There’s nothing like the experience of a live audition—part improvisation, part performance, and all nerves. And when the auditions are for places in district ensembles, competing against music students from four counties, the stakes are even higher.
Five students from The Williston Northampton School took on the challenge of such auditions earlier this year when they went to the Western Massachusetts District Festivals, held at Westfield State University and sponsored by the Massachusetts Music Educators Association.
When 7th and 8th graders at The Williston Northampton School settle into their seats for one of the fall assemblies, they may spot their head of school standing in the aisle, playing a joyful tune on the trumpet.
Jen Fulcher can’t think of a much better way to announce a new program that will have every student in the Middle School involved in music.
“I played the trumpet all through middle school, all through high school,” Fulcher said recently. “So this was an easy sell for me of the importance of music in young people’s lives, because it was a huge part of my life and my education.”
Under the new year-long program, students will join either the string ensemble, wind ensemble, or Middle School Chorus. The groups will meet three times every two weeks, and students will receive school credit for their participation.
Fulcher said the program was the culmination of several years of discussions, coupled with a recent change to Williston’s school day that added a seventh period. While Middle School students had been able to join the orchestra or band in the past, their practice times were limited to one 45-minute period, once a week.