CLINTON TWP. — Lackawanna Trail High School’s band, directed by Kevin Dikeman, had the double honor of both hosting and participating in this year’s Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District 9 Ninth Grade Honors Band.
Trail students Abby Dalton, Elizabeth Rothwell, Clare Raser, Rachel Saxton, Owen Scioscia, Amanda Haft, Alec Jones and JR Decker were among the more than 50 freshmen from eight different schools who participated in the event, which included a full day of rehearsals under the direction of guest conductor Gretchen Benson from the Pocono Mountain School District. It culminated with a public concert in the evening.
Raser, who plays the clarinet, said she especially enjoyed the social aspect of the day.
“I love how they take multiple people from different schools and they bring them all together,” she said. “It not only helps you meet new people, but it is a good experience.”
During the breaks, the director instructed each student to interact with at least two people he or she didn’t already know, which Raser said is helpful in developing better social skills.
Rothwell agreed “meeting new people” was one of the best aspects of the day.
She also added “being challenged with new music” to that list.
Kevin Kreinberg, PMEA District 9 president, explained students are selected for the honors band through an audition process, in which they are required to submit a recording to demonstrate their skills. Once accepted, the musicians receive the music, with just two weeks to practice before the event. They spend the entire day in rehearsal to prepare for the public concert, which is attended mostly by family members and friends.
Kreinberg said the students’ dedication paid off.
“They did fantastic,” he said. “The group sounds fantastic. It’s a great bunch of kids – well-prepared – and that’s demonstrated by their performance.”
Other participating schools included Blue Ridge High School, Dunmore High School, Hazleton Area High School, Lake-Lehman Jr./Sr. High School, Montrose Area High School, Mountain View Jr./Sr. High School and Susquehanna Jr./Sr. High School.