Archive for April 25th, 2013

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Camden Hills Travel to VA

April 25, 2013

Camden Hills Receives High Marks at Music Festivals

Virginia Beach trophiesOn April 3rd, 140 Camden Hills Regional High School Band and Chorus students and 14 chaperones boarded three Cyr coaches to travel to Virginia Beach to take part in the Fiesta-val Music Competition.  Despite the 17 hour bus ride, the students were excited to have the chance to sing and play at a National music festival.  A last minute change in plans by the Fiesta-val company to change the festival location from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg, actually became a boon for the ensembles; as they were able to also take part in a concurrent music festival in Williamsburg, hosted by Heritage festivals.

Friday, April 5th began with a 6:30 AM departure for one bus load of students.  The CHRHS Chamber Singers and Women’s Choir, plus a few loyal supporters, climbed on board for the lengthy ride to Williamsburg to sing before a panel of three judges at the historic Kimball Theater.  While there, the students had a chance to hear choirs from other schools, with fine performances by Lakeland High School from northern New Jersey.  The choral ensembles finished their performing and quickly boarded the bus, with some students changing outfits into Band uniforms, in order to meet the other two buses of students at WarHill High School for the Fiesta-val portion of the day.

The CHRHS Jazz Band performed first, and students quickly grabbed gear and instruments from beneath the bus in their efforts to set up the Jazz Band in time for their warm up and competition performance.  The schedule continued with the CHRHS Concert Band performance, followed by the three CHRHS chorus ensembles: Chorale, Women’s Choir, and Chamber Singers.  Lunch was a dizzying dance of schedules in between the performances, with some students changing outfits from Band uniform to Choral formal wear.

Finally the last leg of the full performance day was near: three buses were scheduled to travel to Heritage High School in Newport News, VA for the Concert and Jazz Band Heritage Festival performances.  Unfortunately, it was at that time that a major snag hit the stream-lined plans.  One bus broke down, refusing to move from the War Hill HS parking lot.  Suddenly, students, instruments, and chaperones were juggled to allow all instrumental students and gear to load on to two buses to quickly travel to the next performance destination.

While the busload of students left behind relaxed in the parking lot, another unforeseen calamity occurred. A major traffic emergency stalled the two functioning buses for over an hour on the freeway- delaying the performance times of the two CHRHS instrumental ensembles. Finally, with determination and goodwill by all; the stranded students were picked up and the 140 students, instruments, and chaperones squeezed onto two buses to make the last leg of the journey back to the hotel in Virginia Beach.

On Saturday, the students had a chance to relax and ride at Busch Gardens and the day culminated in two Award ceremonies. At the Fiesta-val Award Ceremony, schools were graded on a national scale of standards with awards of  Superior, Excellent, Good and Fair.  We are happy to say that Camden Hills students swept the awards:  The CHRHS Chamber Singers, Women’s Choir and Chorale received Superior awards and the CHRHS Concert Band and Jazz Band received Excellent Awards with the Concert Band being only a tenth of a point away from a Superior Award.  Special recognition was given to the Jazz Band as they received the “Outstanding Brass Section Award.”  Judges’ Commendation Awards were given to four individuals: Rebekah Johnson, soprano; Aidan Kaczynski, tenor; Alex Crans, tuba and Camilla Walker, French horn.  The Chorale received a Champion award in their category, and the Concert and Jazz Bands swept the competition with 1st place awards, the Grand Champion Award, and a Highly Distinguished Conductor Award to Nancy Rowe.

Later in the evening, the Heritage Festival Awards were announced. Again, CHRHS proved that they could perform well, even under the pressure of a long and arduous day. The CHRHS Women’s Choir and Chamber Singers both received Gold Awards with Women’s Choir placing 2nd and Chamber Singers placing 1st. Aidan Kaczynski was again recognized for his solo with a Maestro Award. Both chorale ensembles received invitations to next year’s Heritage Festivals of Gold and Carnegie Hall. The CHRHS Concert and Jazz Bands received Silver Awards, with the Jazz Band receiving special recognition; and Orion Krause received the Maestro Award for his solo in “Mr. G. K.”

The musical travelers arrived safely home on Sunday, April 7th, with many thanks to the chaperones and the bus drivers. Ms. Rowe and Mrs. Murphy would like to thank the Five Town Community for their support of the Band and Chorus students.

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