LATROBE, PA – Two Saint Vincent College students have been chosen to take part in the 72nd Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band Festival, hosted March 8-10 by Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre.
Senior percussionist Ryan Schwartz and sophomore tuba player George Reich were selected to represent SVC at the festival, at which 115 student musicians from 28 colleges and universities from across the state will rehearse and perform under the baton of Maj. Michelle Rakers, former assistant conductor of the U.S. Marine Band.
“Selection of students comes through the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band committee at the hosting college,” explained Randall Kratofil, director of bands at Saint Vincent. “The committee is then tasked to create a band from nominations from participating colleges and universities.”
Schwartz, an engineering science major from Indiana, Pennsylvania, has been performing percussion for 11 years. This will be his second trip to the state band festival, having previously earned a selection in 2017.
“Participating in the festival is something I really wanted to do,” said Schwartz, who is currently president of the Saint Vincent band. “I always try to take every opportunity I get to play music, and I was excited to know that I had been selected.”
A graduate of United High School, he is the son of Rob and Lisa Schwartz, and after graduation, he plans to pursue a career in structural engineering at SpaceX.
Reich, a mathematics major from Columbia, Pennsylvania, and graduate of Lancaster Catholic High School, has been playing brass instruments for 11 years, and the tuba for five. He is the president-elect of the Saint Vincent band, and will take over the duties of the president upon Schwartz’s graduation.
“It was a pleasant surprise to be selected for this festival,” said Reich. “I was able to perform at some festivals like this in high school and always had fun, so I’m excited to be able to continue to do so at the college level.”
The son of Nicholas and Bonnie Reich, he plans to pursue a math-related career after graduation, while remaining active in music.
Founded in 1948, the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band is the oldest continually operating band of its kind in the United States, and Kratofil is proud of his pupils earning the opportunity to participate.
“Both Ryan and George show outstanding musicianship and leadership to the bands at Saint Vincent,” said Kratofil. “This is a great accomplishment for each of them. To be selected as a college musician to the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band is analogous to a student-athlete being selected first team all-conference or receiving player of the year honors.”
Rakers was the senior assistant director for “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine band and Marine Chamber Orchestra from 2004 through 2018 and led the band and orchestra in high-profile performances at the White House and across the country. She was the first female assistant director and first female commissioned officer in the history of “The President’s Own.”
After two days of rehearsals, the festival culminates in a concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10, in Wilkes University’s Dorothy Dickson Darte Center. The concert is free and open to the public.
PHOTO 1: Saint Vincent College senior Ryan Schwartz
PHOTO 2: Saint Vincent College sophomore George Reich
YouTube: Saint Vincent College
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Saint Vincent College, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650-2690
Phone 724-805-2212, FAX 724-805-2019, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.stvincent.edu