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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.

Highlights of Awards/Achievments:

*5 "Superior" ratings and 1 "Excellent" rating at the PMEA Music Performance Assessment festivals from 2013-2018.

*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

*Recent Marching Band Performances:

-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,  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.