Upper School Students Perform in PMEA Senior District Band Festival
Two Ellis Upper School students were selected to perform in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District 1 Senior Band. Hannah Pretter, Class of 2023, and Francesca LaRoche, Class of 2024, represented The Ellis School at the District 1 Senior Band Festival held on February 8–10 at Norwin High School.
“Hannah and Franny are both highly motivated musicians who were brave and chose to prepare for PMEA auditions this year,” says Elisa Hill, Ellis Instrumental Music Director and Performing Arts Department Chair. “Not only did they rehearse their solo pieces for weeks before auditions, but once they were selected for the ensemble they continued to prepare for the festival by practicing all of the repertoire that would be included at the event.”
Hannah, playing the french horn, and Francesca, playing the trumpet, performed seven musical selections alongside 120 students from schools in Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties with guest conductor Dr. Wendy Matthews from Kent State University. The arrangements they performed included a variety of collegiate-level repertoire from a number of composers with Pittsburgh connections.
The PMEA honors ensemble circuit is a way for students to extend their musical experiences past the walls of their individual high schools into the broader community. Students who choose to participate challenge themselves with high-level repertoire for auditions and concerts, work with professional guest conductors, and become members of ensembles which include the best young musicians from across the region. These experiences create opportunities for advancement and lifelong connections in the music education world.
“Hannah and Franny’s commitment required countless hours outside of school on top of their Ellis rehearsals,” says Ms. Hill. “They are both dedicated to being the best individual musicians they can be, and I couldn't be more proud of their growth as musicians and artists as they represent Ellis in our community.”