article by Izabella Caruolo
edited by Daisy Downs
The MHS Choir and Concert Band Participated in the District 1 Honor Festival
~Special Thanks to Ms.Heather Guilfoyle and Mr.Adam Goad~
It’s finally 2018! New things are in store for this year, but for some specific Band and Chorus students, they had been preparing for their first performance of the New Year back in October.
Now you’re probably wondering why I is used the word “specific,” well, I used this because the entire band and chorus didn’t go to this performance. This performance was the Maine District 1 Honor Festival, this is a audition performance for the best high school musicians in the district. Students have the choice to audition for band or chorus or for both. If the student gets in for both band and chorus they must choose which one they are going to do for the final performance. Some students for chorus may get into mixed choir or treble choir. Their teacher is either Ms. Heather Guilfoyle or Mr. Adam Goad (depending on what part, band or chorus) will give their chosen students the music for the festival, then the students can practice on their own and go over it with their teacher. The chosen students will come together with other musicians and with “highly qualified conductors” in the district, for a two-day event in January, where they will rehearse and give the final performance. This year it was on January 20th and 21st. The 20th was the rehearsals and the 21st was a practice and performance. The performance and rehearsals took place at Noble High School.
I interviewed the Director of the Choral Department, Ms. Heather Guilfoyle and Director of the Concert Band, Mr. Adam Goad. They had to answer these questions according to their discipline.
When asked, “Why do you encourage your students to audition for Districts?” Mr. Adam Goad responded, “For band students who excel, participation in auditioned groups is the next logical step in their musical development. The music played in the district honor band is generally more challenging than that played at the high school, and this more challenging repertoire requires the student to practice more and develop a greater technique then may otherwise be expected. The festival also gives the students a chance to play in a larger ensemble (roughly 100 players) with full instrumentation. Additionally, it is helpful for students to go through the audition process. The audition process can be stressful, and it is important for students to face these situations now so that they find themselves more prepared down the road. After all, a job interview is an audition.”
When I asked Ms. Heather Guilfoyle, “Why do you encourage your students to audition for Districts?” she responded, “I encourage students to audition for several reasons. The first being that if you make it into the festival you are guaranteed a unique experience that is unlike anything that you are going to experience at school. You get the chance to sing in an ensemble much larger than our own, with repertoire that is usually inaccessible to your typical school choir, and you get to work with a different director who will often have new ideas. Another reason is the process of going through the audition itself, auditioning can be a stressful thing for many but it helps them develop real life skills that can be used for when they are going on job interviews later in life. Auditionees also get written commentary back on how their audition went which helps them get more personalized feedback than they can get if they just participate in an ensemble. So the audition is valuable even if they do not make it into the festival!”
Mr. Adam Goad answered, “How does participating in this event improve the students music performance and skills?” he explained, “As mentioned above, the music is often more difficult then what is played at the high school. Also, the opportunity to work with a guest conductor (often a university professor) gives the students a different view of music, their instrument and their experience in playing in an ensemble.”
Ms. Heather Guilfoyle also answered, “How does participating in this event improve the students music performance and skills?” her answer was, “Students who participate learn new warm-ups, different approaches to vocal techniques, and a wider knowledge of choral repertoire. It also helps them to reinforce things they have already learned. I've learned that I can say something a million times but when they hear it coming from people other than me it means more.”
“When a student comes back from the performance, do you notice a difference in their musical performance and skills?” Mr. Adam Goad replied with, ”While a two-day festival does not necessarily produce better musicians right away, I strongly believe that the experience is an inspirational and motivating one for our students. The students enjoy participating, and it is great for them to see the that their hard work has paid off. Generally, I find after a student participates in district 1, that they have a better understanding of how an ensemble is supposed to sound, and that understanding helps all the band members grow as musicians. “
Ms. Heather Guilfoyle when asked, “When a student comes back from the performance, do you notice a difference in their musical performance and skills?” returned with, “Students usually come back from this festival feeling more confident about their abilities and tend to sing out more, share their ideas and experiences with others, and usually start reading music a bit better.”
They both had very similar and very different answers because in some ways a band and chorus student are alike but in other ways, they are quite different. Many don’t see the difference between a choir student and band student.
Districts is a great opportunity and if you are a band or chorus student, you should audition to be in it next year!
You’ve read what the directors think of Districts, now it's time for the students who made it this year. I interviewed students from both band and choir, to see how they felt the performance went and what they thought they learned in their experience.
