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Hoover Symphonic Band in the Spotlight Tonight in Akron

Hoover High band one of only two in Ohio selected to perform during 41st annual Ohio Band Director’s Conference.

The Hoover High School Symphonic Band will be sharing the stage with the University of Akron Concert Band tonight during the 41st annual Ohio Band Director’s Conference – and will be conducted by a renowned composer while performing one of his songs.

The free performance, open to the public, begins at 8 p.m. at the Quaker Square Inn Ballroom at the University of Akron.

The conference’s featured guest composer is Robert Sheldon, concert band editor for Alfred Music Publishing Co. Inc., who spent time Thursday afternoon in the Hoover bandroom working with the school’s select symphonic band.

The Hoover Symphonic Band was one of only two Ohio high school bands invited to perform during the two-day conference by Dr. Bob Jorgenson and Galen Karriker, band directors at the University of Akron. (Hoover performed at this event once before, in 2003.)

Ron Varn, Hoover’s Instrumental Music Department chair the past 13 years, acknowledged that being chosen to play at the conference is an honor.

“The honor comes from the reputation of the bands that are invited to perform. The Hoover Symphonic Band has a very good reputation throughout the state of Ohio,” Varn said.

Varn will be conducting his students as they perform “Toccata” by Frank Erickson, “Noble Men (March)” by Henry Fillmore, “El Camino Real” by Alfred Reed and “Second Concerto for Clarinet” by Carl Maria von Weber, with Hoover junior Tom Pasquale playing the clarinet solo.

The Hoover band will be conducted by Sheldon as they perform his song, “Beyond the Higher Skies.”

Varn said Sheldon is one of the most performed composers of wind band music today.  A recipient of numerous awards from the American School Band Director’s Association, Phi Beta Mu and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, “his compositions embody a level of expression that resonates with ensembles and audiences alike,” Varn explained. 

Sheldon’s music is performed around the world and appears on many international concert and contest lists. He regularly accepts commissions for new works and produces numerous publications for concert band each year.

Sheldon’s schedule includes many appearances as guest conductor for All-State and Regional Honor Bands. He also frequently appears as a Music Education clinician, and has presented sessions and seminars at numerous colleges and universities as well as state Music Education Association conferences. 

He has served as a conductor and clinician throughout the United States, as well as in Japan, Canada, Italy, Australia and The Republic of China, and has conducted performances of his works in New York’s Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. 

Hoover’s Symphonic Band members, in grades 9-12, are selected by audition. Varn said it is the school’s “most select wind and percussion ensemble.” A roster of the band members and the instruments they play is attached to this story in .pdf form.

The select Hoover band frequently performs for professional conferences and conventions, in addition to staging three yearly concerts.

Based on Thursday's rehearsal, the band will impress its audience tonight, said Julies Mathie-Cross, publicity committee co-chair for the Hoover Instrumental Music Association.

"I stayed and listened to the whole practice today and they sounded awesome," Mathie-Cross said Thursday. "It was an honor that they were chosen to perform (during the conference)."

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