Northern Lehigh to host 55th Annual Lehigh County Band Festival
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Members of the Northern Lehigh High School who will perform Saturday in the 55th annual Lehigh County Honors Band Concert to be held at Northern Lehigh Middle School include (front row, l-r) Diane McKinney, Dana Fricker, Courtney Blocker, Sam Miller, Jamie Miller, Brie Williams, Cheyenne Troxell, (back row, l-r) Marc Beleno, Aidan Burke, Zac Schlegel, Kyle Smith, Olivia Dyer, Cory Wagner, and Clay Hardy. Missing from the photo is Abby Messinger.
Excuse them if they have a little extra spring in their step.
Come Saturday, adrenaline figures to be at an all-time high for Northern Lehigh High School Band members when the district hosts the 55th annual Lehigh County Honors Band Festival.
The event will be held at 2 p.m. in the Northern Lehigh Middle School auditorium. The Host director this year is David Carroll, Band Director of Northern Lehigh High School.
Carroll said the district is "proud to host this prestigious event." The district last hosted the festival in 2003.
The Lehigh County Honors band is made up of over 100 of the best student musicians from the 11 high schools in Lehigh County: Northern Lehigh; Southern Lehigh; Whitehall; Northwestern Lehigh; Catasauqua; Salisbury; Allentown Central Catholic; Emmaus; Parkland; Dieruff; and William Allen High School.
The students are selected to represent their schools by the Lehigh County Band Directors Association in early-December.
There are 15 Northern Lehigh High School students in the festival concert program this year, said Carroll, who added the festival concert requires 20 hours of rehearsal by the students and band directors.
Students from Northern Lehigh who will participate are seniors Dana Fricker, Courtney Blocker, Cory Wagner, and Clay Hardy; juniors Abby Messinger, Diane McKinney, Sam Miller-Brown, Jamie Miller, Marc Beleno, Aidan Burke, Zac Schlegel, Kyle Smith, and Olivia Dyer; and sophomore Cheyenne Troxell.
The selections for this year's concert are: The Star Spangled Banner, Cenotaph, On a HYMNSONG of Philip Bliss, Chant and Jubilo, Broadway Show-Stoppers Overture, Firebird Suite (Berceuse and Finale), The Sinfonians , Call of the Champions, MacArthur Park, Civil War Suite and the First Responders March.
The finale of the concert, The First Responders March composed by Mr. George E. Rutledge of Hanover Pennsylvania was written soon after the September 11th attacks on our country twelve years ago. It was created to honor and commemorate the bravery, self-sacrifice and heroism displayed by all first responders that terrible day in our nation's history, as well as all of the first responders past, present, and future who keep us safe and our county strong.
The fire bell in the march signals the call to duty and is meant to be reflective of all branches of first responders. The fire bell that will be used in the performance was lent to Northern Lehigh by the Slatington Fire Department. One of the Lehigh County Honors Band members, Junior Marc Beleno from Northern Lehigh, is a member of the Fire Department.
Carroll said he is "very grateful for the department's generosity."
"The purpose of this festival is to promote music education in our schools, show case the great musical talent that exist in Lehigh County, and to give our band students a unique and enriching instrumental experience which extends beyond the typical concert band settings that exist in most public schools," Carroll said. "I am pleased at the level of preparation all of the students have done to prepare for this year's concert."
Carroll added "I am, as always, very proud of my Northern Lehigh students."