The Choir Students Who Got Accepted
Jared Walberg, Zolyia Nedzbala, Olivia Gerry, Madison Richards, Emma Masse, Kayleen Turner, Olivia Mynahan, Lauren Weko, Amie Giles, and Isaiah Binimou
The Band Students Who Got Accepted
Aaron Brown, Anastasia Vermette, Alyssa Barfield, Aiden Galbraith, Candace Lee, Zachery Bandle, and Helen Philbrick
The first student I interviewed was Lauren Weko. She is a chorus student. Lauren was the only Freshman out of the 3 who auditioned to get in the festival. She sang Alto 2. When I had asked her, “What was your favorite part about your experience?” she responded, “My favorite part was the getting to know our director, he was very friendly and a very fun person. He was smart and knew how to relate to us all. There were many people and he was very good at keeping us under control. Another one of my fave parts was hearing us all together” I also asked her, “ How do you feel the performance went?” she replied, “ I feel that most of the songs went very well except for one that I messed up on. It was an amazing experience and I had a huge amount of fun.” The last question I asked her was, “What do you think you’ve learned in your experience?” her return was, “I learned new ways to control my voice.”
The second student I interviewed was Aaron Brown. Aaron is a Junior, he is part of the band and chamber singers. He auditioned for band, he got in with the Bassoon. I asked him, “What was your favorite part about your experience?” His response was, “Working with a group of students who are passionate about what they're doing. “ I also asked him, “How do you feel the performance went? He answered, “It went really well, because during rehearsals we were prepared and were very focused”
The next student I interviewed was Isaiah Binimou. Isaiah is a senior. He is in choir and chamber singers. Isaiah auditioned for choir and got in as a tenor 2. Mr. Binimou had answered, “What was your favorite part of your experience?” His response was, “The concert was my favorite part.” He also answered, “How do you feel the performance went?” his remark was, “The performance went fantastic.” I then asked him, “What do you think you’ve learned?” “I learned that the basses and tenors sound amazing if we blend together”
This next student is Anastasia Vermette, she is a Junior. Anastasia is part of band, choir, and chamber singers here at MHS. She had auditioned for both band and choir, and got in for both. She auditioned as a soprano for choir and the flute for band. She ended up choosing band for the festival. I had asked, “What was your favorite part of your experience?” her return was, “Meeting a lot of people” I also asked, “How do you feel the performance went” she answered with “Pretty well, because we rehearsed a lot” Then I stated, “ What do you think you’ve learned?” her remark was, “That small schools with low budgeting, are still able to be part of this event.”
I interviewed Olivia Mynahan. Olivia is also a senior. She is in chamber singers. Olivia auditioned for choir and sang soprano 1. When I had asked Olivia, “What was your favorite part of your experience?” she remarked, “My favorite part of my experience was meeting new people, learning news techniques, and spending the days with my best friends! I felt so lucky to be there and to be a part of a group of such strong female singers. Even though we were there for only two days, there was an obvious closeness and bond with the group.” “How do you feel the performance went” I asked. Olivia responded with, “I was not expecting for us to be as prepared as we were and the talent in the room definitely helped to boost my confidence, which I felt improved my performance. As far as the entire group, we were very well-blended and we all enjoyed singing with each other. Of course there were things that didn't go as planned, however, the objective of the performance wasn't to be perfect, it was to be compelling.” I then asked, “What do you think you’ve learned from this experience?” Olivia answered with, “I learned so much about the pronunciation of vowels and consonants! I know that I definitely learned more than that, I just can't remember at the moment.”
The last student I interviewed was, Candace Lee. Candace is a sophomore. She is in band and plays the clarinet. She auditioned for band in the festival and got in for clarinet 3. When I talked to Candace, I asked her, “What was your favorite part of your experience?” she returned with, “My favorite part of the experience at Districts was getting to know the conductor (Dr. Blanco) and playing the music with other players, not from Massabesic.” I then asked her, “How do you feel the performance went?” she answered with, “I felt the performance went really well. Everyone was well prepared and confident in their playing.” The last thing I asked Candace was, “What do you think that you’ve learned from the experience?” Her remark was, “I think I learned the importance of being responsible for your own self when preparing for something as big as Districts. Being prepared with your music is the most important thing to do.”
Districts was a success this year! They all enjoyed their two day event. Districts is a great way to learn new ways to play your instrument or new ways to sing. It gives musicians a chance to see and play/sing with other musicians that aren’t in their school. As you can see we have many talented students in our school, that love to create music.
If you love to sing or want to learn a new instrument, then join band or chorus! You will be welcomed with open arms. If you join, you will then in the future be able to audition and hopefully get in Districts.