Competitive auditions for PMEA District 1 Choir were held on November 21 at North Allegheny High School. Robbie Miller, Logan Snyder and DJ Pickell were all selected as members of the ensemble and will have the chance to participate in the District Choir Festival at Montour High School on January 11-13. Congratulations to Robbie, Logan, DJ and all of our talented BHS students who auditioned!
Tell us briefly about who you are and how music is a part of your current daily life.
My name is Kirk Vogel and I am a 1975 graduate of Baldwin High School. I am married to Susan (we just celebrated our 30th anniversary) and we have two grown daughters, Erin and Kayley. I love the outdoors and spend much of my time hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or concentrating on outdoor photography. I have lived in Colorado since 1979 and currently live in Greeley after living in Durango, Palisade and Denver. I taught music for 33 years in public schools in Denver, Palisade and Bayfield (near Durango) before teaching for 26 years at Heath Middle School in Greeley. Since the age of 14 I have had an interest in composition and started writing band and orchestra music in my late 20’s. Now, I write music every day. That is what takes up most of my working time (I retired from teaching in 2013). I have music published by Alfred Music, Grand Mesa Music, Kjos Music, Southern Music and my own publishing company, Wilderness Impressions Music (WI Music).
How were you first introduced to music?
I grew up in a musical household. My mother played piano (and still does) and my father played violin. Both of my parents also sang. I had two older brothers that played that played trumpet and flute so it was fitting that my younger brother and I would play music instruments. I started on clarinet in 6th grade at Highlands Elementary School (Baldwin-Whitehall School District). By 9th grade I was learning saxophone, flute, guitar and piano.
Tell us about a person/event that was particularly influential to you in your growth as a musician?
My mother – When I was in 6th grade she bought some music books (Play a Song of America) so that the whole family could play music together. We would gather around the piano and play through the music. This showed me how much fun music could be.
Randy Purcell – Jazz trombonist for the Maynard Ferguson Big Band, Pittsburgh native. Randy showed up to one of the Baldwin HS jazz band rehearsals (1974-75) and taught us about improvisation. I still use his words and methods that I learned that day when I teach jazz improvisation.
Ken Singleton – As an arranger of over 2,000 compositions for Wind Ensemble and Brass Ensemble, Ken has been a mentor to me as I have developed as a composer.
What did you gain from your study of music at BWSD that has had a positive impact on your career? On you as a person?
I received a good, strong foundation of music from my music teachers in the BWSD and because I moved a couple times (away from Pittsburgh and back to Pittsburgh) I had many teachers!
6th Grade – Highlands Elementary, BWSD – Mr. Gump
7-8th Grade – Wallace Junior High, BWSD – Mr. Heilman
9th Grade – Mackenzie HS, Deep River, Ontario Mr. Allen
10th Grade – Mackenzie HS, Deep River, Ontario Mr. DeBoer
11th Grade – Baldwin High School, BWSD – Mr. Gump
12th Grade – Baldwin High School, BWSD – Mr. Huckle
All of these teachers not only gave me a strong foundation of music but also instilled in me a love for music so that when I went away to college (to become a chemical engineer) it was music that I kept being drawn toward. Sophomore year I changed my major, junior year I transferred to a different college and then after college I moved to Colorado. My studying music in the BWSD helped shape what was to become a career in music.
Why is it important to study music?
Why study music? To experience joy, to experience beauty, to create something, to have fun, to laugh, to cry, to be a member of a group where synergy is evident on a daily basis, to know that working at something produces grand results, to develop a lifelong skill that will bring you comfort when you are lonely and bring you happiness when you are with others and to bring you knowledge, understanding and abilities that will open doors to activities and relationships that will become available to you throughout your life.
Congratulations to the Highlander Marching Band on their first place finish in their class at the TOB Region 8 Championship at Penn-Trafford High School on Saturday. The band finished with a score of 85.20, winning caption awards for High Music, High Visual, High General Effect, High Percussion, and High Auxiliary. Additionally, the colorguard was awarded the second highest auxiliary score in the entire competition. Well done Highlanders and congratulations on a great competitive season!
The Sound of Music is coming to HMS! A parent meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 26, at 7:00 in the HMS auditorium. Interested students should plan to attend an audition rehearsal on November 10 and auditions on November 14 and 15. Contact Mrs. Hawk at email@example.com with any questions.
The combined bands of HMS, with help from a few members of the Highlander Marching Band, cheered on the Baldwin 7th and 8th grade football teams at their games at BHS on Wednesday, October 19.
Jonny Priano is a music educator at the Wilmington Area School District in western Pennsylvania where he leads four choirs at the high school and middle school levels. He earned a Master of Music Performance degree in Choral Conducting and Voice from Youngstown State University in 2014 where he studied conducting with Dr. Hae-Jong Lee and voice with Dr. Allan Mosher. Jonny also earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Grove City College in 2007, graduating Cum Laude with High Honors in Music. Jonny has received commissions from choirs across the United States and his music has enjoyed performances in Europe, Asia, Australia, and most recently South Africa. His choral music is published through Alfred Music and Colla Voce Music. In 2013, he was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to compose a choral piece that was performed by a 2,000-member choir in the inaugural Music for the Spirit Festival. Jonny has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as a member of the Professional Core for the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and is the pianist at New Life Baptist Church. He resides in western Pennsylvania with his wife, Ashley.
“My dreams of teaching music and composing began in Mr. Tranter’s classroom at Baldwin High School. I had never considered going into music until Mr. Tranter provided me with my first opportunity to accompany a choir. This experience provided a perspective into what the choir classroom looks like from the other side and helped me to quickly choose a career path. My earliest experiments in composition were also forged in the high school chorus room as Mr. Tranter taught me about the standard chords contained in each key. During my time in the Baldwinaires, I fell in love with our a cappella choral repertoire. The sonorities of these pieces, particularly Morten Lauridsen’s ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ left a huge impression on me and helped me to find my compositional voice several years later. Simply put, I would not be who I am today without the strong influence of the choral program at Baldwin High School.”