Indiana Area Senior High School

PMEA festival season in full swing


Talented IHS musicians have been hard at work since January attempting to climb up the ranks on the PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators Association) music festival ladder. There are three levels of festivals for students to participate in. The first is the district level, then regions, then finally states.

Seven IHS students are progressing to this level: Nadia Goodyear (concert band), Joey Baunoch, Maura and Sam Knepper, Sean Kelly (all for chorus), and Emma Sheeran and Ronald Wang (orchestra).

Auditions are held at each level and require a lot of preparation on the student’s part. “The preparation process for these festivals is insane, like playing for hours,” says senior Emily Sands. She spent hours every day preparing for her audition at regions. The auditions are blind, but unlike recent years, they are in-person this year, which senior Maura Knepper tells me has helped motivate her to prepare. “In-person auditions really motivated me to make sure that I knew my music inside and out,” she explains. 

Aside from the intensive audition process, the experience of attending a festival and immersing oneself in the music and people around them is a rewarding one. “I think what makes the PMEA experience so special is knowing that you got where you are because of how hard you practiced,” Sands expresses.

The relief that rushes through students when they finally arrive at a festival and are finally able to culminate their hard work into a fantastic performance is a great one. 

The relief of the preparation process being close to over is not the only satisfying part of the experience–especially now that things are returning to normal following the pandemic. Restrictions like masks, bell covers, and social distancing are being lifted and music-making is returning to its original, in-person form. “The more we were able to move back to making music in person together, the more powerful the festival experience was able to be,” said Knepper. 

She’s right; the festival experience is a powerful one framed by a strong community full of care and support. “Something that makes this experience so special is being able to meet a huge group of people that all have the same passion for music,” expresses senior Nadia Goodyear. 

PMEA gives participating students a place to unapologetically show their passion for music, be themselves, and grow as both musicians and people. It is a unique, formative experience for all the students involved.

[Photo by Opal Thompson] “IHS students that made states with PMEA district banner”

Emma Sheeran


Emma is a senior and a first-year reporter for the High Arrow. She has been intensely involved with the IHS music department for all four years of high school, including attending state-level competitions and playing with the PSO. She is looking forward to working in a journalistic setting and putting the education she receives here towards a career in journalism.

High Arrow reporters earn contest awards

By High Arrow Staff On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, four members of the IHS High Arrow reporter staff were awarded monetary prizes and recognition for their efforts in the “Newspaper in Education” contest sponsored by the Indiana Gazette.    Over 25 different elementary, middle and high schools entered the contest

Read More »

IHS Mini-THON fundraises for the Four Diamonds Foundation

By Addison Mosco The IHS Mini-THON fundraising committee is raising money for the Four-Diamonds Foundation. There are many different ways they are fundraising, but all the money is going to the same place: the Four Diamonds Foundation. Senior Emma Masengale comments, “We are fundraising by reaching out to businesses, holding

Read More »

IHS Drama Club Prepares for Footloose

By Elizabeth Olsen With the change of seasons swiftly approaching, there are many things that the IHS student body has to look forward to. One of the most anticipated events coming up would be the annual spring musical, put on by the IHS Drama Club. This year, the club is

Read More »

Mini-THON 2024: What to expect

By Gabi Isenberg It’s that time of year again. Mini-THON 2024 is rapidly approaching and IHS Leadership has prepared a fun night for the school on March 21. Mini-THON is one of the largest school-organized and student-planned events. It is a smaller version of Penn State’s THON, during which students

Read More »

Students take on after-school jobs

By Elia Dietz Students at IHS have begun to take up employment as an after-school activity. Whether it is for experience, money, or simply to keep busy with an extra benefit, almost the majority of students spend their free time after school or on weekends working.  When thinking about applying

Read More »

IHS girls’ basketball rolls into season

By Addison Mosco IHS girls’ basketball kicked off their season with a game at Forest Hills High School against the Forest Hills Rangers. The game ended with a score of 45 Indiana and 53 Forest Hills.   Regarding how the season is going, sophomore Laken Kugler comments, “I believe our team

Read More »