Faces of the Valley: Deer Lakes student is first in school district to win three music festivals
A student from Deer Lakes High School has achieved a musical feat never before seen in the district.
Michael Everhart, a senior, became the first student from Deer Lakes to qualify for three ensembles – band, orchestra and choir – at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) regional festivals held earlier this year.
Michael considers the Super Bowl accomplishment his high school career.
“I can leave some history behind me,” he said. “It’s pretty rare.”
the PMEA is a statewide nonprofit organization with more than 4,000 members dedicated to promoting the musical development of all Pennsylvanians, as described on its website.
Michael was only cleared to perform in one category for the PMEA All-State Festival on April 9 in the Poconos. He chose the orchestra. He was one of six trumpeters and the second student from Deer Lakes to perform at the All-State Orchestra Festival.
An avid musician, Michael learned the trumpet when his fourth-grade music teacher, Lacey Mahler, suggested he try the brass instrument at a student instrument day. The trip would be frustrating, during which he almost gave up.
His father, Mike Everhart, said he could see his son’s talent and didn’t want him to give up so soon.
“I think that little pep talk may have inspired him to excel at his instrument and focus on being a wonderful musician,” Everhart said.
The news of Michael’s success was a proud moment for his parents.
“We’re absolutely proud of everything he’s done to get to this point,” Everhart said.
Michael said he was grateful for his parents’ encouragement because he pushed himself to try other musical endeavors to help him become a well-rounded musician.
He was involved with the River City Youth Brass Band from grade nine until first covid hit in 2020. He occasionally plays for the North Pittsburgh Symphonic Band. His freshman year, he attended Carnegie Mellon University’s summer music program, where he performed for six hours a day.
“That’s the most I’ve been really involved with musically,” he said.
Michael attributes his success to his mentor and teacher Josh Boudreau, who is the first cornet and concert master of the River City Brass Band.
“I really started to pick up speed from there,” Michael said. “I’ve played with him so far.”
Michael said he has no plans to put his musical skills aside after graduating from high school. He plans to go to university to pursue musical studies.
“I want to teach kids and help kids reach their full potential,” he said.