Four Huntington High School students have been selected to participate in the 2018 New York State School Music Association conference scheduled for November 29-December 2 in Rochester. The selections put Huntington among the elite music programs in the state.
Huntington soprano Abigail Semelsberger was picked for the All-State treble chorus; Kyle Perea (double bass) was tapped for the string orchestra; Christopher Engle (euphonium) was selected for the symphony orchestra; Tenor Keenan Lyon was named as an alternate to the mixed chorus. The teenagers will perform at the famed Eastman Theatre.
“I was so incredibly thrilled when I got the news that I was accepted,” Ms. Semelsberger said. “It is such an honor to be recognized and I cannot wait to go to Rochester. The Huntington music program has influenced me so much throughout the years; I don’t even know where to begin. The kindness of the music staff and the invaluable skills I have learned throughout all my years in the program have shaped me into not only the performer, but the person I am today.”
The teenager is a strong student academically and is involved in a long list of activities including drama club, chamber choir and a capella choir. Ms. Semelsberger is the Tri-M Music Honor Society’s secretary and is treasurer of the high school choir. She has been inducted into Huntington’s English Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society chapters. She has even found the time to be a member of Dancin’ Feet Dance Company outside of school.
“I am looking forward to this exciting, albeit busy school year,” Ms. Semelsberger said.
The selection process began last spring when more than 6,500 sophomores and juniors auditioned at nearly four dozen sites spread across 15 regional geographic areas and continued into the summer with an analysis of application and performance materials.
“It feels amazing to get into All-State and to be a part of a select group of the top musicians in the state,” Mr. Engle said. “It’s been an honor to be part of the music program at Huntington; starting at Washington School and continuing to play and work with each of the music teachers at each level. I want to thank Mr. [Mitch] Malle, Mrs. [Tara] Adams, Ms. [Chelsea] Jablon, Mr. [Christopher] Scarnato, Mr. [Frank] Battista, Mr. [Brian] Stellato, and Mr. [Jason] Giachetti for helping me become the musician that I am today.”
This year’s state conference in Rochester will be jammed packed with activities. About 900 juniors and seniors from across the state will perform in eight ensembles and professional development related to music education will be offered to approximately 1,200 attendees.
“It feels amazing that I achieved a great level with the bass and was selected for All-State,” Mr. Perea said. “I never knew I would get this far. It’s been a pleasure playing with the Huntington music program with all of my great friends. It’s been an amazing experience. I’m glad to represent the orchestra and thee basses at All-State.”
The All-State festival includes only the very top musicians from across the entire state. Participation requires a perfect or near perfect score on a Level VI NYSSMA solo. Judges compile a proficiency list of competing students at each NYSSMA festival around the state each spring. The top students on the proficiency list are then invited to attend the state conference. The competition is so intense that some students with perfect scores are not selected.
This will mark NYSSMA’s 83rd winter conference in its long history. The first such conference was held in Ithaca in February 1934 in temperatures that dropped to 30 degrees below zero.