Shippensburg University hosted the 74th Annual Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band Festival in the Luhrs Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Feb. 27. Founded in 1948, the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band is the oldest continually operating band of its kind in the United States.
Student musicians and college band directors traveled from all over the state to attend an intensive three-day weekend rehearsal schedule, followed by a free admission concert. Alongside Shippensburg University, 19 other schools were present at the festival including Bloomsburg University, Carnegie Mellon University, Juniata College and Penn College.
Additionally, the festival annually invites a guest conductor to lead the band. This year, the students were under the direction of Director of Bands and Professor of Music, Richard M. Heidel from the University of Iowa. It was special to have Heidel lead the festival this year because before his career at the University of Iowa began, he was the previous band director at Shippensburg University until 2000.
Shippensburg had eight of its own students participate in the festival as well; William ‘Ryan’ Cleary (timpani), Ethan Koppenhaver (alto sax), Ryann Libor (clarinet), Cassandra Oakes (percussion), Emily Osilka (tuba), Nicholas Snively (baritone saxophone), Thomas Stangel (trumpet) and Nathaniel Widmann (trombone).
During the concert, the band performed the songs “Shimmering Sunshine” by Kevin Day, “Until Morning Come” by Andrew Boss, “Angels in the Architecture” by Frank Ticheli, “Washington Grays” by Claudio S. Grafulla and “El Camino Real” by Alfred Reed. The students had not previously rehearsed these pieces together prior to the festival weekend.
“The Intercollegiate Band Festival was such a rewarding experience because we were only together as an ensemble for three days and were able to put together a fun and challenging program,” Emily Osilka, SU senior tuba player, said.
The group of musicians is unique from year to year, so no performance is ever the same. At the end of the concert, Heidel and other guest directors recognized Shippensburg University band director Trever Famulare for his contributions to the band and festival as a whole.
“It is always an honor to host the Intercollegiate Band Festival, which is my third time. Being able to watch almost 100 students from across Pennsylvania come together and make music their focus is an unfathomable accomplishment. They rehearsed and performed admirably, and I couldn’t be more proud of their performance. Shippensburg truly set a new standard for the hosts of the festival in the future,” Famulare said.