April 13, 2024

The Ohio Private College Instrumental Conductors Association (OPCICA) held its twenty-eighth annual musical honors festival on Jan. 24, and seven Wittenberg musicians had the opportunity to perform.
Representing Witt at this year’s OPCICA in the honors band were senior Emily Rayens on flute, junior Justin Krupa on the tuba, junior Sophie Hulen on bassoon, sophomore Michael Kovack on trombone, senior Jack Burdwood on percussion, senior Caitlin Lobl on horn. Senior Luke Mullins also performed in the jazz band on the tenor sax.
According to Hulen, Wittenberg’s band director Brandon Jones is asked to select a list of students that are sent to the OPCICA review committee for consideration.
The weekend was a very busy one for all involved. According to Hulen, “[On Saturday] we rehearsed from 9 to 4:40 with a few breaks. We prepared six different pieces for our concert which was the next day. Sunday, we met at nine and practiced for about three hours. Then, we gave our final performance a few hours later.”
Mullins had a similar hectic schedule in the jazz band; however, he was separated from the rest of the Wittenberg crew.
“I rehearsed with only the other jazz band members there,” he said. “The jazz band was a ways away from the concert band.”
According to Malone University’s website in an article about last year’s festival, OPCICA “[was] founded in 1987, by Dr. Ken Kleszynski (Otterbein College), and Dr. William Schlacks (Muskingum College), [and] held its first collegiate honors band festival on January 24, 1988 at Capital University. Currently comprised of 20 member colleges and universities, the primary purpose of the organization is to develop a closer network of communication and resource sharing among the instrumental departments, divisions, or conservatories of the various privately funded institutions of higher education within the state of Ohio.”
To be selected to participate in this is an honor and a show that greatly impacted the musicians involved.
Hulen was very excited to have been able to perform: “It was really fun to get to work with some really talented musicians and conductors,” she said. “These experiences broaden the scope of both musical people I interact with and the pieces I get to perform.”
Despite being away from his Wittenberg peers, OPCICA had a great impact on him.
“As a musician, OPCICA  really afforded me the opportunity to hone my skills as an ensemble member,” Mullins said. “I also love being able to hear live music, but being able to perform with high level musicians really makes it special.”

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