Hopkinton Groups Succeed at MICCA Festival

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Mr. Isaac Brody stands in front of his gold medal receiving Chorus during class, as they prepare for their performance at Symphony Hall on April 14th. Photo By Carolyn O’Leary

By Carolyn O’Leary
March 30 through April 1, musical groups from across Massachusetts attended one of seven Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Festival sites to be judged.  Groups from Hopkinton High School and Hopkinton Middle School participated in the festival.

Hopkinton performs annually like many, but it plays a greater role in the MICCA Festival than many other towns across the state.

High School band instructor Steve Yavarow also serves as the president of MICCA.  He has been involved with MICCA for about 22 years. “I started as the Central District Rep, moved on to Concert Festival Chair, was Vice President and have been the current President for the past nine years,” says Yavarow.

Hopkinton High School competes in the festival, but also serves as a host site. Yavarow said “Hopkinton has been hosting for about 20 years. It is great to hear all of the groups that come in from across the state.”

Meanwhile, HHS Concert Band bassoonist Emily Warren becomes nervous at MICCA. “Since we host the event, I feel like we get a lot of pressure to be the best group that plays.”

Hopkinton brought five groups to MICCA this year: the HHS Concert Band, HHS Repertory Band, HHS Chorus, eighth grade chorus, and eighth grade band, under the instruction of four different conductors.

The HHS Concert Band performed on Friday, March 30, at 8:30 p.m. at Hopkinton High School under the instruction of Mr. Steve Yavarow. This band is composed of high school students that have auditioned for a spot.

Yavarow explained, “For the MICCA Festival, there are requirements that need to be fulfilled.  For bands, 3 selections need to be performed; a march, a selection from a list of standard literature published by the National Band Association, and another selection that is ‘festival quality’ or standard band literature.  I then take into consideration the groups strengths and weaknesses and what I want my students to learn when the music is finally performed.”

Warren said “Each piece of music was so different from the others, yet it made a great program,” regarding the music selection of the Concert Band for the festival.

After performing these three pieces and participating in a clinic run by Jim O’Dell, the Concert Band received a gold medal.

Warren says “it was one of the best performances we’ve done yet.”

Senior flutist Megan Juffras said “[The band] played well. I’m glad that we gold for our senior year and I am excited to play at Symphony Hall.”

The next morning, March 31, the HHS Repertory Band performed at Hopkinton High School. This band also performed three pieces under the instruction of Yavarow. They received a silver medal.

Mr. Isaac Brody brought the high school chorus to perform in front of the judges at Algonquin Regional High School, one of the other host sites of the MICCA Festival. The chorus received a gold medal.

From the middle school, Ms. Lisa Conant brought the eighth grade chorus to perform and Mr. David Purdy conducted the eighth grade band. Both groups received silver medals.

The groups that received gold medals, the Hopkinton High School Concert Band and Hopkinton High School Chorus from our school, in the festival get the opportunity to perform at the MICCA Gold Medal Showcase on Saturday, April 14 at Symphony Hall in Boston or Sunday, April 22 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. Both groups chose to perform on Saturday, April 14 in Boston. The chorus will perform at 9:40 in the morning and the Concert Band will be performing at 2:30 in the afternoon.

“I was very pleased with all of the groups performances,” said Yavarow. He continued, “performing and being evaluated at MICCA and doing as well as we did shows that we are doing things the right way.”

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