6 - April 27, 2012 | Pelham - Windham News Small Town Music Students Hit a High Note in the Big Apple
Gene Fitzgerald, Christine Raymond, Nancy Perkins, Rick Sweetzer,
Max Sweetzer, and Laurie Sweetzer holding balloons and signs while waiting for the busses from New York.
submitted by Jillian DiPersio Traveling with months of practice in their pockets and heads filled with exciting thoughts of city lights, on April 19 the band and choir students from Windham High School (WHS) departed for New York. New York City has a population of about 8,175,133 people, higher than any other city in the United States. Around every street corner there are more people, each with his or her own story to be told. WHS is now a part of the story of New York. The night the students arrived, the musicians found themselves in the famed Times Square, ready to see The Lion King. Marissa Yost, a freshman choir student, said, “My favorite part of the trip was the Lion King. It was a great way to start off the trip, and it served as exposure to a different culture.”
Excitement filled the air the next morning; it was performance day. Before they could perform, however, they were first going to visit the 9/11 Memorial. The power of the memorial was astonishing. It was difficult for the high schoolers to imagine everything that had taken place at the sight and it had an emotional impact on many students. Now came the main event of the trip, the performance at the historic Riverside Church. The students would be competing against bands and choirs from Quebec, Ohio, New York, Ontario, Virginia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, Venezuela, and Indiana. Walking into the church, though exhausted from so much activity in so little time, the students couldn’t help but stare at the sight of the beautiful cathedral. The band performed first. The energy on stage was beyond
anything the group had previously experienced. The hearts of everyone on stage were racing as the final note of their first song, “Symphonic Overture” by Charles Carater, was played. They knew they had done well. They continued a fantastic performance with “Solas Ané” by Samuel Hazo and “American Barndance” by Richard Saucedo, all the songs displaying the band’s great musicianship. A
Band after performance
sense of accomplishment was apparent in everyone’s smile. Next came the performance of the Chamber Choir. This group is a mixture of students from the school’s Concert Choir, Honors Chorus, and A capella Club. The students had rehearsed for months two mornings a week before the competition. The choir had a wonderful performance as well, their sound echoing throughout the vast cathedral. They performed very advanced repertoire, including Alleluia by Randall Thompson, and impressed the judges with their tone and how they blended their voices. That night the students were treated to the sounds of the New
York Philharmonic Orchestra. Seeing a professional group perform showed the young musicians that music expands far beyond high school. They would later tour the concert hall as well as the other theatres in the Lincoln Center on Sunday before they departed. It was an amazing experience for them to see behind the scenes of performing centers after having seen a concert in one. The next day the students prepared themselves for a tour of the Radio City Music Hall and for the award ceremony before a cruise around Manhattan. Senior choir student Jake Simard commented on the music hall, saying, “I loved this part of the trip because, being a theater kid, I was completely awed by the size and workings of the stage as well as the hall’s history.” The students were told about many performances and events that took place on the stage, including the Radio City Rockettes, Cirque de Soleil, film showings, and even extravagant balls to mention just a few. Once more the students started on their way to the Riverside
Church, waiting for the awards ceremony to begin. “I don’t care about the awards,” said Mr. Cassedy, the band director, prior to the ceremony.
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did very well, but awards don’t matter.” Similarly, Mrs. Sayward, the choir director, said, “I feel that our students did a remarkable job considering that this is their first major national competition.” At the award ceremony, the camaraderie in the room was fantastic. “You bring people together with a common interest of music, but it’s more than that. It’s about the experience of achieving goals and coming closer together socially,” said Mr. Cassedy. Everyone from WHS, band and choir alike, held their breath when the concert band awards were being called. The Windham High School concert band was awarded a gold first. All the students stood up and cheered in sheer jubilation as everyone grinned from ear to ear. Everyone’s hearts beat like triumphant timpani rolls as the chamber choir division awards were being announced. The WHS choir received a silver second award, which is extremely impressive for a chorus that does not get the chance to rehearse together more than once or twice a week. The awards continued and the concert band
received more awards. Two “maestro awards” were given to the band, one to senior flute player Natalya Tausanovitch and one to junior trumpet player Patrick Fitzgerald. These awards are given to select individuals who display incredible musical abilities. The band also received an invitation to the Festival of Gold, which is another Heritage Festival performance series. This award invites bands to perform at Carnegie Hall in NYC, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Illinois, or at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, CA. The concert band was awarded the Adjudicator’s Award for an average score of 92 or higher as
Jared Cassedy, Director of Bands at Windham High School, holding a trophy.
well as the Outstanding Band Award. This last award is the most coveted award and is given to the highest scoring band in the festival; the WHS band received a 94 out of 100. The hard work of both groups showed as the scores were told.
The groups turned hours in a bus, months of rehearsals, and days of close quarters into an amazing experience. Not only were their voices heard, but also were recognized and welcomed in the big city. That night after the award ceremonies, the WHS students joined the other competing High Schools on a dinner cruise for a final celebration. All of the schools in the festival showed phenomenal musicianship and drive through their efforts in the competition. The students got back to the high school on Sunday night, greeted by ecstatic parents with balloons and noisemakers, applauding all the musicians for a job well done. “This trip did show me the great things our band is capable of and I am just so lucky to be apart of it. As a freshman I had no clue what was in store for the band class, but I soon learned that this band program is made up of great kids who take pride in everything they do musically and that this program is so lucky to have a director like Mr. Cassedy,” said freshman band student Maddy Joanis. Junior Vallen InDelicato, a band student, said that the experience
was “enriching. A lot of experiences you wouldn’t get in the band room.” This trip showed students in both band and choir exactly what they are capable of and where they are capable of going, from the freshmen that are just getting involved to the seniors who have watched the programs grow bigger throughout the past three years as the ambitions of each student are realized. The trip was about so much more than awards and acknowledgment; it made the students feel like they are apart of something more. The trip brought the participants together and created lasting memories. Each student brought so much back from New York City, and each student came back a more accomplished musician.
Coverts Cooperators Needed: Volunteers Working for Wildlife
submitted by UNH Cooperative Extension Are you interested in helping protect New Hampshire’s wildlife? Are you an enthusiastic person, involved in your community? Do you manage your own land to help wildlife? Are you concerned about the loss of wildlife habitat in New Hampshire? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, the NH Coverts Project Workshop may be right for you. The 18th annual New Hampshire
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Each fall for the past 17 years, 25 selected Coverts Cooperators joined a team of natural resource professional in a rustic setting in New Hampshire. For three and a half days, participants learn about the latest concepts and issues in wildlife and forest ecology, habitat management, land conservation, community conservation planning and effective outreach. Attendees pay a $50 registration fee, with room, board, and materials provided free by program sponsors.
In return, Coverts Cooperators agree to return to their communities and share what they’ve learned, and motivate others to become stewards of the state’s forests and wildlife habitats.
UNH Cooperative Extension coordinates the program in partnership with NH Fish and Game, NH Division of Forests and Lands, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. To learn more and download an application, visit www.nhcoverts.org
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