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Students Received Drinko Grants to Participate in Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ten Westminster College students and their band director participated in the 64th annual Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band March 4-6 at Juniata College.

Students, who are nominated by their band directors, must submit a résumé of performance experience, solo repertoire performed, and participation in their current program.  A selection committee meets in late November or early December to make the final selections for the band that includes approximately 100 students from about 30 colleges and universities across the state.

"We are very proud that Westminster had the largest number of musicians from any school this year," said Dr. R. Tad Greig, Westminster associate professor of music and director of bands.  "Although they compete with musicians from schools with significantly larger enrollment, our students commonly have one of the larger representations of musicians accepted."

Guest conductor for this year's band was Dr. Mark Scatterday, conductor of the famed Eastman Wind Ensemble, arguably one of the top wind ensembles in the world, according to Greig.  Scatterday chose a program that included standard repertoire (Percy Grainger's "Lincolnshire Posy") and more modern work (Frank Ticheli's "Blue Shades").

Following an initial rehearsal, students auditioned for chair placements within their section.  In the Westminster group, four earned first chair, four earned second chair, and one earned third chair.

"It is significant that our musicians are accepted to this ensemble and even more significant that they consistently place in the top or near the top chair placement," Greig said.  "I am proud of the professionalism with which these students approach the preparation and performance for this honors event."

"Monica Ruhlman and I were both on the fourth French horn part, which was a different part than we usually play," said senior psychology and music major Katie DiCola, who earned first chair in the section.  "The set-up of the band was also different, which was nice because we had to rely more on our listening skills to figure out the music."

Ruhlman, a senior English major who earned second chair in the section, agreed that it was a good experience: "I learned a lot from Dr. Scatterday and had the opportunity to bond with the other students who attended."

Senior music education major Natalie Bok, who earned second chair in the first trombone section, appreciated the opportunity to participate: "It was an educational experience to work with the guest conductor and kids from all over."

"It was a great experience," said senior music education major Shawn Sisler.  "You learn a lot sitting in an ensemble in front of a great conductor like Dr. Scatterday.  I learned different approaches to working with a large ensemble and a few tricks pedagogically."

Greig, who serves as chair of Westminster's Department of Music, joined the faculty in 1995.  He earned an undergraduate degree from Grove City College, master's from Youngstown State University, and Ph.D. from Kent State University.

Westminster's participation in the festival was supported by travel/presentation grants from Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

The Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences.  Visit www.westminster.edu/drinko for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.

Contact Greig at (724) 946-7279 or e-mail greigrt@westminster.edu for additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top tier liberal arts college, a national leader in graduation rate performance, and a "Great School, Great Price," according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 38th among liberal arts colleges, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 373 Colleges" and "Best in the Northeast" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

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