This Super Bowl Weekend, Nantucket High School sent over five talented singers and musicians to the 59th annual All Cape and Islands Music Festival. Students auditioned back in November to take part in the event. Rehearsals took place on Thursday, January 31st from 3:00 – 7:00 pm, Friday, February 1st from 9:00 – 3:00 pm, and Saturday, February 2nd from 9:00 am till noon. The concert took place on Saturday, February 2nd at 1:00 pm, showcasing songs learned over the course of the festival.
Senior Jaqueline McGrath and junior Chelsea Remick were accepted to the treble choir (also known as SSA), an all-girls choir. This group of 50 singers was conducted by Regina McAdam, the choral director at North Smithfield High School in North Smithfield, Rhode Island who has been teaching choral music for twenty-four years. For rehearsals and the performance, they were accompanied by pianist Megan Anthony. The choir had to learn the following songs: “Lunar Lullaby” by Jacob Narverud, “Child With The Starry Crayon” by Eleanor Daley, “Koowu” by Maryam Khoury, and “Still I Rise” by Rosephanye Powell. Auditions for the many solos took place on Thursday, with McGrath earning the lead solo in “Still I Rise.”
Junior Matthew Holdgate and freshman Bobby Planzer were in the mixed chorus meaning boys and girls sand together (also known as SATB), as there is no all boys choir. They were conducted by Matt Cunningham, the choral director at Brockton High School in Brockton, Massachusetts where he conducts five choirs, teaches piano classes and is the musical director of the spring musical. The ninety-six students were accompanied by Victoria Schlosser for the entirety of the festival. The choir performed “The Cloths Of Heaven” by Stroope, “Sing a Mighty Song” by Daniel E. Gawthrop, “A Road Home” by Stephen Paulus, and “He’ll Make a Way” by Byron J. Smith.
Senior William Williams was part of a sixty-three piece orchestra, conducted by Christopher Schroeder, the executive director of the Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program in Boston, Massachusetts. The musicians had to learn their pieces before arriving at the festival, where all musicians first performed together on the 31st. These pieces included “Dance of the Tumblers” by Rimsky-Korsakov, “American Landscape” by Soon Hee Newbold, “Dusk” by Steven Bryant, and Libertango by Piazolla. The concert band was conducted by Dr. H. Carl Hess. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Music at Moravian College. The group of seventy-seven musicians performed “American Riversongs” by Pierre Laplante, “Waltz No. 2” (from Suite for Variety Stage Orch.) by Shostakovich, “Solas Ane” by Samuel Hazo, “Foundry” by John Mackey, and “Four Dance” from West Side Story by Bernstein.
Reflecting on his experience, Matthew Holdgate explains that “it was a whole new experience for me. For one, there were more than eight boys who actually cared about singing.” Holdgate goes on to say that “it was also nice to meet students from other schools in a friendly manner rather than in a competitive one that you always see in sports competitions.” Holdgate is a three-sport student, participating in cross country, hockey, and baseball. He is also an integral part of the select chorus at the Nantucket High School, The Accidentals and Naturals.
Unfortunately, there is no official recording of the concert, however, there may be some bootleg footage on Youtube if searched correctly.
By Jacqueline McGrath