Westminster College Wind Ensemble Earns Top Honors in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - The Westminster College Wind Ensemble earned a standing ovation for their performance at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) State Conference on April 19 at the Erie Convention Center.

In order to be selected to perform at the conference, ensembles had to submit audition recordings to PMEA where they are listened to in a blind audition process. Westminster's Wind Ensemble was the only collegiate/university wind ensemble selected for this honor. 

The judges listened to unmarked recordings of live performances and only knew whether the auditions were from junior high schools, senior high schools or universities/colleges. There are no separate divisions in the collegiate judging and the largest universities are evaluated on the same level as the smallest colleges. 

"This is the aspect that makes me so proud of the accomplishments of our instrumentalists," said Dr. R. Tad Greig, conductor of the Wind Ensemble and chair of the department of music. "Our musicians are competing for performance slots with everyone, regardless of school size." 

In addition, members of the wind ensemble were asked to perform pieces composed by collegiate through public school students who were the winners of the PMEA Young Composers Contest.  A sub-set of the wind ensemble, the student brass quintet and a duet for xylophone and piano were performed for an additional session. 

"We were happy to offer our musical services to other students represented at the conference as well.  Our students performed the compositions as perfectly as possible so that the young composers would have a professional recording of their pieces".

Once an ensemble performs for the state conference, they are not permitted for the next three years, so the Wind Ensemble has been eligible to submit recordings three times and has been selected each time since 2004.

The Westminster Wind Ensemble members are selected through audition at the beginning of each fall semester.  Though three-quarters of the musicians selected are music majors or music minors, there are other very talented students from other degree areas that are selected as well.

"The bands, orchestras and choirs at Westminster are a testament to the liberal arts ideal.  Certainly our majors and minors have required participation, but we benefit so much from the musical talents of those whose primary academic focus is in another area.  Moreover, we hope that these artistic endeavors provide intellectual development and aesthetic growth for these same students," Greig said.

The Department of Music seeks to provide professional training to talented students who pursue careers as performers, teachers, church musicians, and scholars, and to offer experiences in music to all persons of the College and community, thereby enriching cultural backgrounds and developing musical skills. The department annually hosts the District Five Honors Chorus, Honors Band and the Assessment Festival.

Visit www.westminster.edu/culture for information about upcoming events.  

Contact Greig at (724) 946-7279 or email 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 and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 377 Colleges" 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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