Back in March and April, seven budding musicians from the Lower School participated in the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Solo Festivals. On May 29, they shared their solos with their classmates in a recital in the Multi-Purpose Room.
The NYSSMA Festival provides music students with an opportunity to perform and receive a detailed evaluation based on certain criteria by certified NYSSMA judges. A few of the Ross Lower School students were reviewed at the festival in Westhampton on March 31, and the others were critiqued at the festival in Shirley, held April 17–18. They played or sang their prepared piece and an additional short sight-reading piece; instrumental students also performed scales. The judges gave them a score as well as helpful comments highlighting positive points and areas for improvement.
Most of the students began practicing their pieces in December and January. Performing Arts teachers Robert Davies, Maureen Isbister, and Deanna Locascio worked with the students on their scales, posture, breathing, rhythms, and techniques to help them prepare. “It was great to see them commit and work hard on their solos, and their beautiful performances certainly reflected their efforts,” Deanna said.
The recent MPR assembly included soulful vocals and classical arrangements played on the piano, clarinet, violin, and cello. Afterward, the students answered questions from parents and schoolmates about the experience at the festivals, preparations, and why they chose to study their particular instrument.
“NYSSMA can open up the doors to other pivotal experiences, including being a part of future Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association festivals, and we are thrilled to have Ross students involved,” Deanna added.