Wilkes University’s Civic Band, and its director, Philip Simon, will host the 72nd Annual Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band Festival from March 8-10. Student musicians from 28 college and university band programs from across the state will come to Wilkes to rehearse and perform under the baton of Maj. Michelle Rakers, former assistant conductor of the U.S. Marine Band. The event culminates in a concert on Sunday, March 10 at 2 p.m. in the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center. The concert is free and open to the public.
Rakers was the senior assistant director for “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra from 2004 to 2018. She led the band and orchestra in high profile programs at the White House and across the country. Rakers was both the first female assistant director and first female commissioned officer in the history of “The President’s Own.” She00 received a bachelor’s degree in music management from the University of Evansville in Indiana. She continued her music education at Northwestern University where she earned a master’s degree in trumpet performance. She received her doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University.
The Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band Festival is the oldest continuous collegiate band festival in the nation. Wilkes has hosted the festival twice before, once in 1970 and again in 1988. The participating schools in the 2019 festival include 115 student performers and 28-plus directors. Six student members of the Wilkes Civic Band have been accepted to rehearse and perform at the event. They were selected from 156 applicants from 28 colleges and universities across the state.
The students and their instruments are:
- David Miller, clarient
- Lauren McClintock, clarinet
- Lauren Johnson, clarinet
- Kyle Rosler, tenor saxophone
- Hunter Bowman, string bass
- Leah Persing, a Miserecordia University student who is enrolled in the Wilkes Civic Band
In addition to Wilkes, other colleges and universities participating in the band festival are Allegheny College, California University of Pennsylvania, Shippensburg University, Juniata College, Mercyhurst University, Mansfield University, Lycoming College, Westminster College, University of Scranton, Carnegie Mellon University, Clarion University, East Stroudsburg University, Millersville University, Kutztown University, Keystone College, Theil College, Grove City College, Waynesburg University, Edinboro University, West Chester University, Bucknell University , Albright College, Marywood University, Elizabethtown College, St. Vincent College, Bloomsburg University and Lock Haven University.