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Congratulate Two BHS Students on a Job Well Done at the PMEA All-State Conference!

Anthony Litterio

Lots of hard work, dedication, and practice have certainly paid off for two Burrell High School students, Anthony Litterio and Lucas Ciesielski, who traveled to Lancaster, PA to participate in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) All-State Chorus and Jazz Ensemble.

Senior Anthony Litterio first auditioned for the PMEA District 1 Choral Festival, where he ranked fourth out of 21 students singing tenor 2 and was selected for the PMEA Region 1 Chorus. At the Region 1 Festival, Anthony again ranked fourth out of 22 tenor 2s. Only six tenor 2s from this choir were selected to continue to the PMEA All-State Chorus, and Anthony was one of them.

“I have enjoyed getting to know Anthony,” says BHS music teacher Francine Corsi. “He is a fine young man who is gifted with a beautiful voice and is very dedicated to his singing. He works diligently in preparing for auditions and performances.”

The State Chorus included students from high schools throughout Pennsylvania and was under the direction of Dr. Paul Head, of the University of Delaware. The concert took place at the J.P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster, PA on April 21, 2018.

Anthony also sang a solo for the Burrell Arts and Music Night (BAM) on April 13, and will also be singing in the Spring Choir Concert on May 17.

Lucas Ciesielski

Lucas Ciesielski also took the trip to Lancaster in April to participate in the PMEA All-State Jazz Ensemble. In fact, he was selected as the only baritone saxophone student in all of Pennsylvania to play in the ensemble, making Lucas technically the best high school jazz baritone saxophone player in the entire state.

“This is an incredible accomplishment for someone his age,” says BHS music teacher Michael Pagnotta.

The PMEA Jazz Ensemble is an audition-only band that is open to all high-school-level students in Pennsylvania. In order to participate, students had to submit a video application with very specific guidelines and parameters that were then reviewed by jazz professionals throughout the country. The best students were selected to perform in the honors band at the PMEA yearly state conference. There, students were given an opportunity to work with a nationally-renowned jazz conductor.

“This year, my fantastic experience with PMEA’s District 1 Honors Jazz definitely solidified my desire to progress to All-State Jazz,” Lucas says. “There was only one slot available for the bari sax in the All-State Ensemble, so I knew that it would be difficult to make it, especially when every high school baritone saxophone player in Pennsylvania could submit an audition. I spent months practicing and perfecting some of the hardest solo jazz pieces I have ever played. In addition to two jazz pieces, I also had to play fast scales and improvise. When I felt ready, I carefully recorded and submitted my audition for the bari sax part with a clock visible in my audition to prove that I was doing everything in one try. When I learned that I had been chosen for the band, I was extremely surprised and excited!”

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