MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ - Seven Memorial Middle School students were chosen to perform in the inaugural Middle School Honors Band, which was sponsored by the Central Jersey Music Educators Association. Students from 29 area middle schools, including Memorial, were picked by their band directors to perform in the special concert at the Monroe Township Middle School on Saturday, April 22. A total of 210 young musicians performed in the concert.
Upon arriving bright and early on Earth Day, the students were split into two bands based on ability. Chloe Donelan (flute), Lauren Kim (flute), Jason Schwartz (clarinet), Ashleigh Krefski (clarinet), Leandra Rivera (baritone saxophone), Bryan Chan (trumpet) and Jada Fenner (trombone) all joined the Black Band. The teens were given their music last month and rehearsed with Memorial Middle School Band Director Christina Restine during their free time.
"The students received their music in March and rehearsed with me at lunch and after school to make sure they knew their pieces well enough to sit down in a large group and not be nervous about playing things incorrectly," Restine explained. "The Honors Band music had challenging notes and rhythms in it, which the students had to practice on their own as well. I am very proud of these students for making the commitment to learning this new music in a short time and for giving up their lunches and after school time to meet with me."
The seventh and eighth graders rehearsed with conductor, Sandy Olson for four hours prior to the 2 p.m. performance in front of family and friends. Olson teaches music at the Crossroads Middle School in the South Brunswick School District. The Black Band performed three pieces, including "Shadows Unleashed" by Brian Balmages, "Dreamscape" by Ed Huckeby and "The Impossible Machine" by Erik Morales.
"All of the students reported having a great day," Restine said. "They felt positive about their performance and met new friends."