TASD students to participate in 2005 PMEA All-State Conference

Today, three TAHS students will depart for the Hershey Conference Center for what will be the greatest musical achievement of their high school careers.
Senior Doug Conrad, junior Zac Yeaton and sophomore Josh Shaffer have each earned a prestigious spot in one of the performing ensembles at the 2005 Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Association All-State Conference this week in Hershey, PA.
This outstanding musical achievement began in the fall when the students prepared a piece of music and auditioned for placement in District 6 band and chorus festivals. Conrad and Yeaton were two of the 12 TAHS students to be selected to attend the District 6 Band Festival held at the Greater Johnstown High School in January. Similarly, Shaffer was one of six TAHS students to attend District Chorus at Central High School.
At Districts, the students would compete for and earn a spot in the regional festivals to be held in February and March. The regional festivals include students from schools in Blair, Cambria, Bedford, Somerset, Centre, Fulton, Mifflin, Juniata, Huntingdon, Clearfield and Clinton counties.
At this festival, the three TAHS students would face their toughest competition, Conrad and Yeaton would compete for first chair in their sections in order to attend All-State Band while Shaffer would have to finish in the top four of his section to attend All-State Chorus.
All were successful, in fact all three finished first in their section to earn the honor of representing Tyrone at the All-State Conference.
The students will spend the remainder of this week rehearsing with the best musicians Pennsylvania has to offer, preparing for public concerts to be held on Saturday in the Hershey Theatre with guest conductors from across the United States.
Doug Conrad, first chair tenor saxophone and Zac Yeaton, first chair euphonium will be participating in the All-State Symphonic Band, a group of only 60 musicians from all of Pennsylvania, who will be conducted by Commander Allen E. Beck.
Beck was the seventh leader of the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C. He marched in the inaugural parades for Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Regan and Bush as well as for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the heads of states of India, Israel, Pakistan, Japan, Turkey and the Soviet Union. His group opened the Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty as well as performed in 49 of the 50 states, Canada, South America, the Phillipine Islands, Guam, China and Italy.
Josh Shaffer, first chair Bass I, will rehearse and perform with the All-State Chorus, under the direction of Maestro Allan Harler, Professor and Chairman of Choral Music at Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and music director of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, only the 12th person to hold the position since the group’s founding in 1874.
“This is such an outstanding achievement for these fine musicians and students of the Tyrone Area School District. The school and community should be very proud of their accomplishments,” said Kris Laird, band director.
“We certainly congratulate these students and their parents on these outstanding musical accomplishments. Their participation in these prestigious performing groups only enriches our own TAHS ensembles. Our school and community share in our congratulations and best wishes,” added Catherine Young, TAHS choral director.
Doug Conrad also played Charlie Brown in the school’s most recent musical and is a member of POPS, band and Tri-M. He plans on attending Duquesne University and majoring in music education and saxophone performance.
He said making it to states is “everything I have ever dreamed of.”
He added he would like to thank Mr. Laird for all his help and support throughout the years.
Josh Shaffer is also involved in football, FCA, concert choir, POPS Extension, show choir, concert band, jazz band, Academic Academy, National Honor Society, Tri-M Honor Society, hunting, Christian musical theatre and singing at local churches and functions.
He plans to attend college, majoring in a musical field and becoming a music pastor.
“It is a great honor and privilege to represent Tyrone at an All-State Festival,” said Josh. “It means a great deal to me, and hopefully it will open other doors to further my musical experience.”
He would like to thank his parents for their encouragement, Mrs. Young for the countless hours spent working with him on music and God for giving him the talent and ability to sing.
Zac Yeaton is also involved in concert and jazz band, varsity swim team, marching band and a variety of honors clubs.
He plans to attend Penn State and major in nuclear and mechanical engineering in hopes of either working for the Department of Energy or in a nuclear power plant.
“It’s been a goal of mine ever since I had learned of it,” said Zac of making state band. “Going as a junior in high school just heightens my feeling of accomplishment.”
He would like to thank Mr. Laird for being the strongest supporter throughout his musical career.
“Anything that I know about music or playing my instrument I either learned from him directly or learned on my own with his guidance,” Zac commented about Mr. Laird.
He said he would also like to thank his parents for offering constant support throughout his life.