge choir and band had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most talented musicians and singers at the Ohio Music Education Association District IV and VII Honors Ensemble Festival. The event took place at Cleveland State University November 11-12.

The purpose of the Festival is for students to gain expert insight from master teacher-conductors that will help students improve their musical talents.

“They bring in a conductor who brings in a different kind of energy and ideas. To have my best musicians work with other great musicians from other schools is great because they got to collaborate and they usually don’t get to do that,” Valley Forge Choir Director Michele Haras said.

Dr. Scott MacPherson, the Director of Choral Activities at Kent State University, worked with the choir members. When the six members of the Valley Forge choir returned from the Festival Haras stated that she and the students had a discussion of what was the most beneficial lesson that they learned and how they could incorporate the experience.

Kris Morron, the Valley Forge Band and Orchestra Director, echoed Haras’ statements and said that he nominated the students he did because of their ability to share their musical knowledge.

“It’s not just the musical ability of the students that I look at but it’s also the dedication level and the personalities that I’m looking at. The eight kids I nominated are the best kids who are very responsible. They look out for their classmates. A lot of them are my section leaders and they deserve that opportunity,” Morron said. “They come back from that festival and they share those experiences with their classmates and it makes our ensembles better having them do those kinds of things.”

In a matter of two days the band ensemble, which was orchestrated by the Professor of Conducting and Director of Bands at the University of Georgia Dr. Cynthia Turner Johnston, rehearsed and held a concert the day of their last of practice.

“It was a really good chance to play with people who are just as good at the baritone as I was and even better in some cases,” Evan Lang, a junior baritone player said. “It was easier to be able to figure out music with them because they’re around the same skill level.”

For junior trumpet player Sierra Redmond it was a privilege to be nominated to play at the OMEA Festival out of a talented group of musicians.

“I felt really honored because out of everybody in the trumpet section I got picked to do it and there are a lot of trumpet players,” Redmond said. “I improved from going there because I was able to experience all this talent around me and it influenced me. I was able to see what kind of musician I could be.”