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Music To Our Ears

Several PMHS students have the distinct honor of performing at NYSCAME this Friday.

Sheet+music+of+selected+songs+to+be+performed+at+competition.
Sheet music of selected songs to be performed at competition.

Sheet music of selected songs to be performed at competition.

Photo by Stella Rae Wilkins

Photo by Stella Rae Wilkins

Sheet music of selected songs to be performed at competition.

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Having the chance to work with people who profess in something you are passionate about can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime and can even influence your future. This is exactly the case for the musicians at Patchogue Medford High School who were selected to participate in the 2017 NYSCAME Suffolk Festival.

The New York State Council of Administrators of Music Education, Suffolk County, is dedicated to the promotion of the high standards of leadership in music education, and every year they select the top musicians of various high schools in Suffolk County to come together and perform professional-level compositions after just three rehearsals. It is an honor to be selected to partake in such a distinguished event, and it is anything but easy to get there. Every performer who is selected has achieved a perfect, or just below, score on their All-State NYSSMA solo, which is no easy feat. Even then, a 100 is not a guaranteed entry as there is limited space within each section of the different performance groups. However, the talent at Patchogue Medford High School did not waiver, and our sixteen participants received their admission letters and music selections in October.
Once you have received the music, it is your responsibility to practice and learn it yourself. You are faced with the, at times grueling, task of learning professional music on your own time, often without help, in less than a month (not to mention the fact they they are all involved in multiple ensemble groups and constantly balancing their academics as well), and yet, everyone manages. The level of talent and experience they have enables them to look at the music and know exactly what spots are likely to trip them up and, therefore, what may need more attention.

Before they can even say Shostakovich the first rehearsal is upon them, and with it, the stress of auditions. During this first rehearsal a substitute conductor fills in and works through any major issues in order to make the main conductor´s job a bit easier and leave only minor details to be fixed. While the sub is going over the main parts of the pieces students are called down the hall to audition. But, thereś a catch; they do not know what they will be asked to play. So, as they line up outside the audition rooms, the air is filled with nerves and tension, especially knowing how tight the competition is. You really have to have all of the songs well prepared beforehand.

Keeping this in mind, our very own Nick Lyons and Anna Quatrale both earned principal chair of their sections (cello and oboe, respectively), and a solo in the Symphony Orchestra and Band; an incredible honor.

I talked to many of the musicians about their experiences at the rehearsals, which could last from 4-6 hours, and although they were tiring at times, everyone had a similar outlook. You learn so much in rehearsals, not only from the challenging music, but from the people you meet as well, and everyone is there for the same reason; the love of music and performing.

There are so many great takeaways from the experience overall, whether or not you plan on a future in music. You always walk out with a greater understanding of the craft, appreciation for the talent, time, and energy that everyone involved puts in, and at least one new friend. It is an event that truly shapes people and brings the whole Suffolk County community together. I sincerely urge you to join me this Friday, November 17th, for $15 at 7:30 at Hauppauge HIgh School, to support our peers and all their hard work, as well as witness the talent that courses through not only the Patchogue-Medford Community, but all of Suffolk County.

 

Close up of the euphonium.
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About the Contributor
Stella Rae Wilkins, Staff Reporter, Co-Anchor, Photographer

Gr. 12

You must strive to find your own voice because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are going to find it at all.” -John Keating

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1 Comment

One Response to “Music To Our Ears”

  1. Abby Yoches on November 16th, 2017 6:39 pm

    One of my favorite articles and so well written. I love our Pat-Med music department and I’m SO proud to be so involved in it! <3

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Music To Our Ears