By Alyssa Weston
The Youngstown State University Dana School of Music’s Percussion and Wind Ensembles performed at the Ohio Music Education Association State Conference Feb. 8 and 9 in Columbus.
More than 50 Dana School of Music students attended the conference. Nine were from the percussion ensemble, and the rest were from the wind ensemble.
Thomas Starr, senior composition major, is a member of the percussion and wind ensemble.
“My favorite part of the experience this year was getting the opportunity to perform with my percussion colleagues in our percussion ensemble convention performance,” he said.
Herbert Hunkele, a senior music performance major, is a member of the wind ensemble. He said all members were allowed to attend the conference, but two of the selections required a more condensed ensemble.
“Some of us played more than others,” he said.
Hunkele said he enjoyed viewing different schools and companies that present themselves at the conference.
“I got to try about a dozen different trumpets from a few different brands, so that was really cool,” he said.
Marissa Lyerly, graduate student in clarinet performance, is a member of the wind ensemble. She said members audition at the beginning of each semester and everyone who earned a spot had the opportunity to perform at the OMEA conference.
Lyerly said it was an honor to be able to represent YSU in this way.
“My favorite part of the experience was to be able to show everyone what we do here at the Dana School of Music. It was also a great networking experience, and just a rewarding way to apply everything we work on in rehearsals throughout the week,” she said.
Stephen Gage, director of the wind ensemble, was responsible for the selected pieces they performed.
“The students did a magnificent job representing YSU,” he said.
Brandon Maffitt, a sophomore music education major, is a member of the percussion ensemble. Maffitt said he enjoyed being able to see many local educators and alums to come and support the ensemble.
“It’s a good experience overall. They get to see what the program has molded [in]to since they’ve graduated, and we get to show them what we’re capable of doing,” he said.
Maffitt said he attended different performances and clinics at the conference that helped advance his methods as a musician and educator.
“I was even offered a gig to play in a musical later this year at an area high school,” he said. “I was working the YSU booth at the event and helped with giving information to prospective students and to help recruit.”
Glenn Schaft, director and instructor of percussion studies, was responsible for selecting the programs that the percussion ensemble performed. Schaft said there were many factors in deciding what music to play, such as the amount of variety the piece had, to showcase the talent of the ensemble to the fullest extent.
The Dana School of Music’s wind and percussion ensemble will perform at the YSU Wind and Percussion Invitational at Stambaugh Auditorium Feb. 23.