Bethel Park High School senior Garrett Hoffman entered the 2017-2018 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association's Composition Contest in the High School category and was selected as the winner for his five minute song, "Where Will I Go?" As the winner of the competition, his song will be performed at the PMEA State Conference, which will be held April 19-21 in Lancaster.
Garrett wanted to write a song about "leaving" since he will graduate from Bethel Park in June, so he Googled "poems about leaving" and discovered "Leaving?" a poem by New York children's author and writing teacher Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. With permission, he used her poem as the lyrics for the music he wrote for "Where Will I Go?"
Garrett composed the song using the computer program MuseScore. He asked his Top 21 choir mates to perform the song for the recording he submitted to PMEA for the competition. Bethel Park High School senior Geoff McKain accompanied Top 21 on the piano for the recording.
Garrett wrote his first song in sixth grade for the Sixth Grade Jazz Band at Neil Armstrong Middle School, and his teachers have been encouraging him every year to submit a song for this competition. Last year he submitted a song called "Sea of Green," and while it wasn't selected as the PMEA competition winner, it is going to be one of seven songsto be performed by high school students on Saturday, February 17 at the Washington County Chorus Festival at Chartiers Houston High School. "Sea of Green" was also performed by the Bethel Park High School Top 21 Choir at its Spring 2017 Concert, and Garrett had the opportunity to conduct the choir for the performance.
Garrett is active in the music program at Bethel Park. In addition to singing in the Top 21 Choir, he plays drums in the Marching and Symphonic Bands, piano for the Jazz Band and flute in the Concert Band. In college, he plans to study music education and would love to teach music, and continue to write songs.