This year has been very productive for the Southwestern HS music department.
In October, the high school band was invited to perform for the King and Queen of Sweden. The students spent five intense weeks preparing for the royal event. As the royal party stepped out of the motorcade, the Southwestern band began to play, and the king and queen stood right in front of the band and listened intently to the entire piece. Afterward, one of the security guards for the royal couple asked who our band was. When he was told it was a local high school band, he couldn't believe it. He stated, "I thought this was a professional group." Hats off to the Southwestern high school band for your professionalism and hard work!
In December, orchestra students in grades 7-12 performed with the high-energy string group, Barrage. The orchestra students listened to and watched the rest of their amazing concert performance, prompting one SW eighth-grade violinist to comment, "That was the best concert night of my life!"
At the end of January, orchestra students in grades 6-12 attended another notable concert. They heard the highly acclaimed string quartet Sybarite 5 perform at the Penn State Behrend campus. This award-winning ensemble, formed at the Aspen Music Festival, showed their audience string playing of very advanced and creative technique. It was at another concert at PSU Behrend, the Turtle Island Quartet concert, the SW senior orchestra student Nick Yanik found inspiration for writing his own string ensemble music, which will be performed later this spring by the high school orchestra.
In December, the high school select choir, Choraliers, performed for the Chautauqua County Retired Teachers, the WCA Christmas Tea, M&T Bank, and for our elementary school. In January, the Choraliers participated in the annual Chamber Choir Festival at Westfield Academy and Central School. They performed three selections with everyone and three selections alone. This was a great opportunity to hear other select choirs from around the county and to show off their talents as well. Two students from the choir, juniors Jason Porter and Shelby Maberry, attended a clinic at JCC to talk to the band Scythian about composing techniques. This was an extremely worthwhile workshop for these student composers.
In addition to these worthwhile performance opportunities, students from all three ensembles were selected to participate in both Area All-State and Conference All-State ensembles. They include Mitchell Johnson, Taylor Latour, Quinn White and Nithin Vejendla to the Junior High Choir; violinist Adam Girts to the Junior High Orchestra; Shelby Maberry and Alora Sherbert to the Senior High Choir; and Drew Kellogg to the Senior High Band. Shelby Maberry and Alora Sherbert were also selected to perform in the All-State Mixed Choir at the NYSSMA Conference.