Recognizing Musical Talent

At its May 7 meeting, the Carmel Board of Education recognized music students throughout the district who were selected for the All County and Honors ensembles. The Carmel Central School District Music Department has so much to be proud of each year. 

“This year, we had over 50 students perform in Area All State,” said Music Department Chair Meghan Cabral. “We also had students perform with New York State School Music Association's All State festival and the New York State Band Directors' Association honor bands. Our George Fischer Middle School students stood out at the Putnam County Music Educators' Association all county festivals, too. This year we had over 70 students accepted! Each year we also have students earn Excellent and Outstanding ratings at the NYSSMA solo festival.”   
Carmel Schools have been recognized as one of the best communities for music education by the National Association of Music Merchants’ (NaMM) for seven years running.   

At the district’s three elementary schools, music students learn the foundation of musical skills, including how to play Orff instruments and recorder, what makes a rhythm and a beat and, of course, singing. This prepares them for success at middle school and beyond while also delighting the community with performances for the Board of Education, senior citizens luncheon and caroling at holiday time. 

In General Music classes, fifth and sixth graders learn to play Baritone Ukulele and study Early American music and its history, especially Folk Music. They learn to sing and play chords at the same time, which shows a higher level of comprehension and mind/hand coordination throughout the course.  

Throughout grades 5-12 the performing ensembles are hard at work learning repertoire from Grainger to Taylor Swift! In these courses, our students learn how to play their instruments from the very first sounds and the meaning of being a part of something bigger to learning to learning how to perform musical techniques.  

This year, the middle school band teachers joined a consortium to have two pieces that are about mental health. The 7th grade band will perform one of the pieces this year. Our ensembles have also been rated highly at NYSSMA Majors festivals.  
Not only do our students excel while they are here in Carmel, but many of them go on to attend top music schools, continue to perform, and even receive scholarships because of their musical abilities. The Tri-M honor society and the music department work together to award scholarships to over 30 seniors each year, and GFMS also gives scholarships to at least three eighth graders annually. 
“Our Tri-M students are fantastic,” Cabral said. “They volunteer to help at our concerts and musicals, spread cheer through holiday caroling and at the annual Thanksgiving Luncheon for senior citizens. And let's not forget the fun moments, like when a group of GFMS music students played a "New Orleans" style arrangement of Happy Birthday to celebrate George Fischer's birthday - how cool is that?” 

The Carmel High School Musical Production "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" was a huge success. The show was well received by the Carmel community and gave our students the opportunity to compete with other High School Students in the Metro Awards and the Roger Rees Awards.  

Several Carmel performers also received scholarships to attend the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts for Summer or Full Year Programs. We have also been invited to perform at the Open Mic Night sponsored by LoHud and Peter Kramer. The night will feature the best scenes from musicals all over Westchester and Putnam Counties.