State-Ranked SLHS Musicians Attend PMEA Conference


Mr. Larry Fisher

Senior Jake Finkbeiner (left), senior Marissa Harley (center), and sophomore Helena Munoz (right) traveled to Pittsburgh to attended the PMEA conference alongside junior Drew Curtis.

Saskia Van't Hof, Features Editor

From April 4th to April 7th, four music students, sophomore Helena Munoz, junior Drew Curtis, senior Jake Finkbeiner, and senior Marissa Harley, attended the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Conference in Pittsburgh.

“The all state conference is a combination of student festival and a professional development conference for music teachers from around the state,” music teacher Mr. Larry Fisher said. “The students that went were able to perform with the best student musicians in the state. They were able to do some networking and work with elite faculty members in ensembles. They performed very difficult music at a very high level.”

At the event, students spent many hours practicing and attending different instrumental workshops. The group was also able to watch a concert by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as well as a concert my the United States Marine Band. At the end of the trip, the four students joined other top high school musicians and played in a full concert.

“[The PMEA conference] was a really great experience. Getting to play with different high schoolers was really fun, but my favorite part was definitely the car ride with Mr. Fisher, Helena, and Jake,” Harley said. “It was really fun spending time with them and being able to play music at the same time.”

With a focus on music education, the conference also allowed Mr. Fisher to expand his knowledge of music. He visited many specific sessions that addressed different topics, ranging from teaching intonation to world drumming.

The four students in particular have had a very successful year leading up to the conference. After qualifying in the district and regional sectors, Curtis and Harley were selected for state band while Munoz and Finkbeiner were chosen for the state orchestra.

“I’ve worked really hard this year to get to where I am, so it was really rewarding to see all our hard work pay off and to reach our goal of playing a full concert,” Munoz said. “I learned that the most important thing you need to be successful is discipline and determination.”

As the 2018-2019 school year comes to a close, the band and orchestra students are already preparing for next year’s music season. The PMEA conference will be held again in 2020 at the Kalahari Resort in the Poconos.