This is the twentieth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!


Name: Joseph Navarra

Hometown: Centerville, OH

School Name: Centerville High School

Instrument: Percussion

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment in my band program was playing “The Engulfed Cathedral” by Claude Debussy at a large-group contest. I was a sophomore, and it was my first year in our school’s Wind Symphony, and I have not since felt more connected or moved by a single piece of music. I cite this this piece as the reason I want to major in music, and I am overjoyed at the opportunity to play it again with the Honor Band of America.

What’s your favorite song or piece of music?
My favorite song is “An Gé Fhiáin” by Ryan George. The title translates to “The Wild Goose,” portrayed by the English Horn and Oboe. This song is my favorite partly because of the broad range of styles and themes, but mostly because of a small percussion part in the middle. Around a third of the way through the piece, there is a shift to a light, moving melody in the strings and woodwinds, colored by the brass. The orchestra runs down the scale, and a bass drum plays at the bottom of the run, followed by a wood block on the upbeat. This “boom click” is such an interesting tamber that I love it every time I listen to the piece. I have told everyone I know about this tiny section of the music, but the piece in it’s entirety is still phenomenal.

What’s your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I am in the process of auditioning for six music schools around the midwest, and I hope to major in Percussion Performance after high school. I hope to play in a professional orchestra someday.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
This is my first individual MFA/BOA event, but I have been attending BOA events (including Grand Nationals) for the past three years.