The North Warren Band performs a selection in front of a panel of renowned musicians serving as adjudicators during the National Band & Orchestra Festival held March 23. Photo by Jeni Ferguson
The members of the North Warren High School Senior Band recently had a privilege that relatively few musicians, however accomplished, have experienced.
They performed at Lincoln Center, which has hosted many of the greatest musicians in the world.
The band, comprised of music students in grades 9 through 12, performed onstage at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall as part of the National Band & Orchestra Festival held March 23 in Manhattan. Six bands from five other schools, primarily from downstate New York, also performed.
The band’s performance was evaluated by a panel of renowned adjudicators: Virginia Allen, Dean of Orchestral Studies at Julliard School of Music; Glenn Block, Director of Orchestras and Opera and Professor of Conducting at Illinois State University; and Timothy Mahr, a noted American composer, conductor and Professor of Music at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
North Warren band director Colin MacInnis said March 31 he was very pleased about the North Warren students’ performance of three selections, including American Landscape, composed by Robert Smith.
“Our students hit it ‘out of the park,’” he said. “I’m so proud of them!”
MacInness reported that the adjudicators were very positive in their comments but also provided suggestions for the ensemble’s continuing improvement.
“We were very pleased with the judges’ feedback — It was very encouraging and offered very constructive ideas.”
MacInnis said the North Warren music students prepared well for the concert.
“The band members realized the significance of playing at one of the world’s top concert halls,” he said. “They worked very hard musically this year and raised money over several years to make this performance possible.”
Sara Stewart of Chestertown, who plays the bells for the band, said she was impressed with the experience.
“The significance of our performance didn’t hit me until after it all happened — that we had just played at the world-famous Lincoln Center,” she said.
Upcoming engagements for the North Warren Senior Band and the school jazz ensemble include the Spring Concert on May 20 and the annual North Warren Memorial Day Parade set for Monday May 26.
The Senior Band will also be performing in the All-County Band Festival to be held Saturday April 26 at Indian Lake Central School.
The North Warren High School Jazz Band will also be performing, for the fifth consecutive year, at this year’s Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, which hosts such jazz greats as Ron Carter and Donald Harrison. The North Warren Jazz Band is one of the few out-of-state ensembles to play in the festival.
March 31, North Warren Sophomore Morgan Yarosh reflected on the Senior Band playing at Lincoln Center. She plays tenor saxophone in the group.
Morgan said she and her fellow band members played American Landscape and the other two selections with more expertise than they ever had in practice.
“It was impressive to me how we all pulled through and created something really awesome,” she said.
Morgan added that the prominence of the venue and the significance of the performance were grasped by the band members.
“It was incredible to be on the same stage where so many world-famous musicians have performed,” she said. “It was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience — something none of us will ever forget.”