All-State Music Conference Taps Five from Huntington

The Huntington musicians will perform at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

December 01, 2016

Five Huntington High School students have been selected to participate in the 2016 New York State School Music Association conference scheduled for December 1-4 in Rochester. The selections put Huntington among the elite music programs in the state.

Huntington soprano Madeline Shea was picked for the All-State women’s choir; Christopher Chang (violin) and Zechariah Perea (violin) were tapped for the string orchestra; Billy Garfinkel (viola) was selected for the symphony orchestra; Jacob LaBarge (piccolo) was named to the symphonic band. The teenagers will perform at the famed Eastman Theatre.

The All-State student-musicians work with Huntington orchestra director Nicole Castaldo, chorus director Veronica Mainville (and her leave replacement Victoria Garbarino) and band director Jason Giachetti.

“Huntington is characterized by many of the finest student-musicians from throughout the region and state,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “We are beyond proud that this group will be representing the district at this year’s All-State Conference. These students have grown within Huntington’s music program and have learned from many outstanding music educators.  This weekend will provide them with an opportunity to demonstrate their talents in a statewide showcase. We wish them the very best.”

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Five Huntington musicians will perform
at the All-State conference.

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.

This year’s conference expects to 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.

Huntington High School music teacher Jason Giachetti will be among the presenters at the All-State Conference. The longtime educator will present three workshops. His topics include: Arranging for the Front Ensemble, Percussion on a Budget & Teaching Percussion with the Language of a Wind Player and Designing a Marching Band Show.

“The annual NYSSMA All-State festival is one of the preeminent state music association conferences in the United States,” said Eric Reynolds, Huntington’s district director of fine and performing arts. “Conductors, presenters and speakers at the conference come from near and far and are leading pedagogues and performers. What sets this festival apart from other states are the opportunities for students and teachers to learn from these master educators and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform in one of the finest concert halls in the world, the Eastman Theatre.”

This will mark NYSSMA’s 81st 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. This year’s conference will kick-off with a large concert at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center’s Lilac Ballroom.

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.

“Once again, our students have done Huntington proud,” Mr. Reynolds said. “Music education is supported to no end not only in the Huntington schools, but in the community. And, thanks to our very own master educators; the entire K-12 music department, Chris, Billy, Jacob, Zak and Maddie will enjoy a tremendous musical and educational milestone in collaborating with the other finest musicians from across New York. I am very much looking forward to seeing our students in their concert best and hearing the wonderful sounds that they will create this weekend in Rochester.”

This year’s conference is expected to be one of the best ever. “Over one thousand music educators from all over New York State will attend for professional development opportunities, seminars, performances, and valuable lesson materials for use in their classes and rehearsals,” said Michael Brownell, NYSSMA president. “Among the highlights of our conference, however, are the many wonderful performances by our All State students at the beautiful Eastman Theatre.”