Anita Zhang of Ticonderoga rehearses during the All County Music Festival. The event was hosted by Ti High School and attracted more than 200 of the North Country’s top student performers.
Top student performers from around the North Country gathered in Ticonderoga for the annual All County Music Festival Feb. 16.
About 230 musicians from 12 schools took part in a day of rehearsals before an evening concert for the public. The event included a mixed chorus, a women’s chorus, a concert band and a jazz band.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to be the host this year,” said Michael Iturrino, a Ticonderoga High School music teacher. “We try to give our kids every chance to excel at all levels of music and this is a wonderful chance to collaborate with students from other schools. It’s a chance to see how other schools do things and compare notes.”
Iturrino served as the All County co-chairman this season along with Jolene Harrigan, another Ti High music teacher.
Taking part in the concert were students from Ticonderoga, AuSable Valley, Elizabethtown-Lewis, Keene, Lake Placid, Long Lake, Moriah, Newcomb, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Westport and Willsboro.
Sponsored by the Essex County School Music Association, All County musicians are selected by their music teachers or have qualified through auditions for the Area All State Music Festival. They are the best student musicians in the area, Iturrino said.
“It’s an honor to be here,” he said.
Brian Beaudein, music teacher at Long Lake, agreed.
“These kinds of festivals are a great incentive for the kids in our program,” he said. “It gives us purpose and direction.”
Zhanna Pendell, a music teacher at Newcomb, said the All County event is an important educational Moment.
“We want our students to have every opportunity to succeed,” she said. “All County is one of those opportunities. This is another challenge, another chance for our students to succeed.”
The annual All County Music Festival is also an opportunity for students from small schools to perform with large groups — something that’s very important to North Country schools.
“It gives my kids a chance to perform with a full-size group,” said Lynn DeWalt, Keene music teacher. “Here they’ll sign in a 100-voice chorus instead of the 23-voice chorus at home. It’s a wonderful opportunity.
“We have a very good, strong chorus this year,” he continued. “About half our high school is here.”
Beaudein also noted the strength of numbers in music.
“It can be a challenge finding a repertoire to play at a school our size,” he said. “Most of the music published is for gigantic bands and choruses. We don’t have a hard time playing music, we have a hard time finding music we can play because of our numbers.”
Heather Olson, music teacher at Westport, pointed out the All County event has many benefits for students — including perspective.
“Most of the time our kids see students from other schools they’re competing on the basketball court or athletic field,” she said. “Here they all sit on a stage and collaborate. They see each other as peers, not competitors. It’s a different, healthy perspective.”
The women’s chorus was directed Jenn Moore and accompanied by Liz Cordes. It included:
Abigail Sexton, Alexandra Bartlett, Danielle LaMere, Samantha Brickey, Abigail St. Onge, Emily Mitchell, Klarissa Hoyt and Monica Dederick of Tupper Lake;
Ashley Costello, Michaela Connors, Sara Plude, Shelby Spaulding and Sierra Woodard and Kaitlin Diskin of Ticonderoga;
Elizabeth Leff, Lucy Mitchell, Marina Waldy, GretaLautenschuetz, Haley Brandes, Lindsey Howe, Megan Borland, Adele Jesmer, Emma Roach, Erin Wever, Hannah Potter, Joan O’Leary, Lorraine Draper, Makenzee Bruce and Mary Kate Graham of Lake Placid;
Ivy Huber, Ellen Miner, Gina Fiorile, Shiloh Woodruff, Whitney Callaghan, Annie Frenette, Jacquie Parker and Selena Baillargeon of Saranac Lake;
Alexis Smith, Haley Garno-Potter, Sodie Stoner, Anna Kowanko, Evella Plumley, jordan Swiridowski and Rachelle Goff of Keene;
Chantel St. Denis, Julia Cox, Keturah Colburn-Burdo, Sage Allott and Kyra Schaefer of Elizabethtown-Lewis;
Macey Sprague, Soyoung Park and Felicia Kurth of Westport; and
Sherika Pulisfer of Willsboro.
