On Saturday, February 4, the Licking Heights Middle School Wind Ensemble will make history: it is the first time they will perform at the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) Professional Development Conference.
“Being selected to perform at this event is an amazing opportunity and one that many schools, specifically a middle school band, do not ever get a chance to do,” says Doug Perry, Director of Bands for Licking Heights Middle School. “Being chosen as one of the performance groups is a testament to a fine program.”
During the four-day conference, band directors, choir directors, orchestra directors and general music teachers from all over the state can attend over 250 different sessions, including performances led by prominent leaders in their respective field.
As one of the chosen student performances, Perry says the Wind Ensemble will be playing for an appreciative and trained audience. He, along with his colleagues and friends, have worked to make this 45-minute performance as rewarding and memorable as possible for the students.
This includes playing a piece with Dr. Tiffany Damicone, a prominent horn performer throughout Central Ohio; performing under Mr. Randall Standrige, a highly sought after composer for the middle school and high school level; and premiering a new piece for the first time ever.
Perry notes this piece has a special significance to both Licking Heights students and OMEA–it was commissioned by Mrs. Patricia Meeks in honor of her late husband, Mr. Dan Meeks. Mr. Meeks was a middle school band director, adjudicator and percussion caption head for OMEA and friend to the Licking Heights band staff.
“All of these opportunities are truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students in the Wind Ensemble,” Perry says.
In preparation for this performance, the MS Wind Ensemble will perform a preview concert for parents and community members on Thursday, January 26 at 7 pm in the High School Auditorium, 4101 Summit Road, Pataskala, OH 43062.
This performance will include the Brass Band of Columbus, a semi-professional ensemble, that will also perform at the OMEA Professional Development Conference. Both Perry and Meg Beavers, Band Director at Licking Heights High School, are members.
“Sharing a concert with this group is also an amazing opportunity for the students of Licking Heights,” Perry says.