B-A hosts Junior High County Band


Sidney Patterson

Dr. Darrin Thornton leads Junior High County Band members at rehearsal.

Troy Walker, Staff Writer

Hosting band festivals has become routine for Bellwood Antis Band Director Mr. Patrick Sachse, and he knows how to get it done.

“The first time we hosted it (a band festival), it was tough but this is my third time and I’ve learned how to get it done efficiently,”  said Mr. Sachse.

Band can be tough, and it requires a lot of hard work and time put into it.

— Mr. Sachse

This year Bellwood-Antis will once again be hosting band festival, as the top young instrumentalists from several schools in Blair and surrounding counties converge on B-A for Junior High Blair County band.

The event starts today, and runs through tomorrow, January 31.  It’s highlighted by the Junior High County Band concert tomorrow evening.

There will be nine guest schools attending, plus Bellwood-Antis, making it 10 schools overall.

Mr. Sachse and the music department hosted two music festivals last year alone, including the PMEA District 6 Band Festival.

In total, 100 students are participating in county band, and those students will not be in regular classes for the next two days.

High school students from Bellwood-Antis playing in are freshmen Joyce Zheng, Evan Frye, and Alex Roberts.  There are also six middle school students including Noah Patton, Dakota Woomer, Halee Cassidy, Leah Farber, Logan Mock, and Andy Miller.

“Band can be tough, and it requires a lot of hard work and time put into it.  And making it to county band shows how hard you work,” said Mr. Sachse. “All 100 kids are working very hard.”

Mr. Sachse said students will also be pushed by their conductor, Dr. Darrin Thornton, who is an assistant professor of music at the Penn State School of Music.

“It’s an honor. I enjoy working with students of all ages, and it’s a lovely opportunity,” said Dr. Thornton.

Tickets for the concert, which begins at 7 p.m., are $5 for adults and $3 for students, and the will be sold at the door.  The night of the concert, group photos and official recordings will be available for purchase the night of the show.

Today will be a day full of rehearsals.  Tomorrow will consist of a morning rehearsal, an afternoon rehearsal, an after-school dinner, a time for taking pictures, and then the warm-up and concert.