By LIZ BUTTON
Fourteen high school, middle school and elementary school musicians from the Rye City School District were selected out of hundreds of students to participate in the 2013-2014 New York State School Music Association state and county competitions.
Dr. Dan Brown, a high school-/middle school band teacher, said the music association program auditions are open to all of the district’s music students. Tryouts are held in the spring at local schools throughout the county, where the individual top-scoring students are identified.
“I find it’s a good way to motivate students who are interested in that extra challenge. I generally find the students who participate and are selected show tremendous growth as musicians,” Brown, who is in his 25th year as a Rye City School District band teacher, said.
Upon being selected to the ensembles, students spend weeks learning music and rehearsing with their groups in preparation for the concerts.
“For many of them, it is a big step. I find they develop a new seriousness and motivation for what they do as musicians,” Brown said. “They have the opportunity to play with some of the best of their peers in the county.”
Seven Rye High School students were selected to participate in the association’s Area All-State Festival in chorus, band and orchestra ensembles, while five Rye Middle School students were selected to the Area All-County Intermediate Festival.
In addition, two elementary school students were selected to perform in the Area All-County Elementary Festival.
The Area All-State Concert was held on Nov. 7, 2013. The Intermediate All-County Concert will be held on March 8, 2014.
Under Todd Beaney, who teaches music at the high school/middle school level, three singers were chosen for the chorus area all-state ensemble: Yuika Abe, grade 11, soprano; James Ham, grade 11, bass; and Daniel Keller, grade 12, bass.
Under Brown, one musician, eleventh grader Jici Wang, a flutist, went to the band area all-state concert.
Under Lynn Kraut, three violinists were selected for the orchestra area all-state ensemble: Nabil Azim, grade 11; Will Hammer, grade 11; and Su Lynn Kok, grade 10.
Kraut, who teaches high school orchestra, and Brown also led three students to the area all-county intermediate orchestra concert: Anders Jensen, grade 8, trumpet; Miteki Ochi, grade 8, violin; and Esther Yu, grade 8, cello.
Brown led two students to the area all-county intermediate band concert: Alex Mayo-Smith, grade 8, trombone, and Keaton Mueller, grade 9, alto saxophone.
Music elementary coordinator Shawn Amdur, who teaches at Milton School, and also helped organize this year’s program in Rye, and Yun Shim Kim, who teaches music at Osborn School, led two students to the area all-county elementary orchestra: Elizabeth Fink, grade 5 from Milton School, Bass section leader, and Sean Yu, grade 4 from Osborn School, cello.
The Area All-State and All-Cou-nty Music festivals are presented by the Westchester County School Music Association, a unit of the state association, and the National Association for Music Educators.