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Wilmington Area School District

Department of Music

DEPARTMENT MISSION:

The mission of the Wilmington Area School District fine arts department is to educate students to be critical thinkers and aesthetic appreciators of the arts. The visual and performing arts offer unique opportunities to teach to students’ various learning styles. We offer a holistic education centered on understanding theory and pedagogy that extends to personal creativity, the highest form of thinking. Students in the fine arts program will not only become more knowledgeable musicians and artists in the classroom, but will also be able to transfer that knowledge to our community and society at large. It is through this comprehensive K-12 program that students not only achieve excellence in chorus, band, drama, music and art, but that they also know how to collaborate as a team and present themselves well in public settings.


Instrumental Music Program Highlights:

The Wilmington Area Greyhound Band program has a long tradition of excellence in the Lawrence County and Western Pennsylvania region. Wilmington is proud to offer a range of instrumental course offerings for students in grades 5 - 12 which include concert band, pep band, jazz band, and the Greyhound Marching Band. Students are given the opportunity to begin learning a musical instrument of their choice starting in 5th grade and are able to learn in both individual & small group instructional settings as well as one of our larger ensembles.

The high school concert band and marching bands also have a long tradition of musical achievements both locally and nationally. Each year the high school concert band performs at the Pennsylvania Music Educator's Association (PMEA) Music Performance Assessment Festival held at Westminster College. In their most recent performance, the band was awarded the top rating of "Superior" from three judges. Over the past 30 years, the Wilmington band has been consistent with top ratings of "Superior" and "Excellent" each year as a testament to the hard work and quality of the music program. Additionally, in 2017, the Wilmington Band was also invited to perform alongside the Westminster College Wind Ensemble is the first annual "Music With Friends" performance series.

The Greyhound Marching Band has also earned a strong reputation as being one of the area's most respected marching bands with their high energy halftime shows each year. The band regularly performs throughout the Western PA region in local parades and band festivals as well as touring nationally on a bi-annual basis. In recent years the marching band has performed nationally in the Azelea Festival in downtown Norfolk Virginia, the Kentucky Derby Parade, Walt Disney World, and Gatlinburg Tennessee where they have earned top marks in various adjudicated parades.


Choral Program Highlights

The Wilmington Choral Program includes five choirs that span grades 5-12. These groups have been under the direction of Jonny Priano since 2007 and include over 30% of the students in the Wilmington Area School District. At the middle school level, students receive a foundation for singing that includes vocal technique, sight-singing skills, community performances, and a love for music. At the high school level, students are provided with the opportunity to perform at local community events in addition to performances and competitions outside of the community. These students perform a more advanced repertoire of music that requires a refinement of the skills developed at the middle school level.

The Wilmington Chorus has performed in Boston, Chicago, New Jersey, New York City, and at Walt Disney World as a part of the Epcot Candlelight Processional with guest narrator Kurt Russell. The Wilmington Chamber Singers and Women's Choir have had additional performances in Cincinnati, Hershey, Pittsburgh, and frequent collaborations with the Stambaugh Chorus at Youngstown State University. All three high school groups consistently earn Superior ratings at Adjudication festivals and often take first place prizes in competition.


Instrumental Highlights of Awards/Achievements:

*6 "Superior" ratings and 1 "Excellent" rating at the PMEA Music Performance Assessment festivals from 2013-2019.

*Spring 2016 - 2 students advanced onto the PMEA All-State Band

*Spring 2015 - 3 students advanced onto the PMEA All-State Band & Wind Ensemble

*Spring 2014 - 3 students advanced onto the PMEA All-State Band

*Spring 2013 - 3 students advanced onto the PMEA All-State Wind Ensemble

*Spring 2013 - 1 student advanced onto the PMEA All-State Orchestra

*2013 - 2018 - 22 students were selected for the PMEA Honors Band Festival

*2013 - 1 High School French student was selected to participate in the All-National Orchestra Symphony Orchestra Festival


Chorus/Choir Highlights of Awards and Achievements

*15 Superior and 6 Excellent ratings at PMEA Adjudication (2013-2019) - 8 Superior and 1 Excellent since 2017 - All groups

*Music in the Parks competition in New Jersey (2019) - All groups, Chamber Singers (Grand Champion/1st Place Mixed), Women's Choir (1st Place Treble), Chorus (3rd place Mixed)

