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Elizabethtown College-Community Orchestra honored with performance spot at April PMEA conference

State gathering at Lancaster County Convention Center

College-Community Orchestra honored

The Elizabethtown College-Community Orchestra (ECCO) has been asked to perform this spring at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) state conference, scheduled for April 19 through 21, at the Lancaster County (Pa.) Convention Center in downtown Lancaster. "It's a great honor," Rob Spence, director of the ECCO, said of the opportunity to perform at the conference's invitation-only concert.

ECCO, one of more than 100 groups that auditioned, landed its spot among nearly 15 performers at the Lancaster conference, after sending a 20-minute audition CD last summer. The audition showcased three selections of music highlighting the orchestra's abilities.

The 90-member ECCO, which, this year, celebrates 40 years, is composed of Elizabethtown College students and community members from Lancaster, Dauphin, Lebanon and York counties. A member of PMEA, ECCO represents public schools/college/community at the concert. "Because the conference is in our own backyard," said Spence, who serves Elizabethtown College as assistant professor of music and director of instrumental studies, "it made sense for us to audition." It's the first time in the four-decade history of the orchestra that the group has performed at the PMEA conference, he said. "Back in the '70s," Spence noted, "Otis Kitchen took the (College's) jazz band and saxophone ensemble."

The conference is attended by hundreds of music educators from across the state. In addition to concert performances by a variety of ensembles, the conference also features workshops, concerts by well-known musicians, plus music education product and service displays.

The PMEA is a statewide nonprofit organization with more than 5,000 members who are dedicated to promoting musical development in Pennsylvania. Members are from all levels of music instruction, as well as from the music industry, merchandising and publishing. The PMEA mission is to promote and support quality music education, learning and performance in schools and communities.

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