L-S prepares to host District Orchestra festival

Three Lampeter-Strasburg high school students -- senior bassist Hannah Hess, senior percussionist Sam Welk, and sophomore violinist Melissa Long -- earned placement at the PMEA District 7 Orchestra festival, to be held January 15-16, 2016. On the surface, that is not especially atypical. What is atypical, however, is that the festival will be held at their home school. For the first time in L-S history, Lampeter-Strasburg High School is hosting a district orchestra festival.

Mr. Robert Shaubach, the orchestra director at L-S for grades 4-12, is co-hosting the festival with Mr. Gary Doll, instrumental music director at Solanco High School, and Mrs. Sara Masten, orchestra director at Penn Manor. Each has a specific role in the festival's coordination, and Shaubach is quick to credit his co-hosts.
Posters with the names of attending students
from each school will line the perimeter of the
Performing Arts Center

"I couldn't do it without co-hosts," he says.

That said, Shaubach acknowledges the work that goes into hosting a festival of this magnitude, including a ton of emails. It is worth it to him, however, for a variety of reasons.

"Doing something like this is good for our community, good for our school, and good for our music program," he says. "If it inspires one or two of our kids to do something more, then it is worth the work."

Shaubach also mentions that when he was in high school, he had the opportunity to attend a lot of festivals, and he found them to be fun and valuable experiences that he wants to pay forward to his current students.

Dr. Brian Norcross, senior director of instrumental music and conducting studies at Franklin & Marshall College and a father of four L-S alumni -- all of whom excelled in music, most recently Gloria, a cellist who graduated in 2015, will serve as the clinician for the event. Shaubach called him an "obvious choice".

"I know he's the man for the job," Shaubach says. "He is the sort of person you want in front of these kids."

Shaubach went on to note the collaborative nature of Norcross's rehearsals, and his willingness to play engaging repertoire, not all of which is simply classical music -- three of the pieces the group will play are from the 21st century -- as other key reasons Norcross will make for a great director.

In fact, one of the pieces the ensemble will play was commissioned specifically for this event. Entitled "Second Sight: A Symphonic Fanfare", it was included in the registration cost for each student to pay to have this piece commissioned. Francis J. Caravella, the orchestra director at Manheim Township who is a friend and colleague of both Shaubach's and Norcross's, and who is an avid composer and arranger, wrote the piece that will make its world debut at the festival.

"We wanted to make this festival unique," says Shaubach.

Many students who will be in attendance have other festivals throughout the winter, making it easy for them to be "a drag", so the hosts have worked hard to make this festival unique both artistically through the commissioned piece, and socially with special events like a make-your-own sundae bar planned after a long day of rehearsal.

Students will arrive on Friday morning the 15th, and have approximately 14 hours of rehearsal time before the concert on Saturday, January 16 at 5 PM, an early start time Shaubach says is to give students a chance to go out and eat with their families afterwards, or just get an early start going home.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for students, and can be purchased at the door.

"It's all coming together," says Shaubach. "It should be fun."

--Benjamin Pontz, LSNews.org Editor-In-Chief

Popular posts from this blog

Rumble Fish Book Review

Book Review: Read the story of 14-year-old 'Tex' an aimless, trouble-prone youth

Teacher Spotlight: The Remarkable Mrs. Ingram