Curwensville to Host Sixth Grade Band Fest

CURWENSVILLE – On May 1, the Curwensville Area School District will host the 2015 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District 4 Sixth Grade Band Fest.

This is the first time this festival has been held in Curwensville in more than a decade.  More than 150 students and 22 band directors from 21 school districts will be in attendance.

Students who have been working on their music since January will be led by guest conductors, Dr. Allen C. Howell, associate professor of Music at Millersville University, and Brian G. Gresh, band director for Valley Grove School District.

At Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Howell teaches men’s chorus, supervises student teachers and teaches various general education courses. He received the degree Doctor of Musical Arts with specializations in music education and choral conducting from the University of Oregon.

During his time at Oregon, he was a Graduate Teaching Fellow and conducted the youth choir of the Oregon Children’s Choir. His Master of Arts in teaching degree was completed at Portland State University, Portland, Ore., and his Bachelor of Arts degree was completed at Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.

For 12 years, he was a public school elementary general music teacher and a middle school band and choir director. He currently resides in Lancaster County, where he bicycles to work and participates in various martial arts.

At Valley Grove School District in Franklin, Gresh is the director of bands.   Prior to Valley Grove, he was the director of bands at Corry Area Middle High School, Coudersport Area Middle-High School, Sheffield Area Middle-High School and Buckingham County High School (Virginia).  During his career, he has always been involved in every level of instruction for the band program from elementary through secondary.

Gresh has previously guest conducted the IU-9 Junior Band.  He also has presented workshops on literature for Jazz Ensembles as well as music for Solo and Ensembles and Concert Band.  He loves teaching all areas of instrumental music, from Concert Band, Jazz Ensembles and Marching Bands to Small Ensembles.

He has started and directed numerous Steel Drum Ensembles during his teaching career.  In his free time, Gresh enjoys arranging music and playing trombone in various ensembles and musicals.

Gresh lives in Corry with his wife, Penny, and their dog, Jillian. They have two grown daughters, Kayla and Nicole, and are the proud grandparents of Sophia and Miles, who are a large part of their lives.

A public concert will be held May 1 at 7 p.m. in the Dr. Leslie D. Leach Auditorium.  Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students under the age of 12 years.  All proceeds will go towards the costs of the festival.

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