*New York City performances at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (2013, 2015, 2019) - All groups

*Collaborative concerts at Youngstown State University (2013, 2016, 2018, 2019) - Chamber Singers

*Sing for a Cure benefit concert at New Castle Jr/Sr High School (2013, 2014, 2019) - Chamber Singers, Women's Choir

*Students selected to PMEA All-State Chorus (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)

*Pittsburgh Sings concert with Pittsburgh Concert Chorale at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland (2018) - Chamber Singers, Women's Choir

*Crimson Hawk Invitational Choir Conference at Indiana University of PA (2018) - Chamber Singers

*Walt Disney World's Epcot Candlelight Processional performance with guest narrator Kurt Russell (2017) - All groups

*Disney Springs Marketplace Stage performance (2017) - Chamber Singers

*Music in the Parks competition in Cincinnati (2017) - Chamber Singers (1st Place Mixed), Women's Choir (1st Place Treble)

*Collaborative concert with the University of Pittsburgh Women's Choral Ensemble in Pittsburgh (2017) - Women's Choir

*Music in the Parks competition in Hershey (2016) - Chamber Singers (Grand Champion/1st Place Mixed), Women's Choir (1st Place Treble)

*Boston performance at Fenway Park (2015) - All groups

*Music in the Parks competition in Cincinnati (2014) - Chamber Singers (1st Place Mixed), Women's Choir (2nd Place Treble)

*Trills and Thrills Festival in Hershey (2012) - Chamber Singers, Women's Choir

*Chicago performance at Lincoln Park Zoo (2011) - Chamber Singers, Chorus

*New York City performance at Ellis Island (2009) - Chamber Singers, Chorus


*Recent Marching Band Performances:

-2017 - Kennywood Fall Fantasy Parade

-2017 - Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Parade

-2017 - Kennywood Fall Fantasy Parade

-2016 - Norfolk VA. Azalea Festival Parade

-2016 - Kennywood Fall Fantasy Parade

-2014 - Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Parade

-2012 - Kentucky Derby Parade

Instrumental Course Offerings for Middle and High School Students:

  • Small individualized group lessons for 5th & 6th grade band students
  • 5th & 6th Grade Beginning Concert Band
  • 7th & 8th Grade Concert Band
  • High School Concert Band
  • High School Jazz Ensemble
  • Pep Band
  • Middle School Introductory Jazz Band

Course Descriptions:

Marching Band:

Students in grades 9-12th grade who are enrolled in High School Marching/Concert Band will develop the fundamental skills necessary to perform with their instrument in a group and individually. Students in the high school band program will be required to participate in both marching band, concert band, and pep band throughout the year and will perform at various music festivals, sporting events, and school assemblies as scheduled by the director and all performances including concerts, parades, and halftime performances will count towards a participation/performance assessment grade. Summer rehearsals and mandatory attendance at Band Camp during the last week of July each summer will emphasize developing the marching skills needed to perform in parades and at football games. Proper attitudes toward team work, care of equipment, discipline, and respect for one another will be fostered through group participation. Enrollment in high school band will also allow students the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular instrumental activities such as Jazz Ensemble, PMEA festivals, and County Band Festivals each year. Students may be required to purchase various materials used each year. Fundraisers will be made available to assist in the purchase and funding of any band student’s expenses.

High School Concert Band:

Students in grades 9-12th grade who are enrolled in High School Concert Band will develop the fundamental skills necessary to perform with their instrument in a group and individually. Students in the high school band program will be required to participate in both marching band, concert band, and pep band throughout the year and will perform at various music festivals, sporting events, and school assemblies as scheduled by the director and all performances including concerts, parades, and halftime performances will count towards a participation/performance assessment grade. Summer rehearsals and mandatory attendance at Band Camp during the last week of July each summer will emphasize developing the marching skills needed to perform in parades and at football games. Proper attitudes toward team work, care of equipment, discipline, and respect for one another will be fostered through group participation. Enrollment in high school band will also allow students the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular instrumental activities such as Jazz Ensemble, PMEA festivals, and County Band Festivals each year. Students may be required to purchase various materials used each year. Fundraisers will be made available to assist in the purchase and funding of any band student’s expenses.

