Cazenovia High School earns top honors at music festival

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First time turned out to be the charm for the Cazenovia High School Chamber Choir and Wind Ensemble, each of which came away with top prizes from last weekend’s Darien Lake Music Festival in Western New York.

It was the first trip to the regional musical competition for both groups. The 16-member choir earned a first-place “gold with distinction” trophy in its division, choral teacher and fine arts department leader Teresa Campbell said. The group, comprised of students in grades 10 through 12, showcased its talent and range by performing three selections: “My Spirit Sang All Day” (standard choral a cappella); “Tango to Evora” (contemporary Latin); and “Ain’t Judgin’ No Man” (spiritual). Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 10.59.08 AMSome members of the Cazenovia High School Chamber Choir pose with their first-place trophy from the Darien Lake Music Festival. The Chamber Choir consists of: Mitchell Britton, Connor Carroll, Josie Chiarello, Kathleen Connellan, Will Fellows, Kelsey Henderson, Kyle Johnson, David Kempf, Katie Kempf, Rosy Ngun, Rusty Paddock, Rebecca Pfohl. Amber Robinson, Jessy Silfer, Marie Sugio and Joe Zambito “It was a pleasant surprise that the students fared so well at the festival,” Mrs. Campbell said. “We had no idea what we’d find when we got there, what the level of competition would be. But we just decided to go and do our best. I always knew our best singers could hold their own against the best singers in any school – and it was nice to see it was actually true.” The Wind Ensemble, made of 45 students in grades nine through 12, also brought home a first-place “gold with distinction” trophy and was declared “Grand Champion” by the judges in its division. The Cazenovia musicians performed a Level 6 (the most difficult) piece, “Puszta” by Jan Van der Roost, and a Level 5 selection, “Chorale and Shaker Dance” by Robert Zdechlik. “It was the students’ choice to perform music at this level,” ensemble Director Kevin Johnson said. The Wind Ensemble includes: Danielle Axelson, Hunter Burnett, Connor Carroll, Evan Cornell, Jeanette Cudney, Jeff Dewan, Caleb Edelstin, Hayley Frost, Ryan Grabowsky, Erin Haube, Kelsey Henderson, Kyle Johnson, Maggie Johnson, Pat Karmis, Brody Kellish, David Kempf, Katie Kempf, Mays Kirenan, Sally Langan, Nick Mahoney, Morgan Mapstone, Kyle Markowski, Rebecca Marsch, David Martellock, Chris Matteson, Maddie McDonald, Rachel McLaughlin, Maureen Milmoe, Ally Muller, Maggie Namy, Mike Nourse, Liz Pittman, Hayden Polhamus, Conner Polsin, Julia Raleigh, Sydney Schnabl, Lucy Shephard, Jessy Silfer, Ryker Smith, Colleen Stalder, Emily Stoker, Marie Sugio, Sam Webster, Derek White and Nicole White.Traveling to and competing in the event at the Darien Lake Amusement Park was a goal the ensemble worked toward throughout the school year, according to Mr. Johnson. The students challenged themselves to earn a “superior” rating, which requires a minimum score of 90 points. “The students reached and then smashed their goal, receiving a score of 99.3 and a rating of ‘gold with distinction’,” Mr. Johnson said. In addition to the trophies, the music students also earned the right to spend part of the day enjoying all the amusement park had to offer. “It was nice for the students to get a reward, regardless of what the competition results turned out to be,” Mrs. Campbell said. Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 10.59.49 AMThe Cazenovia High School Wind Ensemble performing June 1 at the Darien Lake Music Festival.

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