WILMINGTON — Nearly 7,000 students, music educators serving students in grades K-12 and higher education, along with professionals in the music world converged on the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati Jan. 28-30 to attend the Ohio Music Association (OMEA) Professional Development Conference.
Among those in attendance was the Wilmington High School wind ensemble that had been invited to perform after completing a rigorous audition process in which more than 100 outstanding groups from all areas representing all levels vied for the coveted opportunity to showcase their talents.
Performance groups were selected through blind audition by the band, orchestra, choral, and jazz content subcommittees, which made selections based not only on performance quality but also the diversity of the performing ensembles.
The WHS Wind Ensemble program of Flourish for Olana, by Jeff Jordan; Variants on a Nautical Hymn, by Mark Williams; Lightning Field, by John Mackey; and Queen City March, by W.H. Boorn, was performed under the direction of Matthew Spradlin; Rippling Watercolors, by Brian Balmages, under the direction of guest conductor Dr. Shelley Jagow; and On Horseback! by Frank Ticheli, under the direction of guest conductor Mrs. Robin Spradlin.
Mr. Spradlin is in his 12th year as band director at WHS and he has earned the “Excellence in Teaching” award from the Area Progress Council of Warren County and the “Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching” by the Wilmington Schools Foundation.
Guest conductor Dr. Shelley Jagow is a professor of music at Wright State University, where she serves as director of the symphonic band and saxophone quartet. She has also worked with the WHS Wind Ensemble in the mastery of performance techniques.
Guest conductor Mrs. Spradlin, band director at Wilmington Middle School, remains active as a performer on clarinet in various concert bands and musical orchestras and also assists with the high school concert and marching bands.
This year marks WHS’ third appearance at the OMEA Professional Development Conference following performances in 2009 and 2011. Joining Wilmington High School in earning this honor were groups from Dublin Jerome, Mason, and Pickerington North high schools.
According to band director Mr. Spradlin, performing at the OMEA conference allows band directors to share their academic and musical programs with other music educators. He said, “In the eyes of band directors, playing at the OMEA conference is one of the most prestigious accomplishments there is.”
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.