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The Amazing Nathan

March 21, 2008 - Phyllis Sigal
Nate Strasser is one heck of a musician. I've been watching him perform - no, I've been amazed by his performances — ever since he was a youngster way back in middle school.

I remember my daughter once entered a flute composition in a contest, winning second to Nate's composition. The next year, she was moving up into another grade level in the competition.

I told her, "Amanda, if you ever want to win, you better go for it when Nate's not your competition!"

Nate performed March 20 at West Virginia University's Lyell B. Clay Concert Theater at the Creative Arts Center at the Young Artist Orchestra Concert.

The concert featured four winners of the WVU's Division of Music Young Artist Competition. According to Nate's piano teacher, Dr. James Miltenberger, Nate went through a series of auditions in order to win the spot, along with just three other student musicians, at the concert. He was judged by faculty members, one each from areas of study at the university, including voice, keyboard, strings, woodwinds, brass-percussion, music education, music history and music theory, according to the university's Web site.

Nate, who is pursuing a bachelor's degree in jazz studies, performed George Gershwin's "Concerto in F." He performed with the WVU Symphony Orchestra. Included in the group of musicians were a couple of other Ohio Valley natives – Doug Sgroi on trombone and Allison Broski on violoncello. Both graduated from Wheeling Park High School and participated in the first-rate music program there.

A nice contingent of Wheeling people — most were symphony personnel and Nate's family — came for the performance. It was nice to see so many fans!

Wheeling Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Susan Hogan was there as were Gail Looney, symphony librarian, and Bruce Wheeler, orchestra manager. Board members David Ellwood and Pat Pockl were there. Nate's sister Diane — quite a gifted musician in her own right — drove all the way down from Michigan to see her brother in the spotlight.

Nate has won so many music awards over the years, I couldn't even begin to list them. He studies jazz and classical music, but lately has been seen performing with the Trainjumpers, a rock band, and he will be performing soon with the Chris Higbee Project, a country band, at River City Ale Works.


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