Following a week that saw the band win a gold medal in the Great East competition at Six Flags Agawam, and the chorus earn a “Superior” rating at the annual “Trills and Thrills” gathering in Lake George, the Claremont Middle School music program held its final concert of the year.
If the sixth grade band’s performance is any indication, there’s more gold in CMS’s future. Their highlight of their set was “Symphonette for Band,” which featured individual players and sections. They also tackled “Spania,” a piece that in years past had been played by the 7th and 8th grade combined band, according to director Seth Moore.
The chorus drew from African, bluegrass and gospel rhythms for their segment, working through the South African folk song “Singahahambayo,” the spirited “Hear That Fiddle Play” medley and Jim Papoulis’s inspirational “Can You Hear.”
The Jazz Band found a swinging, soulful groove. Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing” featured a tasty percussion break from Dan Seaman and a commanding piano solo from Julie Ahn.
Moore complimented the Jazz Band, made up of dedicated musicians from all three grade levels, for managing to learn “3 new songs a show while spending one hour a week together.” Over the past nine months, he said, the group has been on the front page of the paper multiple times, and played with Grammy-winning trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.
“It’s been one of Jazz Band’s best years ever,” Moore concluded.
The combined 7th/8th grade band provided a preview of the upcoming Alumni Day Parade, performing War’s “Low Rider” and “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago – two songs the band will march to on Saturday.
A rousing finale of “Phantom of the Opera” ended the band’s performance, followed by the choir’s rendition of “I Have a Dream” and “Come in From the Firefly Darkness,” featuring solos from Meghan Esdon, Alyssa Foisy and Ben Nelson. The song won the choir an “outstanding” rating at the Lake George gathering, said Choir Director Virginia Formidoni,
Moore and Formidoni presented several at night’s end, including medals for invitees to the Southwest District Music Festival, an elite all-state band and chorus.
Moore joked, “I ran out of money buying trophies.”
Southwest District Music Festival Band participants:
6th Most Improved: Mitchell Kelly
6th Most Outstanding: Erin Truesdell
7th Most Outstanding: Zach Bunnell
8th Most Outstanding: Sarah Porter, Abbey Rouillard
8th Most Improved: Victoria Webster
Southwest District Music Festival Chorus participants:
6th Most Outstanding: Elizabeth Gagnon
7th Most Improved: Jamie Carter
8th Most Improved: Samantha Perry, Megan Esdon
8th Most Outstanding: Victoria Webster, Alyssa Foisy
8th Grade Most Outstanding Band and Chorus: Julie Ahn