Students showcase their talent at All-County concert

Kayla Hill, Staff Writer

Every year, Nassau County selects musicians from its high schools to play at the All-County Div IV and V concerts.  Some of Schreiber’s musicians were chosen to represent Nassau County in this year’s concert that took place at the Tilles center at LIU post Jan. 13th.  These student musicians all put in a substantial amount of time and effort in order to qualify for Nassau County’s All-County band, chorus, or orchestra.

For Division IV, which is for freshmen and sophomores, Schreiber’s selected musicians were band students Taiki Hirooka, James Karagianis, and Calel Thomas, chorus students Lily Dell, Casey Fanous, Olivia Massa, Ian Miller, and violinist Jacqueline Sung. For Division V, which is for juniors and seniors, the selected students from the orchestra were Aaron Goldstein, Milan John, Julia Kim, Lois Kim, Timothy Lee, Maya Leong, and Lucas Romanski.  In addition, the band students chosen for this division were Elizabeth Betz, Robert Burns, Rachel Kim, Emily Kraus, and Sherry Shi, while the chorus students were Emma Goldman, Margaret Harper, Rebecca Katz, Maya Konoff, and Camille Socolof.

“Our 2018 NMEA All-County musicians should be extremely proud of their selection,” said Director of Creative Arts Mr. Kevin Scully.

In order to be chosen for All-County, the students must first participate in their school music ensemble.  Student musicians who have attended the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) solo festival the previous spring may be nominated by their music teacher.  NYSSMA allows musicians to work on a piece of music, perform it for a judge, and get a score.

“The auditioning process is nerve racking because everyone around you is freaking out, but it is nice to see people who know the struggles of playing an instrument and friends from other schools you do not see other than at these music festivals,” said sophomore violinist Jackie Sung.

At the high school level, students who make All-County must score very highly at the two most advanced NYSSMA levels, Levels 5 or 6.

“All-County is cool in that it is an opportunity for some really talented musicians to play in an outside group with other very talented musicians,” said band teacher Mr. Shane Helfner.

The Nassau Music Educators Association (NMEA) chooses All-County music students based on scores, as well as instrumentation and vocal needs for each ensemble.  The performances follow three intense rehearsals with a guest conductor, many of whom are internationally known.

The music selected for All-County is challenging and enables the musicians to improve their skills, and the musicians rehearsed for several hours throughout the week of the concert.  Rehearsals often ran from after school to 8 or 9 p.m.  Though it was difficult for some students to devote so much time to intense practice and rehearsals, it nevertheless helped provide a professional atmosphere for the student musicians because the students were provided with the opportunity to play challenging music in the company of fellow talented musicians.

“All-County was a great experience. Although we were all from different schools, it brought our talents together,” said junior violinist Lois Kim.  “During those three days of rehearsals, we not only had an outstanding performance, but we also strengthened our ability to work together within a short period of time.”

The concerts themselves took place on Jan. 13, with the Division IV performance at 2:00 p.m. and the Division V performance at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s fun to play with people from other towns that are at a high skill level,” said junior flutist Elizabeth Betz.

Many of the musicians who attended claimed that All-County served as a valuable experience where they improve and build upon their skills.

“I went to All-County ever since elementary school, and it certainly was a joy whenever I got invited to play with talented musicians and experienced conductors,” said junior flutist Rachel Kim.  “It leaves you with precious memories with new friends and festivity from the program.”

All-County gives students a sense of pride in their talent.  They are able to learn from their fellow players and form friendships, and above all, the concert displays the talents of the finest musicians in all of Nassau County and the hard work they all put into being there.

“There are several schools in the county who only have three or four students selected, so we are very proud of these students’ accomplishments,” said Mr. Scully.