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Music in Our Schools

March is Music in Our Schools Month -- Check out the events at PMSD

PMHS+viola+section+play+at+MacArthur+airport+during+the+holiday+season.
PMHS viola section play at MacArthur airport during the holiday season.

PMHS viola section play at MacArthur airport during the holiday season.

Photo by Stella Wilkins

Photo by Stella Wilkins

PMHS viola section play at MacArthur airport during the holiday season.

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Music. It means something different to everyone, especially those who live and breathe it, perform and create it. It is a universal form of expression that brings people together, and that is a beautiful thing that deserves celebration. Such is the reasoning behind the National Association for Music Educationś Music In Our Schools Month. The event is dedicated to celebrating and promoting the benefits of high quality music education programs in schools. And our Patchogue-Medford Music Program is one of the best.

So, with a concert every week through the month of March, what can you expect to hear?

Jazz Night, March 7: The night starts off with the elementary school Jazz Band, then each middle school, followed by the high school Jazz Band, and lastly, the Jazz Ensemble. Each level playing more and more difficult music written by some of the greatest jazz musicians, such as Maynard Ferguson, Count Basie, and Dexter Gordon. The students all get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to work with a guest clinician; a professional performer. At the end of night, everyone comes together to play a finale, in which the teachers themselves get to showcase their abilities through solos. It is an exciting night full of talent that sways from the typical school concert. And who knows, you might just get to see Mr. Mahr play a keytar.

Vocal Night, March 13: Like Jazz Night, Vocal Night also begins with a performance by the elementary and middle school Show Choirs. They perform pop songs with costumes and choreography then the high school groups perform. This year we will see the premier of the new Glee Club, directed by Mr. Reich and choreographed by Mrs. Sweda, singing some of the most popular show tunes, including selections from Hamilton. Lastly, the Vocal Jazz performs some very difficult choir compositions, and everyone comes together to perform a finale at the very end. The students also get a chance to work with a professional vocal group. This year’s group is New York Voices.

String Night, March 20: Similar to Jazz and Vocal Night, String Night involves and encourages students from 5th grade to 12th grade to step out of their comfort zone and play a different music style than what they are accustomed to. The elementary and middle school groups play popular music that is accessible, but also challenging. While the high school group plays a variety of music, from Jazz to Bach, film scores, and theater. The event brings together over 100 students, who all play a combined finale together with a guest clinician (a professional performer), this year´s piece by Coldplay.

All three of these concerts are performed by students who volunteer their time and effort to doing so. It is not required, there is no grade, it is simply passion and love for what they´re doing, that’s what makes these performances so special. As the director of Arts and Music, Mr. Stuckey, said, ¨these events are opportunities for our students to work with professional musicians/educators on music rehearsed outside of the school day, learning about repertoire, style, phrasing and the creative process.  We come together for concerts that involve students in grades 5-12. It is pretty inspiring to be a student musician and hear all the different groups across the district. As a sixth grader, I always loved to hear the High School Jazz Ensemble, and that is why I wanted to become a music teacher.  I’m sure there are (or will be) similar stories from our current group of students.¨ Clearly, taking part in these events provides a whole new world for the students.

Pops Concert I, March 22: The High School Concert Orchestra, Concert Band, and Festival Chorus perform popular music, such as film score adaptations and show tunes. The orchestra will be playing songs from Moana, Aladdin, and the Mii Channel Theme. The Chorus will be singing “Jersey Boys”, ¨Lean On Me¨, and ¨Footloose¨. Lastly, the band will perform selections from West Side Story and Les Miserables. This performance is important because it provides students with the chance to experience real-life musicianship.

Meet the Music Program Night, March 26: This event invites all parents who are new to the music program to bring their 3rd grade student to the high school auditorium to meet the instruments. There will be a performance by high school players to hear what each instrument or vocal group sounds like, and the staff will be there to meet and answer any questions you may have. We encourage all families to attend!

Pops Concert II, March 27: The last high school performance of the month ends with the String Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and Choral Ensemble coming together to perform music from some of the most popular films and musicals. This year includes music from La La Land, Titanic, Star Trek, and more. None of the music is simplified and these students do a great job of playing professional-level music. It’s especially important for those planning to have a career in music because it provides them with experience for their future and a look at what it would be like to play professionally.

Photo by Stella Wilkins
Music in PMHS
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About the Videographer
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
1 Comment

One Response to “Music in Our Schools”

  1. Nicole on March 7th, 2018 8:07 pm

    I love your passion for the music department at PMHS, Stella! Your writing is always so beautifully written and expressed. <3

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