Student-musician represents college at band festival

Published 03.14.2022

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Years of musical education – and the obvious hard work that accompanies that level of commitment – resulted in a student's selection as Pennsylvania College of Technology's representative at the 74th annual Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band Festival, organized by the Pennsylvania Collegiate Bandmasters Association and held Feb. 25-27 at Shippensburg University.

Zachary J. Geffre, a Loyalsock Township High School graduate pursuing a bachelor's degree in plastics and polymer engineering technology, has been part of the Penn College Pep Band since his first semester in 2019. He also takes music classes at Lycoming College, where he is a member of the orchestra, concert band and jazz band.

Geffre (right), in rehearsal during the Intercollegiate Band Festival"How this festival works is that, around November, students submit a music resume to apply for a seat in the band," he explained. "The association then goes through a selection process to choose participants for the band that year."

Those who are chosen are sent the music set – which this year was a selection of six challenging, high-level pieces – and audition for chair positions once they arrive on-site.

"Briefly, the higher your chair placement, you are then designated for solos or higher-ranged parts for your instrument," Geffre said. "This year, I did win first chair for my instrument: the double bass." From there, the festival band rehearsed roughly nine hours a day on Feb. 25-26 and lightly on the day of the performance.

"All in all, it was a fantastic experience, and a rare chance to really branch out and network with other college musicians, all of which come from different backgrounds, different schools and different degrees," he said, noting that the students had the enviable opportunity to work and perform with Richard Heidel, a well-known college music professor and conductor from the University of Iowa. "The host university was incredibly gracious and welcoming, offering the use of their performance center and many of their resources to help promote our success."

Geffre (left) joins his Lycoming College colleagues.All together now!"I would also like to thank and acknowledge Penn College for its role in getting me there, since the college did sponsor me to participate in this event; something that, to my knowledge, the college has never been involved with before," Geffre said.

"In addition to that, because of our reciprocity with Lycoming College, I was able to travel with the musicians they were sending and who were represented well by their director, William Ciabattari – all of whom I have been working with for several years now to help further my music education."

"This was not only a great experience for me, but it was also a fantastic example of how Penn College can promote and trailblaze new opportunities for its students, and demonstrates the potential further reciprocity that Penn College and Lycoming College can explore," he added. "I personally would like to see more musicians from PCT work with Lycoming so that both the students and institutions can benefit and grow."

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