Hitting high notes


Morgan Stewart

From Thursday, Jan. 28 to Saturday, Jan. 30, three FHS students went to New Castle High School to compete in a district band festival. Juniors Hannah Shumsky, Kameron Mayhue and Nikki Kammer competed.
District Band rankings determined which students were representing Freedom.

On the first day of this three-day festival, students auditioned to see which chair they would be placed in. Mayhue placed second chair for trumpet, Shumsky placed third chair for clarinet and Kammer placed sixth chair for flute. The chairs they won showed how they scored against the rest of their section.

To audition, each player went into an empty classroom and played for three judges, who had their backs turned. It was a blind audition where each student played two or three of the festival’s concet music, which was hand-picked by the judges.

“The reaudition is easily the most intense part of the festival. We have no idea what songs we will play for the judges until right before we enter the room,” Shumsky said. They started practicing that evening after the auditions

The next day was spent practicing with a guest conductor, Dr. William Stowman of Messiah College in Mechanicsburg. Later that day, they performed in their marching band uniforms.

“I thought the festival was really fun. The conductor was hilarious,” Kammer said. “The song selection was amazing, and everyone played with such emotion. It was an amazing experience.”

The songs performed were: “Star Spangled Banner,” “PMEA March,” “Uplifted,” “Seal Lullaby,” Danzón No. 2,” “An American Elegy” and “His Honor.”

“This past district band festival was one of the most memorable I’ve attended, mainly because the guest conductor was hysterically funny,” Mayhue said.

Mayhue and Shumsky did well enough in District 5 to advance to Region 1 Band. At Region 1 Band, which will take place at Valley High School on March 9-11, Mayhue and Shumsky will reaudition for the opportunity to advance to the All-State Festival.
“It really is a privilege to represent FHS at events that include people from all over the [region],” Mayhue said. “The state’s festival would be no exception. I can only hope that Hannah and I have what it takes to achieve such a high honor.”