Students from Hannibal High School recently participated in the New York State School Music Association Zone IV Area All-State festival held at Ilion High School. Students were selected based upon past solo festival scores and were assigned to band, chorus or orchestra. Music for the concert was prepared individually by the students over five weeks before joining the other musicians and guest conductors on November 18th and 19th, to prepare for the concert performance.
Dr. Brian Doyle from the Crane School of Music led band members in an emotional concert from an opening brass fanfare, through a translucent rendition of the folk song “Shenandoah” to a brisk concert march. Students were engaged from the downbeat, by Dr. Doyle, as he set his expectations at the level of a collegiate ensemble. After receiving degrees in saxophone performance and wind conducting from Michigan State University, Dr. Doyle held faculty positions at Indiana University, The University of North Carolina, and Duke University before joining the faculty at SUNY Potsdam. Hannibal students Meghan Gillen, Suzanne King, Mackenzie Malone and Elyssa Terry-DeRycke learned much from their experience under his leadership.
Syracuse University professor, Dr. Elisa DeKaney conducted the All-State Chorus through a culturally diverse repertoire that included a classical selection sung in Latin, a set of three folk songs from Brazil, the American folk song, “Home on the Range” and concluding with the African American spiritual, “Music Down in My Soul.” Rita LaPage and Courtney Sharp represented Hannibal High School and appreciated the challenge of the program selections. Dr. DeKaney received her bachelor’s degrees in her native country of Brazil, before receiving her Ph.D. in choral conducting from Florida State University. She continues to be active as a researcher, clinician and guest conductor throughout the United States and abroad.
Ilion graduate and Amherst High School Orchestra Director, Mr. Matthew Pendrak put the period on the concert program with the Area All-State Orchestra performing The Stars and Stripes Forever as the audience clapped along. Prior to this piece the orchestral musicians had demonstrated their superb training by presenting classic music by Jean Sibelius and Hector Berlioz. Hannibal french horn player, Elora Cordone, led her section as principal chair and displayed her talent on several exposed soli passages.
Over 250 students from twenty three school districts in Oswego, Oneida and Herkimer counties showed a standing room only audience how extremely talented they are. The Hannibal School District is proud to have had students selected for the Area All-State ensembles.