The mixed chorus was directed by Helen Demong and accompanied by Drew Benware. It included:
Ally Wallace, Anna Izzo, Emily McConney, Gorgianna Rickard, Kendra Manning, Christina Stanton, Genevieve Benware, Alastaire Masterson, Alex Jelinek, Lucky Cerruti, Colin Briggs, Daryl Brier, Jeremy Florence and Robert Gregory of Lake Placid;
Caroline Dodd, Elena Beideck, Eydon Thomashow, Jessica Kemp, Katie Romano, Keiley Branch, Mariama Tsiklauri, Robyn Williamson, Summer Schneider, Leah Kleist, Allie Charey, Autumn Buerkett, Erin Ryan, Jazzmyn Tuthill, Jennifer McGuoirk, Kasey Cunningham, Nina Scheuer, Olivia Hunt, Alex Rodriguez, Dylan VanCott, Griffeon Chuba, Haakon Pederson, Kevin Morgan, Sam Stringer, Teddy Yanchitis, Bachana Tsiklauri, Hudson Gray, Jamaal Tuthill, Max Paul Peter Curtis, Sean Orman and Skyler Buckley of Saranac Lake;
Jazmin Picaino and Meg Smith of Long Lake;
Katie Whittemore, Zoe Reusser, Erica Fields, Andy Mitchell, Terry Thomas, Lou Scagline and Patrick Phillips of Elizabethtown-Lewis;
Theresa Bower, Allison Sexton, Emily Sexton, Brandon Bedore, Ian Gillis, Lance Vaillancourt, Roger Delair and Nicholas Dreslinski of Tupper Lake;
Alaina Bevilacqua, Alyssa Rodriguez, Anita Zhang, Rebecca Barber, Derek Bevins, Adam Losher, Christopher Burns, and Nate Lenhart of Ticonderoga;
Alexandra Dumas, Sadie Holbrook, Hannah McCabe, Colton Venner and Gabe Warner of Keene;
Evan Viens of Westport; and
Marshall Steeves and Austin Ferris of Willsboro.
The concert band was conducted by Kerry Mero. It included:
Kaytlin Gochenaur, Julia Murray, Remy Orticele, Sami Martin, Cameron Lieb, Emma Miller, Cassidy Rose, Allie Chary, Dominique Santiago, Blake Gregory, Chaz Morgan, Josh LaDue, Ethan Barge, CJ Williams and Cameron Czadzeck of Saranac Lake;
Katherine Towne, Stephen Bartlett, Skyler Gilbert, Anthony DuShane, Martin Glazer, Anthony Costello and Marcus Moser of Ticonderoga;
Olivia Jacques, Torey Patenaude, Katie Woltner and Cassandra Day of Keene;
Kelly Dolen, Ashley Dupius, Emily Sexton, Bryan Geiger, Nicholas Bourbeau, Lauren Bouck and Russell Tarbox of Tupper Lake;
Emma Helfgott and Kendra Niemann of AuSable Valley;
Nicholas Stosiek, Tatisha Kobe, Carissa Kennedy, Trisha Lavery, Andrew Meister and Christopher Kordziel of Lake Placid;
Megan Rushby, Andrea LaVien, Clare Hardwood, Kaitlin Coats,Brad Egglefield, Corinne White and Ezekiel Diemond of Elizabethtown-Lewis;
Rachel Abrahamsen, Erika Estus, Mallory Sudduth and William Heintz of Westport;
Emily Mero and Deanna Mero of Willsboro;
Renna Yandon, Rebecca Bolan, Ashley Miller and Marlina Peter of Newcomb; and
Michael Bigelow of Moriah.
The jazz band was conducted by Keith Kogut. It included:
Joe Hull, Sadie Posdzich, Garth Olsen, Ryan Murray, Brittany Burdt, Evan Olsen and Lyle Baillargeon of Saranac Lake;
David Knappik, Curtis Rissberger and Elizabeth Left of Lake Placid;
Marcee Pray, Skyler Brewer, Nick Agoney and James Rock of AuSable Valley;
Sam Balzak and Peter Craig of Keene;
Allen Jacques of Westport;
Thomas Slattery of Moriah; and
Riley Chapman of Ticonderoga.