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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

Event Recap: RHS Students Perform in the High Note Festival

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Photos by Marlyn Sherlock

RHS Choir and Band at the High Note Festival

On Friday, June 7th the Rutherford High School Choir and Band both participated in the High Note Festival in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This is Rutherford spoke with Band Director, Michael Faugno and Choir Director, Patricia Blanchard about this year’s Festival.

Check out an RHS performance at High Note below. Video courtesy of Marlyn Sherlock.

TIR: What did you have to do to be part of the High Note Festival?

Michael Faugno: The High Note Festival runs every year and invites middle school and high school bands and choirs to perform for a panel of judges and receive a score. During the years that the RHS does not go on an overnight music trip, we perform for the High Note Festival.

TIR: How did you and your students prepare for this festival?

MF: High Note judges the performances based on the following criteria: Tone, Intonation, Technique, Interpretation, Balance, and Musical Repertoire. These are all areas that we focus on in our everyday rehearsals with the students. The work that we do during the school year translates directly to the things the High Note adjudicators are looking for during this Festival.

TIR: How many songs did you perform? How did you select the pieces?

Patricia Blanchard: The choir performed 2 pieces: Wade in the Water and Afternoon on a Hill.

MF: The band performed: Pilatus, Mountain of Dragons. Each ensemble has 20 minutes for their performance. This included set up on stage, performance, and dismissal.

TIR: Who judged the performances?

MF: The performances were judged by music teachers, college professors, and composers from the Tri-State area. It is a different set of judges at High Note each year.

TIR: Brian Ersalesi, Supervisor of Fine and Performing Arts, told TIR, “I am always amazed at the talent of our students. Their performance at this festival once again showcases what happens when talented, passionate students are combined with dedicated and stand-out teachers.” This year both the choir and the band received Superior ratings. How did that make both you and your students feel?

MF: It was nice to receive such a high rating as my first year as director. For the band students this was also the first time that they received a superior rating at the festival in a few years. Our choir always has a great performance and this was their second superior rating in the last 2 times that they have performed at high note. We let our students constantly know that they are doing a great job, but sometimes it means more coming from someone who has an outside perspective.

PB: Everyone was extremely excited and proud of the work that they have done.

TIR: To what do you attribute the success of the band and the choir at the High Note Festival and throughout the school year?

MF: Our students are always willing to go above and beyond. They come to extra rehearsals at lunch, after school, and even at night, and they put tons of extra hours into learning their music and being prepared. The students' hard work and dedication make a huge difference and bring the ensembles to a higher level.

Ms. Chelsea Leary (History Teacher), Ola Szmacinski, Christina Scanlon and Tierra Sherlock

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