HHS Band is “Star at Symphony”

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The High School Concert Band played at Washburn Hall, a concert hall within Mechanics Hall in Worcester, in honor of winning a gold medal at the MICCA festival. Photo By Adrian Emrick.

By Adrian Emrick
At the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association’s (MICCA) “Stars at Symphony” performances last weekend, each of the distinguished bands that received a gold medal at the MICCA festivals played at Mechanics Hall.

The “Stars at Symphony” program was started in 1999, as a reward for those bands that performed at an exceptional level. It is a program where high school and middle school bands and choruses who earn a gold medal at MICCA get the chance to play their  music at one of two prestigious concert halls, Mechanics Hall or Symphony Hall.

135 bands participated in MICCA this year, but only 22 earned the privilege of playing at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.

The MICCA festival was founded as a way for high school bands and chorus’s to get an objective evaluation of their proficiency by experienced judges. The judges are all either, former musicians or former conductors, and have the background required to make a legitimate evaluation.

To be eligible for the MICCA festival, high school bands must prepare three pieces of music. One piece must be a march, one from a list of pieces put together by the heads of MICCA, and  one is of the band directors choosing.

At the MICCA festival, the groups perform in front of judges. Their performance is followed by one of the judges giving a 30-minute clinic/teaching session. Many groups appreciate this clinic as much as or more than the judges’ reports.

Mr. Steven T. Yavarow, HHS band director and MICCA president,  said of school’s concert band’s performance, “It was good, though I thought we were a bit too fast and a bit too loud on two of the pieces.”

Mr. Paul Alberta is one such clinic teacher and judge, a co-founder of the MICCA festival, and was Yavarow’s high-school band director. He conducted the clinic for the high school’s band.

According to trombone player Catie Maruska, “The group pulled together well and the medal is for the seniors who have worked so hard for the past 4 years.”

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