The Huntington School District offers student-musicians one of the best orchestra string programs in the country. It’s led by master teachers who possess exceptional instructional and performance skills.
Huntington’s fourth annual String Fiesta drew 160 students from every school in the district. “It was by far our biggest String Fiesta yet,” said Nicole Castaldo, the high school’s orchestra director. “String teachers and students alike look forward to this day because it provides an opportunity for all of our string players to come together to learn fun music and perform as one enormous string ensemble for a concert.”
The day ran from 9 am to 3 p.m. Participants worked on several pieces, including a “Fiddle Fiesta” medley and the music of Star Wars using an arrangement created by J. Taylor Finley Middle School music teacher Matthew Gelfer.
Ms. Castaldo and Mr. Gelfer were joined by faculty colleagues Nicole Lynch, Dr. Claude Masear and Christina Bhasin. The five experienced music teachers devoted the day to spreading their love for the district’s strings program and helping students improve their own talents while having fun.
“The annual String Fiesta is certainly a sight and sound to witness,” said Eric Reynolds, Huntington’s district director of fine and performing arts. “Beyond the musical enrichment of the day, generations of Huntington string students get the opportunity to work and learn alongside each other. Mrs. Castaldo’s high school orchestra musicians played an important part mentoring younger students. Each student left the auditorium that afternoon with 160 new friends who shared similar interests. Bravo to our string faculty and all of our student musicians on a successful and enjoyable music-filled day.”
The Huntington High School chamber orchestra kicked of the day with a performance of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” which added to the excitement as everyone arrived and filed into the cavernous auditorium.
“The high school student volunteers were instrumental in the success of the day, sitting alongside the elementary students and helping out whenever and wherever they were needed,” Ms. Castaldo said.
The day’s non-musical highlights included the traditional pizza lunch for participants. Music staff relay races in the cafeteria were another big hit.
A sensational performance capped off this year’s String Fiesta. The stage was filled with students ranging from fourth through twelfth graders forming one huge district orchestra.
“We can’t wait until next year to do it all over again,” Ms. Castaldo said.