Bandfest features young performers

Bandfest seventh and eighth grade conductor Kathleen Riley cues performers during the concert held Friday night at Lakeland High School. Riley is an elementary music teacher in the Western Wayne School District. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Bandfest seventh and eighth grade conductor Kathleen Riley cues performers during the concert held Friday night at Lakeland High School. Riley is an elementary music teacher in the Western Wayne School District. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

BY STACI WILSON

Young musicians from 32 area school districts descended on the Lakeland School District Friday for PMEA District 9 ‘Bandfest 2013.’

Musicians in grades five through eight were selected by their directors to attend the one-day festival that culminates with a performance by two select bands – a fifth and sixth grade group and a seventh and eighth grade group.

The two groups were led by brother and sister directors Vincent LoRusso and Kathleen Riley.

LoRusso is the director at Blue Ridge Middle and High School. Riley is the elementary music teacher at Evergreen Elementary in the Western Wayne School District.

Selections splayed by the fifth and sixth grade band included “Midnight Suite,” by Brian Balmages; “Surpirse Symphony Variations,” by John O’Reilly; and “The Quest,” by Samuel R. Hazo.

LoRusso said he has noticed that middle school musicians like to play “fast and loud.”

Those attributes led him to choose to end their portion of the concert with “More Cowbell,” by Mark Williams; and a rendition of the Isley Brothers hit “Shout,” by Gerald Sebesky.

The seventh and eighth grade band performed stunning arrangements that featured each instrument during the concert.

Blue Ridge Middle and High School band director Vincent LoRusso conducted the fifth and sixth grade participants at the PMEA District 9 Bandfest held Friday at Lakeland High School. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Blue Ridge Middle and High School band director Vincent LoRusso conducted the fifth and sixth grade participants at the PMEA District 9 Bandfest held Friday at Lakeland High School. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Songs performed included the rich, traditional harmonies of Frank Erickson’s “Balladair;” the exuberant “Joy” by Frank Ticheli; and the “Piper’s Rhapsody” by James Hosay.

“Piper’s Rhapsody” is a piece comprised of tunes usually performed on bagpipes and hornpipe, including “Scotland the Brave,” “Loch Lomond,” “Sailor’s Hornpipe,” and a beautiful arrangement of “Amazing Grace.”

Capping off the night’s entertainment, the band performed the exciting “Ignite the Night” by James Swearington.