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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Right on beat: Ensembles flourish at NYSSMA

By Sarah Clark - reporter/photographer

The Eldred Choir holding their plaque awarded for their Silver Rating at the NYSSMA Majors Festival.
The sheet music is in order, instruments are being tuned, and voices are singing scales to warm up. As their hearts race, students and directors prepare to perform pieces they have strived to perfect for months.
On June 5, the Kingston School District hosted students for The New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Majors Festival, where bands and choirs can be evaluated on pieces of music by adjudicators. Two Sullivan County school districts, Sullivan West and Eldred, brought their ensembles and received high ratings based on their performances.
“You work so hard over the last few months to prepare for this,” Eldred Music Director Brian Nivison said. He took the junior and senior high mixed choir and both the senior and junior high band ensembles to the majors festival, and this was Nivison's first year taking a chorus to be evaluated.
The choir received a silver rating, which is their fourth in 25 years, the junior high band received their third consecutive gold rating, and the senior high band scored a gold rating. “It's very satisfying to finish off the way we did,” Nivison added.
“Our band has grown extremely close due to going through the process of NYSSMA majors together,” Eldred Band President Olivia Shultis said. She has been playing in the majors festival since she was in seventh grade, and has worked tirelessly with the rest of the band to prepare for performances. “It is such a validating and proud moment for us and it makes all of the hard work worth it for our band,” Shultis said.
Similar to the NYSSMA solo festival, the ensembles in the majors festival are judged by different musical technicalities—such as tone, technique, and interpretation. In order to receive a gold with distinction rating, the ensembles must score with gold on all three pieces that they perform. The Sullivan West High School band did just that.
“One of the main reasons I decided to take the group this year was that I had strong players throughout the entire band,” Sullivan West High School band director Ross Reynolds said. “I am extremely proud of these kids, they really did their best. If they did their best and their best was a silver, then I would be just as happy.”
“Before the festival I think we were all nervous for our performance,” President and first chair flutist of the Sullivan West High School band Allison Unser said. She mentioned how cramped the performance space was at the majors festival, but the band also felt well prepared, as the senior high concert was scheduled for the night before their NYSSMA performance. “We were all super excited to represent our band as well as our school. I would encourage other ensembles to do this because although being judged for your performance is nerve-racking, finding out how well you did makes it all worth it,” Unser said.
As the music students from each district celebrate their accomplishments, the plaques that hang in the band and choir rooms are a reminder that hard work and time will bring success. “I hope that all bands can have the opportunity to perform at this festival because not only is it a great way to show all of the hard work that you put in throughout the year, but it is also a wonderful bonding experience for a band,” Shultis said.

Eldred Junior High Band:
Ema Amato, Gwynaeth Andersen, Angelina Canfield, Gabby Canfield, Ghemma Craig, Dalen Espie, Kara Flood, Jacalynn Frey, Sean Furler, Raelin Keegan, Angelina Kehrley, Regan Kizer, Logan Knibbs, Donald Kuhn, Raven Kutzler, Grae Loretto, Kaitlyn McGarry, Molly McKerrell, Destiny Partin, Matthew Ranaudo, Masen Raymond, Kaylee Romer, Cadence Schrader, Gil Smyth, Ksenia Sosnowski, Cooper Stutz, Tristan Troxel, Francis Whitmore, and Lindsay Zgrodek

Eldred Senior High Band:
Owen Anderson, Alexia Bieler, Evan Bizjak, Adriana Cuomo, Joe Curreri, Nick Curreri, Annie Davis, Kyle Daw, Matthew Dunker, Matthew Dutcher, Emilia Faber, Dan Giglio, Patrick Kinney, Brenna Knibbs, Kyleigh Kuhn, Chris Lilly, Gavin McAfee, Kelsey Morgan, Zoe Nizzico, Mariel O'Connor, Jaiden Ocasio, Jaylin Ocasio, Mudra Patel, Justin Pitre, Andrew Pizzo, Kaitlyn Potter, Tatiana Quintana, Jada Reed, Courtney Rumsey, Olivia Shultis, Mackenzie Simonsen, Chris Smith, Sal Smyth, Bodin Stutz, Jaxon Stutz, Dylan Vega, Brittany Williams, and Dylan Wong

Eldred Mixed Choir:
Angelina Canfield, Gabriella Canfield, Jacalynn Frey, Angelina Kehrley, Samantha Kent, Rayanna Quintana, Kristen Amoroso, Sophia Deyermond, Natalie Edwards, Kerensa Howard, Tori Kaiser, Raven Kutzler, Annabell O'Connor, Emma Rumsey, Logan Knibbs, Sebastian Mohan, Cooper Stutz, Taylor McNeill, Dylan Wong, Halie Dunker, and Kyleigh Kuhn

Sullivan West High School Band:
Taylor Allen, Victoria Arnold, Lucas Arzilli, Emily Bair, Mya Barca, Allison Blasingame, Grace Boyd, Christopher Campanelli, Gabrielle Cohen, Brandon Decker, Luke Ellison, Samantha Everett, Julianne Feigenbutz, Kristina Foster, Jonathon Fuller, Abigail Gaebel, Tariq Gambari, Lucas Gladding, Edwin Glendon, Azalia Graffeo, Justin Grund, Alexander Haberli, Clare Hart, Gavin Hauschild, Lyric Hemion, Olivia Hendrickson, Sydney Hermann, Emma Hess, Joseph Joyce-Turner, Ryan Joyce-Turner, Zachary Keebler, Brooke Kloss, Ryan Kocher, Jenna Kratz, Michael Krentz, Kassandra Krob, Ryan Mace, Hunter Mall, Cadence Mannino, Bryce Maopolski, Reece Maopolski, Henry Marin Leon, Kaitlyn McBride, Joell McKeon, Nicholas Mills, Alec Milucky, Faith Murns, John Muzuruk, Isabel Nearing, Chanlyn O'Sullivan, Jay Parihk, Nikita Parikh, Paige Parucki, Dominic Perez, Nile Puershner, Benjamin Reeve, Kyle Reimer, Regan Russell, Annabelle Rutledge, Dylan Sager, Owen Sager, Olivia Sargeant, Kayla Shock, Jessica Schwalb, Camille Sensiba, Benjamin Sherman, Charles Simon, Carly Simpson, Kara Spath, Karlee Spath, Tarrell Spencer, Abigail Starkweather, Zachary Stevenson, Emma Switko, Allison Unser, Anthony Waite, Mack Zadubara.

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