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Gabriel Youth Ensemble performance features local musicians

  • ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS The orchestra was under the direction of John F. Potlunas, who retired last year as director of the Tamaqua band program.
    ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS The orchestra was under the direction of John F. Potlunas, who retired last year as director of the Tamaqua band program.
Published May 04. 2012 05:01PM

Young musicians from all over Schuylkill County took part in the Gabriel Youth Orchestra's annual Spring Concert held recently at the D.H.H. Lengel Auditorium in the Pottsville Middle School.

The program included a vast variety of works, from the Fanfare for the Common Man by Copland to Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik to excerpts of Pirate of the Carribean and Phantom of the Opera.

Two spotlight solo performers were Tiffany Cheng on piano and Joshua Kovich playing the French Horn. They were the winners of the first annual Gabriel Chamber Ensemble Youth Competition.

Born in Pottsville, Cheng started playing the piano at the young age of five. After discoverting she possessed a natural gift for music, she was enrolled at the Leopold Mozart Academy in Philadelphia under Director Ursula Ingolfsson-Fassbing. Her passion and creativity flourished and in 2004, her efforts were rewarded with a performance at Carnegie Hall, a first but not her last. She returned three years later in 2007 and again this past February after winning numerous music competitions. Today she is a student of Frances Veri, founder of the PA Music Academy in Lancaster, PA. Currently a junior at Pottsville Area High School (PAHS), Cheng plays the violin in the Gabriel Youth Orchestra and the piano in the PAHS Jazz Band.

The son of David and Jayne Kovich, Joshua D. Kovich is one today's Young Artists' Competition soloists. A senior at Pottsville Area High School, Kovich is the current Principal Horn of the PAHS Concert Band as well as the Bass player of the Jazz Band. Kovich has been studying horn privately with Mr. Richard Fries since 8th grade, studied bass with Mr. David Seward from 8th grade until 10th grade, and has been studying Jazz Bass, Jazz Improvisation, and Music Theory with Mr. Larry Koch of the Braun School of Music since junior year. For his senior year, Kovich was elected Vice-President of the Band. During his tenure at Pottsville, Kovich successfully auditioned for the Schuylkill County Band all four years and served as Principal Horn for two. Kovich has been selected to play with the Allentown Band in their annual "Side-by-Side Concert" since sophomore year. During his sophomore year, Kovich successfully auditioned for PMEA District 10 Band and Orchestra and has continued to be accepted into these ensembles up through senior year. During his senior year, Kovich served as Principal Horn of both District Band and Orchestra. In addition to Districts, Josh has successfully auditioned for PMEA Region V Band and Region IV/V Orchestra in both junior and senior year. Senior year saw Kovich's successful audition into the 2012 PMEA All-State Concert Band on first horn.

The orchestra, under the direction of John F. Potlunas, was comprised of local talent as well, consisting of Jenny Beck, New Ringgold; Molly Betz, Tamaqua; Andrew Chawluk, New Ringgold; Julian Gerace, Tamaqua; Daniel Heim, New Ringgold; Kyle Karlavage, Barnesville; Elizabeth Lehman, Tamaqua; Steven Moyer, New Ringgold; Shane Mulligan, Tamaqua; Ellen Perkins, Lehighton; Samantha Postupak, Tamaqua; Erin Raymond, Andreas; and Julia Shellhamer, New Ringgold.

For more information about the Gabriel Youth Ensemble contact Agnès Maurer, Executive Director, GYE, at (570) 943-2558 or via

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