Honors Band brings live music back to Weber Chapel | News

SELINSGROVE — A masked audience crowded into Weber Chapel Auditorium on Sunday for the 29th Annual Susquehanna University Honors Band Festival Gala Concert.

The yearly festival is intended to allow high school students to work with other performers of their age in a multi-day intensive effort, according to the event’s website.

This concert marked the first live music festival at the university since the beginning of the pandemic, said David Steinau, music department chair at Susquehanna University.

The performances featured the 2022 Honors Band, the 2022 Honors Band Wind Ensemble and the 2022 Festival Band.

Members of the bands ranged from students in the Valley to neighboring states, including Delaware, New Jersey and more.

Aaron D. Himes, a 2011 graduate of Susquehanna University and the festival’s guest conductor, said that students practiced for nine hours on Saturday before their performance.

“It was kind of a one-day festival and needless to say we were all quite exhausted,” he said in his opening remarks. “But hopefully [we’re] satisfied with the results and the experience.”

Himes, who is from Mifflinburg, said that he looks back positively on the festival from when he participated in high school.

“I think for myself, and hopefully for many students, we learned that it’s coming together to play the music that was a particular value to us and why we do this,” he said.

Eric L Hinton, associate professor of music and director of bands at Susquehanna, told the audience that he hopes that the enjoyed the festival, and he hopes to see them back at Susquehanna.

“Of course for us, it’s a little bit selfish because we want them to be interested in Susquehanna,” he said.

Hinton mentioned that Susquehanna hosts summer music camps, available from July 10 to 16.

Although Sunday’s concert was free and open to the public, many audience members had personal connections to the performers.

Walter Boyer, from Herndon, was there in support of his grandson, Dustin Baumert, a trombone player in the Honors Band and Wind Ensemble. Boyer said he thinks that this is a great opportunity for the students to perform in a professional setting while still in high school.

Steinau ended his remarks by thanking the audience for their support.

“I’d like to say thank you to everyone here actually because all of you have played a role in keeping music alive and energized in the schools the past two years, and that is the students, the teachers, parents, families, fans of live music, and that’s really everyone here,” he said.

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