Arts & Entertainment

Somers Student Musicians Prepare for Statewide Festival

396d13876e32b104e8ea_51257.JPG
Younger student musicians performed at the Prelude to NYSSMA event. Credits: Christine Mahoney
2177f079d064b3f78e1f_51258.JPG
Older students who performed during the later session of Prelude to NYSSMA Credits: Christine Mahoney
396d13876e32b104e8ea_51257.JPG

SOMERS, N.Y. – The Somers Tuskers Arts Rising Stars (STARS) booster club hosted its inaugural “Prelude to NYSSSMA” event on Friday, May 12, at Somers High School. The unique performance opportunity allowed any student musician to perform a solo in front of an audience of family and friends prior to the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Up-County Instrument Festival on Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, held this year at Somers High School.

The prelude event consisted of two sessions: an earlier one for younger students and a later one for the older students. Children ranged from grades two through 11, playing the full range of NYSSMA levels (1 through 6). A variety of instruments were played such as violin, viola, piano, clarinet, snare drum, euphonium, bass and saxophone. During the second session, a showcase of Level 6 vocals performed with piano accompaniment by Dan Forman. The range of vocal parts included Soprano 1, Alto 2, Bass 2 and Tenor.

STARS is a fairly new booster club made up of dedicated parents and teachers working together to support the performing arts groups in all four district buildings. Through its recent membership drive, the club was able to present a graduating senior from Somers High School with a $1,000 scholarship this year. STARS hopes that, with continued support, the booster club can provide more scholarships and music education grants in the future.

Sign Up for E-News

Somers has been recognized as being one of “The Best Communities for Music Education” by NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants Foundation) for the last two years. Also, the Somers High School Chamber Choir recently received the highest rating of “Superior” at the Rhythms International Music Festival in Quebec City, Montreal, Canada, during April break. Likewise, the Somers High School Band received the highest rating, “Level 6 Gold,” at the NYSSMA Major Ensemble Festival last year. It will perform at this festival again this year on May 22.

NYSSMA sponsors an annual festival at which students perform solo and ensemble repertoire that they have prepared for adjudication by a NYSSMA-certified adjudicator.

Each district in Westchester County takes turns hosting. Somers’ last turn was in 2003.

NYSSMA is the state branch of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Over 100,000 students across New York State attend NYSSMA festivals annually.

Westchester has such a high rate of participation that the county is served by three separate festivals: The Piano Festival; the Down-County Festival; and the Up-County Festival, which hosts students from more than two dozen public and private schools.

The projected attendance for this year’s Up-County Festival is 1,610 students. Forty NYSSMA-trained adjudicators will travel to the festival site from all over the New York greater Metropolitan Area on May 19 and 20 to evaluate the students on their performance. A grade and written critique are given, based on established criteria such as tone, pitch and rhythmic accuracy, intonation, and sight‐reading.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Somers

This can't be happening to me

Several years ago, as part of an assignment for Linda Spear’s writers’ workshop, I began developing a short story. With a dear friend’s permission, I wrote of her long-ago troubling encounter; again, with her permission, I am sharing it with you. I wrote it in the first person, and all names, some facts and locations were changed to protect her privacy.

Hitting the road, Part I

Nothing captures the imagination of the American traveler like a good old-fashioned road trip. It reminds me of when I was a kid, packing the car for our annual family trip to Atlantic City. My primary function was to complain that there was not enough snacks and Hawaiian Punch to last the epic three-hour journey. I remember these trips as a lot more fun than they probably were, partly because I ...

A gentleman and a gentle man

My father crossed the River Styx in his 92nd year. He did not go gentle into that good night, but after diagnosing his own problem, fought to keep his promise to my mother and not leave her alone after nearly 70 years. He was a lateral thinker and lucid to his last breath.  

My parents were very private people who shared seven decades of being together, not only as husband and wife but ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...