Celebrating Music in Our Schools

From a 50th anniversary concert to a performance at Carnegie Hall, the music department marked Music in Our Schools Month with a busy March.

Teachers at 50th anniversary celebration of the GFMS Rock Ensemble

“We had a lot of things going on,” said Meghan Cabral, the district’s Director of Music.

Among the highlights was the 50th-annual Rock Ensemble at George Fischer Middle School. The club’s golden anniversary performance also featured the return of several alumni, including original director, Al Binder.

This year’s co-directors, Carmel alumni Buddy Griffith and Aja Broderson, had performed as students in 2003, which was Binder’s final year directing. They also performed the following year under their predecessors, Annie Davey and Eric Pecor. All five current and past directors in the 50 years of the club — which provides seventh and eighth-grade students the opportunity to learn and perform popular music — attended this year’s concert.

March also featured three performances of this year’s high school musical, the aptly named “High School Musical,” as well as the annual Extracurricular Concert, which brings together high school and middle school clubs to perform together. This year’s show included more than 80 students from grades six through 12.

The high school chorus had a busy month as well, singing during an evaluation festival at Queens College, then performing alongside other choirs in the Harmonic Convergence Concert at Carnegie Hall. The 132-year-old concert hall in Manhattan is among the most famous in the world.

The various events serve a purpose — and it’s not solely the opportunity to perform.

“We really want to be able to cultivate a lifelong love of music,” Cabral said. “We want to be able to inspire these kids to be the ones who go to a concert later in life or be the ones who encourage their kids to participate in music. We want them to see the excitement of having a variety of different musical things they can do so it’s not just sitting in an orchestra or a band. It’s doing a rock ensemble or being in a jazz band.”

March marked the induction of more than two dozen new students into the Tri-M Music Honor Society. Roughly the same number of returning inductees were recognized as well.

Student musicians throughout the middle school and high school were challenged in the annual New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) evaluation festival. At the evaluations, students play and are recorded while adjudicators provide verbal and written feedback.

Music teachers in the district also spent Music in Our Schools Month cultivating future performers. They visited elementary schools to introduce students to various instruments.

“It can help with bridging the gap with fourth and fifth graders between different buildings,” Cabral said. “We also really like going down and playing and performing for the kids.”

 Choral Program on stage at Carnegie Hall