Brief: Schreiber hosts NYSSMA Festival levels one through four

On March 29 and March 30, Schreiber hosted the New York State School Music Association Festival for levels one through four.  NYSSMA is an annual event for which students prepare solos, duets, or group pieces on their instruments and are then judged based on their performances.  Depending on their level and instrument, some students also have to sight read, play scales, or demonstrate other technical skills.  After NYSSMA, musicians receive scores on their performances (on a scale of 28, for levels one through four, or 100, for levels five and six), as well as comments written by their adjudicators.

NYSSMA ranges from level one to level six, with one being the easiest level.  For the Nassau County division of NYSSMA, Schreiber and Manhasset High School have historically alternated hosting the Festival for levels one through four, while Herricks High School always hosts the Festival for levels five and six.  In 2020, when Schreiber was last scheduled to host, NYSSMA was canceled due to the arrival of COVID-19, and in 2021, when it was Manhasset’s “turn,” NYSSMA was held in an online format, so many musicians were excited to return to in-person NYSSMA this year.

NYSSMA preparations were made by the Tri-M Music Honor Society, which is advised by music teacher Mr. Shane Helfner.  Tri-M was assisted by Mr. Kevin Scully, the Director of Creative Arts for the Port Washington School District, and music teachers from around the district.  Several months before NYSSMA, Mr. Helfner and the Tri-M board met to plan.  On the afternoon of Tuesday, March 29, many Tri-M volunteers gathered during sixth period to set up arrows guiding musicians to their destinations, which were classrooms repurposed into adjudication rooms for voice, strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, and jazz.

All members of Tri-M were required to volunteer in some capacity at the NYSSMA Festival.  Donning their Tri-M t-shirts, members manned adjudication rooms, welcomed musicians in the lobby, acted as “runners” (helping transport evaluation sheets to and from the classrooms), and scanned scores into a database.  Schreiber also hosted dinner for adjudicators in the Commons between NYSSMA sessions.