BG students represent school at NH high school music festival

From April 7-9, several hundred high school musicians came together for the annual NHMEA All-State Music Festival, which took place at Concord High School and Bow High School. Four Guertin students passed the challenging audition process in November to represent BG at the festival.

Instrumentalists can be accepted into the All-State Orchestra, the All-State Band or the brand-new All-State Guitar Ensemble. BG senior Jeff Steiner, violin, and junior Nick Kathios, horn, played in the orchestra. Singers are placed into the All-State Treble Chorus or the All-State Mixed Chorus. Freshman Sidra Goldner and I both represented BG in the Mixed Chorus.

During the festival, all of the ensembles began working together Thursday afternoon in preparation for a concert on Saturday. We rehearsed for several hours on Thursday and all day Friday, with some time on Saturday morning for last-minute fixes. All of the performances took place at Bow High School throughout Saturday afternoon.

Every student at the festival attended the inaugural concert of the All-State Guitar Ensemble on Friday night, which was followed by the awards ceremony. Kathios received an award as the state’s top scorer on horn, and Steiner was recognized as a four-year All-State musician.

After so many hours of rehearsal with so many talented students, it was no surprise that all of the groups put on outstanding performances. In the Mixed Chorus, we put in a lot of work to perfect our music under the direction of Dr. Wayne Abercrombie, a former professor of music at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. It was an intense process, but by Friday evening, we had reached an amazing level of precision and cohesion.

Singing in a group of 120 of the most talented singers in the state was one of the most rewarding musical experiences I have had. The sheer power that came out of such a large group was incredible, and the way we worked together for hours gave us a sort of camaraderie even though most of us didn’t even know each other’s names.

In a letter he wrote to us after our concert, Dr. Abercrombie commended the group’s perseverance.

"You showed real staying power, ‘grit,’ willingness to work and enjoy working," he wrote, "even to attending to suggestions for change in the ‘down time’ just before the performance."

The All-State Music Festival is a great opportunity for any musician to learn from working with other talented high school students and professional conductors from all over the country. As BG’s music program grows, we hope to see even more students get the opportunity to participate.

Holly Boivin is a sophomore at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua.