PHOENIX – The tradition of Phoenix Central School District musical excellence continues with two John C. Birdlebough High School juniors’ participation in the New York State School Music Association’s 2015 Winter Conference at the Rochester Convention Center in December.
Zachary Thompson sang first tenor in the All-State Mixed Chorus and Brian Breen played percussion in the All-State Wind Ensemble.
Both students performed alongside the best high school musicians throughout the state.
Preparation for the event included student selection and performance of an All-State solo at the NYSSMA solo festival in the spring.
Those solos were evaluated and scored, and scores were sent to an All-State ensemble selection committee.
Students were notified of their selection over the summer and were sent a packet of music to prepare for the winter conference.
The repertoire for these concerts is at a correspondingly high level of difficulty, and the students spent several hours working and preparing prior to the conference.
The winter conference began Dec. 3 with a three-day marathon of rehearsals in preparation for their concert. Students stayed in the hotel at the Convention Center with other top high school musicians and were afforded opportunities to attend social gatherings.
Thompson said his experience of singing in a chorus of more than 250 top-notch singers was life changing and that he would do it again in a heartbeat.