OHIO STATE FAIR Valley students tune up for youth choir event
The band and choir will have more than 100 performances during the fair.
By MICHELE C. HLADIK
COLUMBUS -- Students from Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties will demonstrate their musical talents at the 2005 Ohio State Fair as part of the All-Ohio State Fair Band or All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir.
The state fair runs from Wednesday through Aug. 14. In addition to the daily Ohio State Fair Parade, both the band and choir are scheduled for more than 100 performances throughout the fair's 12-day run.
Jenna Alvarez, 17, of East Liverpool High School, said she is returning for her second year with the choir and is looking forward to seeing the familiar faces of other returning choir members as well as meeting new friends.
"We're all there for the same thing," she said. "We relate to each other." Alvarez said she is also looking forward to the sound of the choir as well.
"You get to hear all the parts of four part harmony," she stated.
Matt Miles, 18, said he is also looking forward to performing with the choir.
"It's a great way to grow musically," he said. "It's just a great experience.
Miles recently graduated from Boardman High School and plans to someday continue in music as a choir director.
He said he looks at the choir as "singing ambassadors of the world." This is his third and final year performing with the choir.
Other area students performing with the choir include Jackie Jimison, Michael Netherland and Adam Murphy, all from Columbiana County.
Charles R. Snyder directs the choir in their performances ranging from show tunes to contemporary pieces. The All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir was started by Glenville Thomas in 1963.
The 200 members of the choir, from grades nine-12, are recommended by their high school choir directors and are selected each spring based on ability and experience.
Sara Miller, 15, of Maplewood High School, will be performing for the second year in the band.
"I like the music," she said.
Like the choir members, many band members look on the state fair experience as a chance to meet new friends with similar interests.
"It's a big social gathering," Miller said.
Veteran state fair band member Steve Peterson, 19, is celebrating his fifth and final year on the band.
"I'm going to miss it," he said. "Musically it really made me better all around."
Peterson said over the years he has also learned "it's not where you are sitting [in the band], it's that you are sitting with the band that tells everyone how good you are."
Other Maplewood High School students performing with the band include Jessica Boone on the baritone saxophone; Kaitlin Dershaw, Kayla Sweitzer, Rebecca Wagner and Jessica Handzlik on the clarinet; Anna Mermeron, bassoon; Jonathan Morse, Roger St. Julian and Andrea Rodgerson, trumpet; and Nicole Sellmanon, trombone.
Kylie Robertson of Bristol High School will perform on the French horn .
The band began in 1925 as the All-Ohio Boys' State Fair Band. Females were invited to join in 1975 and the name changed.
The 200-member band is comprised of students from throughout Ohio ranging from grades 9 to 12. The band learns nearly 60 songs each year, with John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" closing each of their performances.
Members of the band are nominated by their high school band directors, and are then selected based on the needs of the band.
"I am excited to work with Ohio's finest high school musicians," said band director Don Santa-Emma. Santa-Emma is in his seventh year as director and has worked with the band for 33 years helping.