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High school band students perform at honor band concert

Yena Lee, Editor-in-Chief

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On September 30, the Hudson Valley Honor Bands performed their annual concert in the high school auditorium.

The Hudson Valley Honor Band program was established in 2008 to provide exceptional opportunities for more advanced band students from grades 9 through 12 in Hudson Valley schools, including the five counties of NYSSMA Zone 9. The program allows students to perform a vast repertoire of music, from classic to contemporary works.

“This year, in particular, I thought it was really diverse,” commented Mr. Regan, the director of the Honor Wind Ensemble, about this year’s concert music. “We had a Russian piece, an American piece that was art-based, and a piece based on a folk tune from the Middle East. This one was an ‘around the world’ concert for sure.”

Band musicians are chosen after auditions during the summer. Once the audition results are sent out at the end of August, rehearsals begin in the fall of each school year and conclude with a final concert which includes an annual college fair and a special performance by the New York Wind Symphony (N.Y.W.S).

“We decided to add the college fair and tag on the N.Y.W.S. and that would give parents and the students an idea of where maybe the students could be heading in a couple years as far as progress in musicality,” said Mr. Regan, remembering ten years ago when he and others thought of ways to make the program a more meaningful experience for students.  “I always find it to be just a special day of music for everybody.”

Unlike other music festival weekends such as all-county or all-state, this program provides students a chance to rehearse more regularly like a professional group. Students come together to rehearse at six weekly rehearsals including the concert.

“I love the fact that my students are able to interact with students just like them from other schools for a long-term project rather just a quick weekend,” said Mr. Regan.

Since this program is offered every year, students are more likely to participate for a number of years.

“I heard about it from my band teacher in middle school and have been participating in this program for five years now,” said percussionist Josh LeViseur. “It’s just another way to meet new people, get exposed out there and more experienced.”

The program includes four different bands based on student grade and performance level: the sixth-grade band, concert band, symphonic band, and wind ensemble.

On the concert day, the sixth-grade band and the concert band performed at the middle school and symphonic band and wind ensemble performed at the high school.

“Everyone is in tune for music and that’s the common denominator in rehearsals and the concert,” said bassoonist Griffin Bosco.

In the 2018 season, the sixth-grade band was conducted by Mr. Christopher Taborsky and the concert band was conducted by Mr. Ryan Walther, both music teachers at Monroe-Woodbury High School. The symphonic band and the wind ensemble are conducted by Mr. Richard Regan from Monroe-Woodbury High School and Dr. Bradley P. Ethington from Syracuse University.

Thirteen student musicians from the Monroe-Woodbury High School Wind Ensemble performed as part of the Honor Band Wind Ensemble:

Yena Lee, flute

Rachel Kogan, flute

Michelle Pretsch, oboe

Victor Yang, clarinet

Jason Pearson, clarinet

Brendan Fernandes, clarinet

Griffin Bosco, bassoon

Sophia Kohlbecker, saxophone

Fred Mourad, french horn

Tessa Lytle, trombone

Alex Liu, trombone

Chloe Saldanha, tuba

Josh LeViseur, percussion

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High school band students perform at honor band concert