Song to sing, area students to perform district concert

HUGHESVILLE – More than 170 student singers will converge in the area this week, as Hughesville High School will host the state Music Educators Association District 8 Chorus Concert Saturday.

This will be the first time Hughesville will host the event since 1991. And although the school is the official host, the concert will be held at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., Williamsport.

“As a small school, you have to be creative with your auditorium,” said Brian Barckley, Hughesville chorus director.

Barckley, who served as the middle school band director before taking over high school chorus this year, said the high school’s auditorium was not large enough to handle a big audience like the one expected on Saturday.

Students will continue to practice at the high school this week and will be housed in the Hughesville area. Barckley added that the community is working together to make it a “first class performance.”

Students were chosen from Lycoming and surrounding counties during an audition process in October. Students can continue to move on to more festivals after more auditions, Barckley said.

“It’s an annual event. It’s much like they have for playoffs of any sport,” he said.

When Barckley realized it had been so long since Hughesville last hosted the event, he quickly asked the administration. He said they were happy to accept.

“Our superintendent Mr. Michael Pawlik and Ron Lorson, our principal, have been very enthusiastic about hosting the festival and very excited,” he said.

Students will practice from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. They also will be treated to a performance by the Uptown Music Collective Friday night.

The concert will have Dr. Anthony T. Leach, professor of music and music education at Penn State University, serve as guest conductor, which Barckley said will be a great experience for the students.

“He’s internationally known and respected,” Barckley said.

And with Hughesville not hosting the event in so long, students are excited to be a part of it.

“(Students) are excited,” Barckley said. “A lot of them haven’t experienced a festival so they don’t know what to expect until it happens.”

Barckley said as long as he stayed on top of planning, the experience hasn’t been too stressful. But he also added that it’s all about making it a great experience for the students.

“I hope it’s something they remember for the rest of their lives,” he said. ” This is something that is 100 percent positive.”