Music educators honor seniors with video tribute

The Genesee Wyoming Music Educators Association will honor its senior students who would have participated in the All-County Festival with a special video premiering today.

The Association had to cancel its annual All County Festivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festivals, which traditionally take place in March, highlight hundreds of musicians from the 12 schools that make up the GWMEA.

“Some of our seniors would have been making their first appearance in an all county ensemble, and some would have been appearing in their ninth year, committing hours and hours to their craft,” said Dan Klinczar, a music teacher at Alexander Central School and vice president of the GWMEA.

The video will recognize 28 seniors from seven schools. The students had been selected to participate in this year’s All County Band or All County Chorus – and some students were chosen for both. Each student is listed by name, the school they attend and the ensembles they would have been a part of.

“The inspiration behind the video tribute was to reach out to our seniors and music community to congratulate their efforts over the years,” said Jacqueline McLean, a vocal music teacher at Le Roy Junior-Senior High School who put the video together from information provided by all of the GWMEA teacher.

Students, McLean said, put a lot of time and effort into preparing auditions for the All County Festivals.

“We at GWMEA felt very strongly that we did not want the students to feel as if they were forgotten,” McLean said. “Every year we recognize our senior participants as many of them have been a part of the program for many years.”

The list of students to be recognized include:

n Alexander: Cayna Bliss, chorus; Adam Hess, band; Cianna Kusmierski, band; Nathaniel Luker, band and chorus; Kathleen Nolan, chorus; Ethan Stroud, band; Evan Whitmore, band and chorus.

n Batavia: Macayla Burke, chorus; and Lydia Geiger, band.

n Byron-Bergen: Justine Bloom, chorus; Cambria Kinkelaar, band and chorus; Jillian Menzie, band; Isabelle Stevens, chorus; and Hannah VanSkiver, band.

n Le Roy: Hailey Grasso, chorus; Emily Overacker, band and chorus; Marlena Pencille, band and chorus; Alexis Pfendler, chorus; and Minori Swanson, band.

n Oakfield-Alabama: Aiden Cornelius, chorus; Anthony Sutliff, chorus; Julia Uhrinek, band; and Alison Woodward, chorus.

n Pavilion: Olivia Pangrazio, chorus; Elizabeth Phillips, band; Alex Stalica, band and chorus; and Charles Urbanczyk, band.

n Pembroke: Hannah Clark, band and chorus.

The video may be viewed at and on

The Association will be sharing its tribute across its social media platforms today, including Facebook (@GWMEA), Instagram (@gwmeamusic) and Twitter (@gwmea).

Schools participating in the GWMEA include Alexander, Attica, Batavia, Byron-Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Notre Dame, Pembroke, Pavilion, Oakfield-Alabama, St. Joseph’s Regional School and Wyoming.

Some 500 student musicians in grades five through 12 would have been highlighted in March during performances at Pembroke and Le Roy high schools.

“In honor of all students who auditioned for the six ensembles who will never get to perform as a grou, the GWMEA would like to thank all students who individually put time in preparing for these great music festivals,” said Klinczar.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1