Top SPASH musicians perform in state honors ensembles


The Mirror reporter

The Wisconsin School Music Association has been giving recognition to top musicians for nearly 50 years and this year, six talented Stevens Point Area Senior High music students were selected to perform with the Wisconsin School Music Association Honors Project.

There were four SPASH Orchestra musicians selected for the 2017 Honors Orchestra: Marco Kurzynski, Hope Mahon, Alyssa Schroeckenthaler and Dinesh Traynor. These students began in the Middle-Level Honors orchestra, auditioning as early as sixth grade. All four are students of Cynthia Kiepert, director of the SPASH Orchestras.

The 2017 Honors Orchestra was conducted by Steven Amundson. He serves at St. Olaf College as professor of music and conductor of the St. Olaf Orchestra.  Amundson and his orchestra tour nationally and internationally and have won awards throughout his career.

Brennan Mattmiller, a senior tuba player in the SPASH Wind Ensemble, is a four-year member of the Honors Project and performed with the 2017 Honors Band. Mattmiller’s teacher is Brad Schmidt, director of bands at SPASH and the P. J. Jacobs jazz band.

The Honors Band was directed by Jack Stamp, adjunct professor of music at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and former director of bands at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania for 25 years. Stamp has received several awards including the “Citation of Excellence” from the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.

Kiri Kaster, a senior vocalist with the SPASH Concert Choir, was selected for the first time for the 2017 Honors Treble Choir. Kaster is a student of Deb Pionek, choir director and department leader at SPASH.

Robert Demaree, 2017 Honors Treble Choir Conductor, is currently on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville as conductor of the Women’s Choir, Singing Pioneers men’s choir, and teaches choral conducting, literature and music history.

The six SPASH musicians, along with more than 400 other student musicians from Wisconsin, auditioned last February. The students from SPASH attended a three-day camp in June at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for vigorous rehearsals with the conductors and sectionals in June.

The groups performed on the Oct. 26 in Madison in the Overture Center for the Arts as part of the Wisconsin Music Educators Conference.

On behalf of the Music Department Kiepert said, “Congratulations to Hope, Alyssa, Dinesh, Marco, Brennan and Kiri! Your teachers are so proud of all of you!”

Honored music students were joined by their instructors. They are (front row) Marco Kurzynski, Alyssa Schroeckenthaler, Hope Mahon, (back row) Dinesh Traynor, orchestra teacher Cynthia Kiepert, choir teacher Deb Pionek, band teacher Brad Schmidt, and Brennan Mattmiller. Kiri Kaster was not available for the photo. (Rob Whitmire Photo)