Congratulations to seniors Nick Cerone (baritone saxophone) and Jonathan Hong (oboe), who are finishing up their high school music careers with selections to the 2022 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) All-State Concert Band. They will also have the opportunity to participate in the All-State Festival at the Kalahari Resort & Conference Center in the Poconos on April 9.
"This affirms their status as two of the best musicians in the state of Pennsylvania among all public and private school student-musicians," shared Upper School Band Director Ryan Dankanich, Hon.
Due to the pandemic, auditions for PMEA were held online this year. The audition process consisted of three rounds of auditions, each of which required students to record and submit videos of themselves playing specific musical excerpts. Judges scored students on categories such as Intonation, Technique, and Rhythm, among others. The group of the highest-scoring musicians in each round of auditions were selected for District Band, Regional Band, and All-State Band, respectively.
"It feels awesome to have this opportunity during my senior year, since it feels like a good capstone to my music career during the past four years," Jonathan said. "I had made it into All-State Orchestra last year, but it wasn't the same, because everything was online. Now that the festival is going to be in person this year, it feels great knowing I'll have the opportunity to play with other talented musicians across the state and get the full experience before graduating high school."
Nick said it is "an honor" to be selected during his senior year. "It feels like everything I've done, every note I've played since fourth grade, was all just buildup for this," he explained. "I hope to make the most of it."
While they are certainly looking forward to the All-State Festival, both Jonathan and Nick say it's a "bittersweet feeling" to be nearing the end of their last year of high school band.
Nick, who started playing the saxophone in 4th grade, said he's most enjoyed the "countless opportunities to practice alone, play with friends, or perform in front of an audience" as a member of the EA music program. "Any time I felt a spark of passion to further pursue my instrument, EA provided an avenue to do so," he said. "I will miss being surrounded by other students and teachers who are just as inspired as I am to learn more about performing. They've always pushed me to be better, so I owe a lot of my success now to them."
Jonathan is thankful to "be able to participate in activities like this, play during Chapel or other school events, or just meet up with friends in the band room and have fun playing music." Having played oboe since 4th grade, he says that he's "always felt like I've had plenty of ways to express myself musically at EA." Jonathan says he's also "grown as a musician in the sense that I see music less as just playing correct notes and rhythms, and more as an art full of expression." He says he's "extremely grateful to all the people who have supported me at EA–especially Mr. Dankanich and Mr. Finegan, who helped me improve and be the best musician I can be–and also my peers, who have always been immense sources of inspiration to me."