7/8th Grade Concert Band:

Students enrolled in 7th/8th grade Band Class, will be taught to develop instrumental music skills and to prepare for multiple performance opportunities which may include, but are not limited to: the Instant Replay Concert in October, the Winter Concert in early December, the Mid-Winter concert in February, and the final spring Band-A-Rama Concert in May. During this full year course, 7th/8th grade students will be taught in a full ensemble class setting each week in order to continually improve both individual and ensemble skills. This course will focus on the following content areas: tone quality, correct posture, balance, blend, intonation, attacks, releases, phrasing, rhythm, cooperation, respect and self-discipline. Furthermore, a variety of music representative of varying styles, composers, and historical periods will be selected for the purpose of teaching and reinforcing musical concepts and instrumental techniques needed to achieve proficiency on an instrument.

5th & 6th Grade Band:

Students enrolled in 5th & 6th grade Band Class, will be taught to develop instrumental music skills and to prepare for multiple performance opportunities which may include, but are not limited to: the Winter Concert in early December, the Mid-Winter concert in February, and the final spring Band-A-Rama Concert in May. During this full year course, 5th grade students will be provided individualized weekly group lessons as well as participation in a full ensemble class setting each week in order to continually improve their individual and ensemble skills. This course will focus on the following content areas: tone quality, correct posture, balance, blend, intonation, attacks, releases, phrasing, rhythm, cooperation, respect and self-discipline. Furthermore, a variety of music representative of varying styles, composers, and historical periods will be selected for the purpose of teaching and reinforcing musical concepts and instrumental techniques needed to achieve proficiency on an instrument.

About Our Director of bands,  Mr. Jonathan Nickel

Mr. Jonathan R. Nickel is a native of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and received his Bachelor of Music degree from Westminster College in New Wilmington Pennsylvania in 2009. In the spring of 2016 he received a Masters of Music performance degree in instrumental conducting from Youngstown State University after studying with Dr. Stephen Gage. Professionally, he is the current director of instrumental music, grades 5 -12, in the Wilmington Area School District in which he directs the 5th/6th, 7th/8th, and 9 – 12th grade band along with the Wilmington Area Greyhound Marching Band, pep band, and jazz ensemble.

Prior to teaching in the Wilmington Area School District, he worked for three years as the director of bands at Monelison Middle School in Amherst County, Virginia. He also served as the assistant director for the high school marching band and pep band. Aside from teaching, Mr. Nickel is a member of the Mu Phi Epsilon Music Association and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.

Mr. Nickel has been an active musician throughout Lynchburg Virginia and the Pittsburgh areas. As a trumpet player, he has performed with the Lynchburg Academy of Fine Arts, the Lynchburg College Wind Symphony, Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble along with regularly performing for various musical productions, weddings, and church services throughout Western Pennsylvania. In the spring of 2018, he was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Bandmasters Fraternity, designed to honor outstanding band directors at the state level.

ABOUT OUR DIRECTOR OF chorus, MR. JONATHAN PRIANO

Jonny Priano is a music educator at the Wilmington Area School District in western Pennsylvania where he leads choirs at the high school and middle school levels. His groups consistently earn Superior ratings at Adjudication Festivals and competitions. He is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and earned a Master of Music Performance degree in Choral Conducting and Voice from Youngstown State University in 2014. During this time, he studied conducting with Dr. Hae-Jong Lee and voice with Dr. Allan Mosher. Jonny also earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Grove City College in 2007, graduating Cum Laude with High Honors in Music. His concentrated instrument was the piano and he studied voice with choral director and compositional mentor Dr. Douglas A. Browne.

Jonny's choral music is published through Alfred Music, Hal Leonard, and Colla Voce Music, with several of these pieces given the distinction of J.W. Pepper Editor’s Choice. He is the Composer-in-Residence for the University of South Dakota Chamber Singers and enjoys frequent collaborations with conductor Dr. David Holdhusen. Jonny has received commissions from choirs across the United States and his music has received performances in Europe, Asia, Australia and South Africa. In 2013, he was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to compose “Sing As One,” a choral piece that was performed by a 2,000-member choir in the inaugural Music for the Spirit Festival. Jonny has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as a member of the Professional Core for the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and is the pianist at New Life Baptist Church.