Jacob LaBarge has spent years polishing his musical skills and today the Huntington High School senior is one of New York’s best on flute and piccolo.
Mr. LaBarge lives the life of a musician, rehearsing and performing and centering his life around what he loves to do. With audition’s still looming he’s not sure which college he’ll be attending, but he’s settled on what he wants to do in the future.
“I have known for the past couple of years that I wanted to study music in some form,” Mr. LaBarge said. “It was not until last year, when I was sitting in a Nassau-Suffolk Wind Symphony rehearsal that I decided that I wanted to become a music performance major.”
The road to being one of the state’s top young musicians has been a long one. Mr. LaBarge started down it many years ago and he has never looked back.
“The person who got me started in music was Ms. [Chelsea] Jablon, my fifth and sixth grade band teacher,” Mr. LaBarge said. “She introduced me to my private teachers and to my first outside organization, one that I am still with today; Nassau Suffolk Performing Arts. I enjoyed my experience with NSPA so much that I continued to join other outside performing groups to the point that, at times, my weeks were filled with music related activities. Some of my closest friends are people I met through these outside groups.”
Mr. LaBarge has increasingly been giving thought to possible careers. “Recently the fields within performance that have interested me the most are symphony orchestra or pit orchestra,” he said. “The school I choose will determine which path I will explore further, but I have always loved the feeling of being a part of an orchestra.”
If the teenager isn’t literally known as Mr. Music around Huntington High School he comes awfully close. His teachers respect and admire him and so do his fellow musicians.
“The experience that I have had within our school’s music program has been great,” Mr. LaBarge said. “The program has a lot of options allowing students to explore things that they had never thought about before. An example of this is the pit orchestra. Last year, I was chosen to play in the pit orchestra for the spring musical. This experience opened my eyes to potentially pursuing this type of position in the future.”
Mr. LaBarge has forged sturdy relationships with Huntington’s music faculty. “There have been many teachers [who have been influential and helpful], but I especially want to mention Ms. Jablon, who got me started in music; Mr. [Brian] Stellato, who provided guidance as I developed as a musician; and Mr. [Jason] Giachetti, for whom I am currently interning,” he said. “Mr. Giachetti is aiding me in developing skills I will need in the future as a musician.”
The senior believes the Huntington music program is something that every student should consider participating in if they are so inclined. “The music faculty I have had the opportunity to work with have been very supportive and helpful,” Mr. LaBarge said. “This environment creates a sense of community across the entire music department. Even though I am not part of some of the ensembles, such as chorus, our mutual love of music creates unity across the department.”
Mr. LaBarge has experienced many highlights during his Huntington run. “I recently had the opportunity to perform at the All-State music conference in Rochester,” Mr. LaBarge said. “Being surrounded by people who have the same passion for music as myself was incredible. I was able to reconnect with old friends, as well as meet some new ones all in one weekend.”
The teenager enjoys working with his fellow high school musicians. “Huntington High School’s wind ensemble is something I look forward to each year as I have the opportunity to perform high level music with my peers,” Mr. LaBarge said.
Another highlight is the annual Tri-M Music Honor Society trip to Carillon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for a holiday concert performance for residents of the facility.