Students display talents in annual Western Region Festival

Kristi Bui ‘16 EE Senior News Editor

On Saturday, January 17, Trumbull High hosted the annual CMEA Western Region High School Festival.

This festival, comprised of a Jazz Band, Concert Band, Orchestra and Choir group, highlights the talents of young musicians in the western Connecticut area.

Each of the groups performed for an hour and a half, showcasing more difficult and advanced repertoire than what is typically seen in the classroom.

“It was a lot of work and the pieces [we performed] are hard rhythmically,” recalls junior Emily Ciancimino, who participated in the choir for Western Regions this year. “When we went into rehearsal [Ms. Tornillo] had us sing through the music and I thought, ‘Wow, we sound great!’ but she said ‘Nope, this needs improvement.’”

The groups performed a variety of pieces from a diverse spectrum of eras, including baroque, classical, and modern. This presented performers with the challenge of enhancing their skill set.

“We’re learning a lot about musical structure that I’ve never even thought about before,” says Ciancimino.

All students involved in music electives were eligible to audition for the festival. THS music teachers Ms. Anne Tornillo, Mr. Peter Horton, and Mr. Justin Elkins, helped prepare students with one-on-one class time and out of school preparation for the audition.

Students in the choir spent many months practicing the scales needed for the audition as part of their daily warm up routine.

In addition, sectionals for each vocal part were arranged for the students to learn and perform their audition piece with their peers. Orchestra students had private lesson time with conductor Mr. Justin Elkins in order to perform and revise their audition piece.

The success of the festival lay deep with the preparations brought by both the music teachers and students alike. Benjamin Vu, a junior and the only orchestra student hailing from THS who participated in the festival, saw that the dedication and passion for music was crucial in creating a special day of musical talent.

“I practiced my music and performed it to the best of my ability. I think that’s part of the reason why the program’s performances are so good,” Vu states. “All the students participating were clearly interested in playing their instrument and are determined to give a good show.”

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