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Sanner named to All-East Band

MEYERSDALE - A Meyersdale Area High School senior has earned an unprecedented national honor. Brody Sanner has earned a position in the prestigious NAfME (National Association for Music Education) All-Eastern Honors Concert Band.

Through a rigorous audition process, Sanner was eligible to compete for a spot in this ensemble, from which applicants were chosen from across the east coast. On merit of application and of audition, Sanner was chosen for the concert band. He is the first student from Meyersdale ever to receive this honor. Sanner is the son of William and Melissa Sanner, has competed in multiple PMEA festivals and has earned a chair in the All-State festival for two consecutive years.

“I knew from an early age that I wanted to make this my career path and I knew what I had to do to make it happen,” he explained. “I set goals for myself and shave worked hard for what I have achieved.”

Sanner said this honor is beyond imagination, but is the culmination of years of hard work and of commitment. He said the selection process began in April 2018, when he received the music for his audition. Sanner then sent in his video audition for consideration, in addition to a resume.. After months of anxiously awaiting the results, Sanner finally received notification of his selection in late November.

“Miss Ritchey served as my listed director and she sent me an email with my name on it. I couldn’t believe it, I was so excited!”

Ritchey said she did not doubt for a moment that Sanner would be chosen to perform in this prestigious group.

“I knew he would be chosen, he's so talented.”

Sanner said his interest in music began as an elementary student under the direction of Mr. Roger Johnston. Sanner quickly realized he had a true passion for music and knew he wanted to become the best musician possible. He began playing the alto saxophone and switched to the bassoon in seventh grade. He also plays the flute, clarinet, oboe and piano.

“Brody started playing the alto sax for me in the fifth grade and he made fast progress.  He was always on time and prepared for his in school lessons and rehearsals. Brody also played the piano and he would often play his recital pieces for me,” explained Johnston. “He is an incredible young musician with an amazing work ethic.”

Sanner said his many instructors all have played a role in his success, inspiring him to become a better musician. He said his time with his bassoon teacher, Lynn Moncilovich,  at the University of Delaware, has been particularly influential. He also credits his former band director, Miss Katie Strong, for helping him on this path of success.

“I am so proud of Brody. He deserves this opportunity to attend All-East. He tirelessly practiced and prepared his audition. Not many students are selected to attend this festival. He had to compete with many other bassoon students from the Eastern Conference,” commented Strong, who now serves as the Director of Bands at the Somerset Area School District.  “Brody certainly keeps surpassing our expectations. I believe he is capable of great things and will continue to achieve his goals.”

Current MAHS band director, Mrs. Katie Howard has similar words of respect and regard for Sanner’s talent.  

“His work ethic and commitment to his craft is unparalleled.  Brody works harder at honing his craft than the the vast majority of musicians I have met and this honor is something he deserves and has worked for,” Howard explained. “This is a huge honor and we are proud of his achievements. He is a leader within our school and the band. Our younger musicians look up to him and are awestruck at his talent.”

Sanner is one of just 780 most musically talented high school students in 12 states and from throughout Europe to be chosen for this honor. Sanner will compete with students from Connecticut, Washington D.C., Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Pennsylvania.

Sanner will join his fellow musicians for three days of intensive rehearsal with one of five conductors during the Eastern Division Conference of The National Association for Music Education to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in preparation for performances on April 7, 2019.

The NAFME All-Eastern Honors Ensembles, consisting of a concert band, symphony orchestra, mixed chorus, treble chorus, and jazz ensemble, are organized by members of The National Association for Music Education. Sanner will perform in the Concert Band.

The concert band and symphony orchestra will each have approximately one hundred fifty instrumentalists.  Each of the state music educators associations in the Eastern Division oversee the selection process in their state during the fall of the year before the event and compile ranked lists of recommended juniors and seniors for consideration.

Aside from competing with his bassoon at band and at orchestra festivals, Sanner has also earned chairs at District Jazz, at District Chorus, and at Regional Chorus. He has studied with several influential and accomplished instructors, including Mr. Phillip Kolker, former principal bassoonist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Mrs. Lynn Moncilovich, professor of bassoon at the University of Delaware; and Mr. William Short, principal bassoonist of the Metropolitan Opera and an instructor at The Juilliard School.

Sanner was a member of the Johnstown Youth Symphony Orchestra and of the Johnstown Youth Symphony Orchestra Wind Trio. He is currently a bassoonist in the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO). In addition, Sanner is a member of the Youth Chamber Connection, which is affiliated with PYSO. Through YC2,  he is a member of a wind quintet with several other wind players from PYSO.

Following graduation, Sanner plans to audition for several prestigious schools, including the Peabody Conservatory; the Eastman School of Music; The Juilliard School; and Temple University to pursue a degree in music performance, with a focus on bassoon.

"We are incredibly proud of Brody. He has continuously astonished us with his musical growth and with his musical achievements. He as worked tirelessly to achieve this honor. He has been blessed with a beautiful gift, and I know he will continue to pursue his musical goals,” added his mother.

Sanner said he is looking forward to performing in the All-East Concert Band and is proud to represent his school and community.  Brad Genevro, University of Texas at El Paso, will serve as the 2019 NAFME All-Eastern Honors Concert Band Conductor. The 2019 NAFME All-Eastern Honors Ensembles will perform for an audience of thousands on Sunday, April 7, 2019, in the Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA. For program and ticket information please visit www.pmea.org.