Connor Huttenlocker got involved with the Hollidaysburg Music Department when he was in fourth grade.
“I love what I do and the entire music department,” he said.
Now, as a junior at the Hollidaysburg Senior High School. he is in every music ensemble the school offers.
“It’s changed me as a person for the better. It’s opened up new careers for me, and it’s shown me a path that I want to take and I want to pursue as an adult,” Huttenlocker said.
For eight years in a row, the Hollidaysburg Area School District has been named “One of the Best Communities for Music Education” by the National Association of Music Merchants.
The high school’s principal, Dr. Maureen Letcher, said you would think you were at a professional concert when listening to the students perform.
“They amaze me everyday with their ability, their talent, and how hard they work in order to make beautiful music, and they do it everyday,” she said.
And when he learned of the school district’s recognition, Huttenlocker said he was not surprised.
“We have such great staff here: Mr. Sheehan, Mrs. Nagy, Mrs Everett, and it’s just such a great program that all the ensembles do together, and it’s just amazing,” he said.
Students at the high school are giving credit to their teachers for changing their lives through music.
Abigail Barroner is the drum major for the high school’s marching band.
“it’s just brought me out of my shell and got me talking to so many types of people. It’s just been a great experience for me,” Barroner said.
She, along with fellow senior Ashleigh Ellingwood, look at the recognization as a testament to their great teachers.
“It’s shown how amazing they are when they’re not always seen on the outside of the community, and then to be recognized in this fashion, and then to know that they’re not only making an impact on their children, but also in the community is really really amazing,” Ellingwood said.
Stephanie Everett, the Orchestra and Drama Director at the high school, said music is a way for her students to try something new and learn more about themselves.
“It’s a way to express ourselves. It’s a way to express our emotions, our hearts, our joys, our concerns. It’s a way to sooth ourselves and heal ourselves,” Everett said.
If you want to see an example of their music abilities, the high school’s production of an original play called “the Legend of the Fair Haired Maiden” is going on Friday and Saturday.