By Emily Winston, Staff Writer

On Friday, November 22, 2013, fifty five musicians from Ward Melville High School demonstrated their abilities during the NYSCAME-All County festival concert at Hauppauge High School. The selection for this group is competitive, reliant on last year’s NYSSMA score and teacher recommendation. The All-County festival is comprised of seniors and juniors and divided into three ensembles: orchestra, band, and chorus. Rehearsals took place at Connetquot High School on November 13th and Hauppauge High School on November 21st and 22nd. After these long hours of rehearsals, all of the practice paid off.

The orchestra played Danzón No. 2 by Mexican composer Arturo Márquez, featuring several solo in sections including woodwinds and violins. They also performed Leonard Bernstein’s Suite from Candide. According to violinist Devin Cowan, “I like playing the pieces after getting really excited about learning them.” He also noted that the level of the orchestra is comparable with Ward Melville’s Chamber Orchestra, although he feels that some sections of the All-County orchestra surpasses Ward Melville’s, while in other sections, Ward Melville musicians are stronger. When reflecting on his experience at All-County this year Devin stated, “It bothers me when people say All-County isn’t worth it, because I always enjoy my experience with it.”

Meanwhile, the band performed Carnival by Paul Basler, a fast and upbeat tune, featuring fast woodwind parts, exposed percussion instruments, and soaring brass lines. They also played Symphony No. 3, Slavyanskaya by Boris Kozhevnikov, Henry Fillmore’s The Footlifter and Firefly by Ryan George. Clarinetist Siavash Parkhideh remarks on his band experience, “I enjoyed playing Kozhevnikov’s Slavyanskaya. It has beautiful slow tonal parts as well as powerful melodies. The conductor was absolutely amazing—he was very friendly and gave helpful tips about tuning chords with just intonation. It was overall an enjoyable and rewarding experience.”

In addition to the orchestra and band, there were two chorus performances, a women’s chorus and a mixed chorus. The women’s chorus performed Sail Away by Malcolm Dalglish, Song of Ruth by David Childs, No Time by Susan Brumfield and Moses Hogan’s Music Down in My Soul. They also sang Joy, with original text by Sara Teasdale and music adapted by Jocelyn Hagen. Violinist Elizabeth Merrifield accompanied the women’s chorus for this piece. The mixed chorus sang Exultate Deo by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, The Sounding Sea by Erik William Barnum and George William Curtis. They also performed Son de Camaguey by Stephen Hatfield, Casita de Campo by Enriquillo Sanchez, Ezekiel Saw the Wheel by William Dawson, and Cindy by Mack Wilberg.

Overall, the 57th annual senior high school All-County festival was a success.