A Musical Experience

Youngstown State University professor Stephen Gage conducts a wind ensemble at Stambaugh Auditorium.
Youngstown State University professor Stephen Gage conducts a wind ensemble at Stambaugh Auditorium.

Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music is presenting its eighth annual Wind and Percussion Invitational on Friday at 7 p.m. in Stambaugh Auditorium.

The invitational will feature bands from South Range High School and Howland High School, in addition to the YSU Wind Ensemble. Also performing are Dana School of Music alumni Tim Sharek and Shawn Reynolds, instrumental teachers at Howland High School, and Kathryn Umble, YSU flute professor.

John Veneskey and Jeff DiCesare — also a Dana School of Music alumnus — conduct the South Range High School Wind Ensemble.

“I think it’s an outstanding experience, opportunity for the kids to play,” DiCesare said.

These annual concerts give the students a chance to interact with the college performers and get an insight on what the Dana School of Music is about.

Before the concert, both groups of high school students will arrive at YSU and be given the chance to either receive lessons or attend master classes from various professors for an hour. A rehearsal at Stambaugh will follow, where the students will also be treated to food. After all the preparation, they get ready to set the stage.

For Krista Murray, senior flute player at South Range, this will be her first and last invitational with YSU.

“I think it will be a great experience, and I’m excited to be able to play there as a senior,” Murray said. “Since I am not attending there, it will be cool to play at a place where I have been so many times to listen to.”

With every performance, there are some performers who are completely ready, and then there are the ones who are nervous about their first performance in a hall like Stambaugh.

“I do have a bit of nerves — not only are we playing in whole as a band, the seniors are playing Stambaugh’s band for one song,” Murray said.

The bands will collaborate in the performance of “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The Howland High School Symphonic Band will be the middle part of the performance with their own mix of songs ranging from classical to more modern pieces. Greg Rezabek, Howland conductor, mentioned how excited he and his band are to get the opportunity to play with YSU.

“It is an extra special treat to perform at YSU since myself, Tim Sharek and Shawn Reynolds — our co-directors — are all alumni of the Dana School of Music,” Rezabek said.

Rezabek said he is looking forward to his students being involved with the master classes before the performance.

“I hope that the audience has a truly enjoyable musical experience and that events like these will continue to continue to promote band music and music education in our schools,” he said.

The YSU Wind Ensemble will perform three songs of various genres and Joel Puckett’s 2010 “Shadow of Sirius for Solo Flute and Wind Ensemble” with Umble as the soloist.

Stephen Gage, conductor for the YSU Wind Ensemble, has been involved with the invitationals since the beginning. He said he is very proud of all of his students that get to perform and is excited for the students from the high schools to be involved with the Dana School of Music.

“I don’t think there’s a better ambassador activity than for students to come here and spend the day, especially around our students in a gorgeous hall like Stambaugh Auditorium,” Gage said. “I can’t fathom a more appealing experience for them.”