By Adam Silvernail
It’s set to be a musical weekend for students from Ellicottville Central who will leave to perform at the annual All-County Festival.
All-County is an event where band and chorus students from 10 different schools in Cattaraugus County who excel in the field of music perform in a concert with a guest conductor in two days.
All-County happens twice a year, with this weekend’s concert March 7 at Franklinville Central School. There, the Elementary Chorus, Junior High School Band and Senior High School Chorus will participate. A second concert will be held March 21 with the Elementary Band, Junior High School Chorus and Senior High School Band will perform.
All-County concerts are held at a different school each year. Because the schools that host All-County have to be big enough to accommodate so many students, Ellicottville has never hosted the event.
However, that doesn’t mean many students from Ellicottville haven’t participated in the event over the years.
There are different criteria for getting into All-County at different age levels. For elementary and junior high kids, a teacher must recommend them before they’re considered for entry. For senior high students, participation in the annual solo-fest is required. Either way, the people who run All County make the final decision on who gets in.
Several students and band teacher Cyrstal Wilder shared what they’re favorite things about All-County are.
Alexander Hunt, a trombone player, said, “The food there is generally pretty good.”
Being conducted by a new conductor is a favorite of saxophone player Jalee Evans. “It can be a refreshing change of pace. Also, I like the new music.”
Abigail Ploetz, a percussion player, said her favorite thing is “meeting new people that love to make music.”
Megan Hartsell, a trumpet player, said, “I’d probably say hanging out with my friends and missing school.”
“Meeting new people with the same interests,” was a favorite thing of Madison Kilby, a baritone player. “Also, missing school is nice,” she added.
For her favorite thing, Mrs. Wilder said, “Seeing 10 schools come together working on the same music to perform in a few days and watching the conductor to get new ideas.”
Although there are many great things about the All-County weekends, the students and Wilder also shared some ideas for how to make it even better.
“I would like it to be shorter,” Alexander Hunt said, “Sometimes when we master a song, we still spend time practicing it when we don’t need to.”
Jalee Evans said, “It’s kind of the same kids every year. Some rotate in and out, but it’s generally the same group.”
Abigail Ploetz responded, “I would like it if we could have All-County here (Ellicottville) instead of at another school.”
Megan Hartsell said, “I would like more fun music that’s somewhat challenging.”
Madison Kilby answered, “They need to add more food options.”
Wilder replied, “That more students would want to participate.”
All County is a great event where students from many different schools go to perform in the same band. It has been around for a long time and has no intention of stopping soon.
Many students from Ellicottville Central have participated, are participating and will participate in the future, and while they would make a few changes, they always have a great time.