SPARTA, NJ- The Sparta High School orchestra students took their turn having a virtual spring concert and Senior Awards ceremony.  On Wednesday, May 13 the students performed and shared their sentiments.

Orchestra teacher Loni Bach thanked Laura Lopez for her “hours of help running the violin and viola sections and her beautiful accompaniment on the piano.”

Lopez, in turn thanked the teaching assistant Kayleigh Forenbach for her “wonderful job coaching our symphony orchestra violinists with enthusiasm and lots of encouragement.”  Forenbach had been helping the symphony orchestra  for three years.

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“It is always bittersweet to say goobye to our seniors,” Bach said.  “This is especially true this year.”   

She explained this year’s large graduating class will be receiving a pin of their musical instrument when they get their cap and gown. 

“The students would have been walking across the stage to receive their orchestra pin with other members of their section in the orchestra,” Bach said.  She then said a few words about each of the seniors.

The violins went first.

Allison Bottoni’s favorite piece is “The Kraken” and her favorite memory was “when we go tot record sleigh ride with the new recording equipment.”

Kayleigh Forenback’s favorite piece is “Phantom of the Opera but Pirates is a close second behind.  I just loved the eerie feel of it and how everything flowed together beautifully.” Her favorite memory was “when the strings club played Safestock.  That was such a rush of energy and it felt great to be outside doing what I love.”

Markus Homann’s favorite piece is “Star Wars with the full orchestra.”  His “absolute favorite memory of high school orchestra was Disney, even though our flight got delayed and we got back at 4 a.m.”

Lauren Johnson’s favorite piece would have to be either Phantom of the Opera or Pirates of the Caribbean.  I love playing music from movies because hearing all the sections come together to play something so familiar gives you a new perspective.  You look at it in a different way and you appreciate it more.”  Her favorite orchestra memory “would have to be playing a concert with all of my friends and then going to the diner afterwards.  It was like a little tradition we had.  Our most successful outing was after the winter concert of our junior year.  We had people from the orchestra and the band all together dressed up in our town diner.  I’m going to miss these people.”

Aidan Mastandrea’s favorite memory is “when the first violins took the picture pretending to stab me and Jack.”  His favorite piece is “Pirates of the Caribbean even though we never really performed it haha.”

Ryan McQuillan’s favorite song is “Ashokan Farewell” and his favorite memories “were from the two times I went to Disney with the orchestra.”

Kimberly Munro’s favorite high school piece is “Counting Stars.”  She said her favorite memory was
“in Disney playing on stage at Disney Springs.  I also enjoyed sectionals and staying after class and talking before study hall.  Thank you Mrs. Bach for helping me improve as a violinist.”

Jach Scher’s favorite piece is “Mozart Symphony 25.”  He said his favorite memory is “when we played my favorite song to perfection at the concert.”

The Violists were next.

Raina Dhand’s favorite piece they have played was “Pirates of the Caribbean.” He said his favorite memory was “playing all of our Christmas music last year for the opening of the new recording studio.”

Ben Lipton’s favorite piece is “Bacchanale my freshman year; it was very fun to play with the full philharmonic in Disney.”  He said his favorite memory was “Disney.  I got to hang out with my friends, had a great time playing in the orchestra I would end up joining next year- the Philharmonic.  It was a blast.”

Janet Lopez’s favorite piece was “Beauty and the Beast” and ”Pirates of the Caribbean.” She said she could not choose between the two.  Her favorite memory was “going to Disney.  It was my first time visiting Disney, it was extremely fun to play my viola and just to relax with my friends.”

Evalyn Fitzsimmons said her favorite piece was “Counting Stars.”  Her favorite memory was playing in the freshman orchestra.

Ryan Kurz said, “I have played viola since fourth grade.  I have been stand partners with Evelyn Fitzsimmons since seventh grade.”  He said his favorite piece was “Lala Land” and favorite memory was “Getting to know the viola section this year.”

Deanna Masucci said her favorite piece was “Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney” and my her favorite memory was going to Disney.

Chris Scheri said “Perseus Favorite” was his favorite piece and Disney trip freshmen year was his favorite memory.

Garrett Stewart’s favorite piece was “Allegro Con Brio,” and his favorite memory is “spring concert junior year.”

Five cellists are graduating this year.

Joe Biss said his favorite piece was “Pirates of the Caribbean” and favorite memory was “going to Disney with friends freshmen year.”

Erin Dolan’s favorite piece was the “first audition piece I had to do to get into Philharmonic [Orchestra.]”  Her favorite memory was “teaching assistant for their guitar class.” 

Bach said, “Erin was my TA for the Life Skills Guitar class and was a wonderful help for the students and to me.  Thank you so much for all your help.”

Cameron Ekeman said “my favorite piece would have to be Kraken” and “my favorite memory is last year at Safestock when we got to go outside and play our instruments for everyone.”

Jed Sutton’s favorite was “Kraken- easy choice considering I begged Ellie to write it.” He said his favorite memory was “volunteering to go to Mohawk Avenue School and try to get the little kids to choose to play the cello.”

Robert Tartaglia said his favorite pieces was “Marriage of Figaro by Mozart.”  His favorite memory “would be playing and joking around with friends.”

The Bass player Michael Lee said, “my favorite piece that we played was Star Wars” and favorite his memory is “always having fun in the bass section throughout the years.”

Senior Awards

The Top Player Award- Cameron Ekeman.  “He successfully auditioned of the Region Orchestra, played in our pit orchestra for several years, played in the County and State Teen arts festivals, taken years of private lessons, dedicated many hours to the Chamber Music Club, playing in multiple gigs and participated in our strings club.  He is also a founding officer for our new Tri-M Music Honor Society.  He has been a longtime member of the Sussex County Youth Orchestra.  His enthusiasm and dedication as a leader in the cello section has been a great asset to the program.”

The Service Award- Jed Sutton.  “The Service Award goes to someone we always count on to be a leader, cheerleader, and overall reliable member of the orchestra. This student has been incredibly dedicated to our Chamber Club- playing numerous gigs, Strings Club, volunteering many times with our elementary students, including recruiting our third-grade students. He is also a very dedicated member of the Marching Band and men’s choir. He is always enthusiastic and has many great ideas which he shares with the orchestra, including suggesting we play Kracken.”

The Director’s Award – Kayleigh Forenback. “The Director’s Award is given each year to the student who demonstrates a huge commitment to the orchestra program at SHS. This student is not only a fine musician but has been incredibly dedicated to the Sparta Music Department. She has performed in countless Chamber Music performances in the school and in the community.

“She is a long-time member of our Strings Club where she has played many solos.  She volunteered her time every day with our Symphony Orchestra for the past three years coaching the violins and giving lots of encouragement and help. She was also a very dedicated member of the Marching Band, Women’s choir, and one of the founding executive officers of our newest club, TRI-M, the Music Honor Society.

“She has volunteered many times to go help out with our elementary students. She has also played with local community orchestra, the New Sussex Symphony and the Sussex County Youth Orchestra.  She is going to continue sharing her musical talents as a Music Therapy major.”

Bach thanked Deborah Gianuzzi, Andrew Lopez, Laura Lopez for the “wonderful support, help and friendships.”  She thanked Gianuzzi for starting Tri-M Music Honor Society. 

She also had a “huge thank you to the parents for supporting these wonderful musicians” and then to the students for the “hard work, I am extremely proud of each and every one of you.”

They finished the concert with “Ashokan Farewell.”