Lehighton Area Middle School music department presentedits17th annual spring instrumental concert last evening to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters of the music program.

According to Thomas Weidner, fifth and sixth grade band and chorus director, "If you think music is an important component of a child's education, it is very important - considering the current state of affairs -that you let your school adminstrators, school board members, state legislators, the state secretary of education, and governor know how you feel."

Under the direction ofWeidner, the fifth and sixth grade bandopened the evening's concert with"Character,"composed by Larry Clark. This was followed by theNative American Indian-inspired"Anasazi"by John Edmondson andJohn Phillip Sousa's classic march "Manhattan Beach."The fifth and sixth grade band concludedtheir portion of the program with Journey's "Any Way You Want It."

Alsounderthe direction ofWeidner, thejazz ensembleopened their portion of the concert withan original piece composed by Mike Story that wasinspired by Count Basie called "Basie-Cally the Blues."This selection featuredRayann Lehman on piano and Mikayla Blakeslee on alto saxophone.Next, the musical talentof Emily Cerimele on piano was showcasedon Duke Ellington's "Azure."The jazz ensembleconcluded their portion of the program with the disco classic "Y.M.C.A." - featuring eighth grade percussionistMatthew Shanton.Weidner then presented the eighth grade musicians with jazz CDs as a token of his appreciation for theirhard work and dedication.

During intermission, Randy Rabenold and James Wentz fromLehighton AMVETS Post 106presented awards to the winners of the AMVETSannualposter and essay contest.

Under the direction of Beth Perkins, the seventh and eighthgrade band opened their portion of the programwitha classic overture entitled "Excellentia Overture" by David Shaffer - withsolos by Korynn Hann on flute and Nathan Kroboth on trumpet. Dallas C. Burke's "ASpirit Unconquered" also featured Kroboth on trumpet, along with Hunter McCabe on bells. The musical talents of clarinet soloists Brandon Cressley and Rayann Lehman were showcased in"Paramount Park" by Eric Rath.

Vivaldi's"Harvest Echos"from his masterpiece "The Four Seasons" featured the trumpet trios of Caleb Carpenter, Jake Hofner, and Kelly Schneck and Brett Mausteller, Cody Semmel, and Gabrielle Larrimore.Eighth grade percussionists Christopher Lawler and Matthew Shanton werefeatured on thenovelty number "MalletManiacs."As a special last-minute addition to the concert, the band performed a medley of tunes from theWalt Disney Pictures1992 animatedclassic "Aladdin." Theseventh and eighth gradebandconclude the evening's concert with a toe-tapper called "Pulsar" by Eric Osterling.

Perkins gratefully acknowledged,"The support that the middle school music department has received from Principal Dr. Mark McGalla and Assistant Principal Mr. Michael DeAngelo the past two years has really given our students the opportunity to expand and grow their talents. Tonight'sconcert is really a showcase for that support."

LAMS will host summer band for all students in grades five through eight from Monday, June 13 through Friday, July 8. More information on this program will be available by the end of the school year.