New Castle News

September 23, 2013

Local student to perform with national ensemble

David Burcham
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Mixing music and business provides the best of both worlds for Jarod Forsythe.

One of the pre-eminent young instrumentalists in Pennsylvania, the Wilmington High School senior will play French horn next month in the All-National Symphony Orchestra at a gala concert in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

He will join more than 600 of the most talented high school musicians from across the nation under the batons of four of the country’s most prominent conductors — Dr. Peter Boonshaft, Miriam Burns, Rollo Dilworth and Rodney Whitaker.

For Jarod, it will be almost as exciting as a career in business and finance. He joined FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) in ninth grade and enjoyed all the related subjects.

While he plans to continue with music through college years and beyond, Jarod’s ultimate goal is to become CEO of a mega corporation.

“Music is my great escape,” said Jarod, who plans to stay the course at Washington & Jefferson University next year.

“I was shocked,” he said of being selected for the national orchestra.

But those who know him best weren’t surprised.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work that he has put forth through practice and his audition to earn this high honor,” said Jonathan Nickel, band director at Wilmington High School.

Jarod, the first Wilmington student to reach the national level, plays in the marching band, indoor concert band and pep band and with the Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra.

“Jarod is very involved with music in and out of school,” Nickel said. “He’s very personable, too.”

The All-National Honors Ensembles consists of a concert band, symphony orchestra, mixed chorus and jazz ensemble. Students qualified after reaching their state-level honor ensemble program and then competing against other top students for a spot in the national honor ensembles.

Forsythe submitted an audition tape last May, but it was June before he was notified that he had been chosen. “It is reviewed on a point system for tone, accuracy and rhythm.”

The whole process took four auditions, advancing through district and regional orchestra competition to qualify for state.

Jarod expects the music to be played in Nashville will be mailed to him soon so that he can prepare to perform it.

“When we get there (next month), we’ll work on little things,” he said.

“It’s great fun to blend with a group. And it will be awesome to meet new people from all over the country.”

He prefers orchestra music “because I love the way string, brass and percussion come together.”

Forsythe was introduced to music by his grandmother, tutored by a neighbor and encouraged by his parents, Ken and Barb Forsythe, neither of whom play at instrument.

It all started at the home of his grandmother, the late Thema Peters. “She had a piano, I would bang on it,” Jarod said. “I always loved it.”

He studied piano for nine years.

He began his band days as a trombone player, but switched to the French Horn in ninth grade. He also plays clarinet and guitar.

Paula Kubik, a family friend and neighbor, was Jarod’s piano teacher

As for Jarod’s musical abilities, Barb Forsythe said, “He got that all on his own.”