By: Jen Russon
In January, three tenth grade students from JP Taravella will travel to Tampa to perform at the annual meeting AMDEC Professional development conference.
Matthew Flory plays the bassoon; Anthony Licata the euphonium; and Samuel Peaceman the clarinet; all happen to be good friends.
Held at the Tampa Convention Center, FEMA, or the Florida Music Education Association conference, is one of the biggest music events a young artist can be invited to attend.
FEMA welcomes 23 ensembles bands, including orchestras, choirs, guitars and concert groups like the one to which Flory, Licata and Peaceman belong. World-class conductors and teachers attend the conference, evaluating the students who have come this far and who will now perform under the watch of a large live audience.
The boys’ performance will be seen by over 10,000 people, where students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 will be judged on their musical acumen.
“We’re all nervous,” Flory said, speaking on behalf of her two friends.
The boys’ teacher Jonathan Cooper, the group’s director at Taravella, said he noticed the three young men were taking every opportunity they could to hone their skills.
Cooper said all of his students train throughout the summer, choosing whether or not to audition for FEMA in September.
Auditions are recorded recordings of students playing two contrasting pieces that show major scales and prove their metal as readers of the site.
He added that the three boys care about their craft and what it takes to create great music – so there is no doubt that they will represent Taravella well.
“These students demonstrate a very high level of musicality and dedication,” Cooper said.
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Jen Russon has been a writer for Talk Media since 2018. She is also a novelist, writer and editor at Swallow Publishing, LLC.