Young musicians represent themselves, community well

It has become common practice for each generation to point out the flaws in their offspring.

Many of us have fallen victim to this label at some point in our lives, and too often we overlook the positive and progressive offerings our children bring to society.

In early March, the Altoona Symphony Orchestra performed its fourth concert of the season, Homage to Heritage, during which the Altoona Area High School brass ensemble performed alongside the symphony in what many believe was the most exciting concert in years.

However, I am not writing to talk about the rich tones, superior talent level and all around instrumental quality they brought to the music. I am writing to share the more important fact that they were the most well-mannered, respectful, appreciative, quality citizens I have come to admire.

These students volunteered their talents throughout several evening rehearsals, a long Saturday dress rehearsal and an outstanding performance.

As the executive director of the ASO, I cannot begin to tell you how much discipline, time and effort it takes when no one is watching to perform with this professional symphony.

These kids displayed to us the type of professionalism we have come to expect from a seasoned, trained musician, and under the guidance of Larry Detwiler (Altoona Area High School music director) they brought down the house.

As exhausting and difficult as the task above was, these impressive young people did not stop there. Most of them are also members of the Altoona Area High School Jazz Band as well, and upon completion of the concert they all made their way across the icy parking lot, through the back door of The Columns, and once again picked up their instruments to entertain nearly 150 symphony guests at a fundraising reception.

The reception lasted a full 1 hours, and the jazz band played almost non-stop throughout the evening.

Guests were in awe at the talent and couldn’t help but move to the music. Many people danced and most were caught at least tapping a toe amongst conversations with other guests. Our office was overwhelmed with voice messages and phone calls expressing what a wonderful evening they had both at the concert and reception.

Detwiler and his students should be extremely proud of their musical accomplishments, but more importantly the positive example they showcased for their generation.

I guess those meddling kids aren’t so bad after all.

Pamela Snyder Etters

Executive Director, ASO