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PA Distance Learning Hosts Statewide Junior High Chorus Festival February 9 at Seton Hill

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PA Distance Learning Charter School is hosting the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Junior High District 1 Chorus Festival at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 9, 2024, at the Seton Hill University Reichgut Concert Hall in Greensburg. The festival brings together 120 7th to 9th Graders who attend 57 schools in 47 Pennsylvania school districts to perform together for the first time. 

What makes this chorus performance unique is that the participating students have never sung together before the day of the concert and will likely never sing together again. The students will meet for the first time the morning of the concert to rehearse all day in preparation for the one-time-only choral event. The choir will be conducted by Dr. Mark Boyle, the director of choral activities at Seton Hill, and accompanied by Mr. David Emanuelson, vocal music director and music department co-chair at Hempfield Area High School. 

This will also be the first time that the school hosting the concert exists in cyberspace. PA Distance Learning is a cyber school that functions under a hybrid learning modality that encourages students to be independent and prioritize tasks in a way that best suits their learning style. The virtual school encourages students to explore their passions through extracurricular activities like traditional schools do.

PA Distance Learning is committed to ensuring home-schooled children receive the same breadth and depth of education and school experiences as their counterparts at brick-and-mortar schools. Unlike other home-based cyber schools that are completely asynchronous, PA Distance affords students both teacher-led live learning and supportive extracurricular activities. 

PA Distance Learning music instructors Jessica Sapp and Joyous DeMark will act as concert hosts with the assistance of the school’s music department. 

Ms. Sapp joined PA Distance Learning in 2020 and is currently the school’s 9th-12th Grade music teacher. Ms. DeMark, now teaching K-2nd and 6th-8th, has taught PA Distance Learning students music since 2021. Ms.Sapp and Ms. DeMark are also the current club sponsors for Pandatonix and Bamboo’s Singers, our fully virtual, after-school choir programs for students in 3rd-12th Grades.

“The music program as PA Distance Learning is robust and meaningful,” Ms. Sapp says. “I’m so pleased to be able to guide students who share my passion for music to pursue their interests. Being able to offer these types of in-person opportunities for students to display their hard work and talents is one of the joys of being a music educator.” She adds that this event gives our students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make beautiful music and meet new friends from their local communities. Two-thirds of the students’ home districts will also participate in the festival.

Eighth Graders Kenny Jones and Piper Harris will perform at the festival along with 9th Grader Ocean Podobnik, who previously performed in the 2023 junior high chorus festival.

“I've been singing since I was around 4 or 5 years old, so I’ve always had a talent for singing. I had so much fun performing in the festival last year, and I can’t wait to perform again,” Ocean says. 

“I wanted to be in the choir festival because I think it will be a good experience and because I think having a space to express myself will also be beneficial for me and my brain health. I'm excited to sing and share my talent with the people who will both be performing and spectating," adds Piper. 

For Kenneth, singing in the festival promises to be fun and an opportunity to connect with his cyber teachers and fellow students in real time. “I am most excited to meet my music teachers and get to meet new people,” he says. 

The public is invited to the concert. Admission is $5 at the door. To learn more, please visit the Pennsylvania Music Education Association’s website

About PA Distance Learning

PA Distance Learning is a public Pennsylvania virtual charter school that provides an inclusive, welcoming environment for students looking to pursue their education online. Central to the school’s success model is a dedication to hybrid learning that combines teacher-led live learning experiences with self-guided asynchronous coursework. Students are encouraged to explore the topics that interest them, and they are provided with the expert guidance they need to meet state and federal testing standards. 

For more information, visit

PA Distance Learning
(888) 997-3352
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Contact Information:
Robert DiGiandomenico
Chief Communications Officer (CCO)
(888) 997-3352

Original Source: PA Distance Learning Hosts Statewide Junior High Chorus Festival February 9 at Seton Hill
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