ONTARIO – The Performing Arts Department of Ontario High School with the support of the Ontario Music Boosters celebrated the first annual Signing Day May 15 in the High School Library.
Four seniors have auditioned, Lance Miller, Payton Schisler, Elizabeth Corn, and Kayen Huvler have been accepted and signed committals to perform at their prospective colleges.
“(I am) very proud to have four Ontario student musicians continue into collegiate ensembles and music programs," Director of Bands Elijah Henkel said. "I am excited to attend their concerts and marching band shows and watch them grow.”
Megan Hiler, the Vocal Director and Assistant Band Director, at Ontario Local Schools has taught all four of these students the last three years.
“I am so proud to see many Ontario musicians continuing their passions in college," Hiler said. "I can’t wait to see what all they achieve in their next ensembles.”
Lance Miller is attending Ashland University as an Ashbrook Scholar and will be playing bass trombone in the Eagle Marching Band this Fall. He will also participate in AU’s concert band and plans to join Jazz or Brass ensembles in the future.
“Music has impacted my life in so many ways," Miller said. "It has taught me how to keep working at something and to not give up and how to improve at something through my work.
"I have experienced the payoff of hard work and improvement at something I love. It has brought me many friends and experiences I’ll never forget and gives me a lifelong passion for trombone.”
Payton Schisler a 5-year Ontario Marching Band member, joining the high school program as an eighth grader will also be joining the Ashland University marching band and Symphonic Band.
“I also plan on spreading my love for music and encouraging others to give it a chance,” Schisler said.
Elizabeth Corn has been a part of the marching, jazz, and symphonic band for all four years of her high school career. Since her sophomore year, she has held the leadership position as the Principal Clarinet and Section Leader and has dedicated an extensive amount of time to helping individual students as well as the overall program these past few years.
As a member of the Jazz band, she has participated in Cabaret for 3 years and this year had a few small solo features within some of the pieces. In the symphonic band, she has had the opportunity to perform at OMEA Large Group Contest twice (once her freshman year when they got a 1 at Districts, and this year, where she played two cued solos for both the District and State judges).
She has been awarded both the Patrick S. Gilmore Award (junior year) and the John Phillip Sousa Award (senior year). Corn has also participated in OMEA’s solo and ensemble for 3 years and has received a superior rating each time in Class A.
In the fall, Corn will be attending Capital University to pursue an undergraduate degree in Clarinet performance with a possible double major in Music Technology. After that, Corn will likely pursue a graduate degree to further refine her music knowledge and experiences.
Her long-term goal is to become a professional clarinetist and either work full-time performing/teaching or take on a career in audio tech. depending on where her education leads her.
“Since I found my passion for music in eighth grade, I have been following it ever since and it has impacted and changed every aspect of my life," Corn said. "Through my freshman year, and especially through the quarantine season, I was practicing and doing everything I could to improve as a musician and young clarinetist on my own.
"It reached a point where I was practicing 3-4 hours daily, completely unprompted by anyone else, and in turn, it has reflected extremely positively in my chair placements, extracurricular ensembles, and accomplishments outside of Ontario’s music program alone. Music initially was just an outlet for me to focus on apart from my academic stress. But as I continued to improve rapidly and outgrow Ontario’s program, is when I realized how much more meaningful and special music is to me. Over the years, I have completely restructured my entire education to revolve around music.
"I spent my junior and senior years taking my academic classes year-round so that I could make time for all of my extracurricular music opportunities. In my senior year alone, I attended weekly rehearsals as a member of the Mansfield Symphony Youth Orchestra, Cleveland Youth Wind Symphonies Group 1, and Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, and on top of this, I participated in annual OMEA events, all while also going through my college search and audition process. At this level of involvement in music, I’ve found myself in a position of being everything but a typical high school student.
"Aside from just growing as a clarinet player, music has also caused me to grow significantly as a person. I find myself now with communication skills, maturity, leadership skills, time/schedule management skills, and so much more, unlike many other students I know. Music has had a major, positive impact on my life, and it has even become the pathway that the rest of my life will revolve around.”
Kayen Huvler, the only student of the four who has been a part of vocal and instrumental ensembles.
“Throughout my high school career, I have participated in the Warrior Marching and Symphonic Band for four years, Rhapsody in Blue Show Choir for two years, and the jazz band for one year," Huvler said. "In band, I have co-led as a clarinet section leader for two years, and throughout that time, I’ve learned essential leadership skills and formed memorable bonds with my fellow clarinetists and band members.
"In choir, I’ve been a soloist for both years of my involvement. At Cabaret, I have previously showcased a piano and vocal solo and this year a duet. I was one of two Ontario students to participate in this year’s solo and ensemble, in which I received a superior rating for my vocal solo of Scarlatti’s 'Le Violette.'
"Outside of school events, I’ve previously participated in the Honor Choir Day and Music and Theater Summer Camp at Heidelberg University in 2022, where I also performed a solo. In the jazz band, I was the only pianist and had many great opportunities to increase my knowledge of improvisation and jazz performance.”
Huvler, will be attending The Ohio State University this fall majoring in music education with a choral specialization. She is most excited to improve her singing abilities through voice lessons, as well as learning how to play new instruments and understanding music theory.
Huvler has been accepted into the Arts Scholars Program at OSU, where she hopes to meet many talented musicians and artists who will encourage her to practice and meet her performance goals. While studying at OSU, Huvler intends to audition for the Women’s Glee Club; she has previously attended one of their classes as a prospective student.
“(I) was blown away by their talent,” Huvler said.
Huvler may also join Ohio State’s Athletic Band, she enjoys the marching band setting and would love to make memories with fellow musicians across campus. As a side project, she hopes to continue performing vocally and, on the piano, to make extra money by sharing my passion. Following the completion of her bachelor’s degree, Huvler would like to teach music at the secondary level.
“More than anything, I wish to inspire my future students the way my music directors have inspired me and to become a better person along the way," Huvler said. "My music classes have provided me and many others with a safe space for self-expression and education, and I hope to pay this experience forward to future generations.”
The Ontario Music Boosters congratulates each of these musicians and wishes them the best of luck the next four years.