By Flore LeBlanc
On Jan. 7, at 6:50 pm, an agitated Ms. Gellert was giving directions to her stage crew. The occasion? The Mamaroneck High School Tri-M Association’s annual honors recital.
This concert is one of many prestigious music showcases during the year, students auditioned in the beginning of December to acquire a spot in the program.
This year, 17 spots were awarded, including small ensembles, solos, and most impressively, three admirable features in partnership with the MHS Chamber Orchestra.
Performers at the Honors Recital also had very positive feedback. When asked about his experience with the show, Benny Rosenzweig ’18 said, “I was honored to partake in the concert this year and had a really great time doing so. The whole event is a result of the hard work of the music department. Mr. Hooker, Ms. Gellert and Ms. Madden all did an amazing job of putting together a really fun and enjoyable show.”
Rosenzweig performed with a jazz combo consisting of Tyler Santee ’16 on drums, Miles Coplin ’16 on guitar, Griffin Williamson ’16 on electric bass, and Jared Berger ’17 on trumpet.
The concert’s final piece, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto num- ber 5, showcased Joseph Kijewski ’16, who has been playing piano for 10 years at the Larchmont Music Academy.
Kijewski is one of the top musicians at MHS. He is currently taking AP Chemistry, BC Calculus, AP English Literature, and Macroeconomics, but he is still making time for music. He has also been playing trumpet for 7 years, and is part of MHS’ esteemed jazz band. Kijewski spoke enthusiastically of the music program in general.
“It’s honestly really great. There are a ton of opportunities to play and a lot of collaboration between different parts of the department. I’ve had two chances to play piano with the orchestra thus far and will be doing so again later in the year. It’s also cool that we get to travel a lot. The concert band has a yearly trip and the jazz band will usually go at least 4 or 5 places every year.”
That demonstrates how much Kijewski is involved with music and how many opportunities that school provides him. One of Joe’s most notable performances with the high school was his prominent role in last year’s Kinesthesia finale. Reflecting on this performance, Kijewski said, “It was pretty awesome to be part of something so big and also cool to get to play with a group. Piano, for the most part, is a solo instrument and it’s very hard to get opportunities like that to play with so many other people.”
Following the Honors Recital was the much anticipated Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly. Each year, an impressive lineup of musicians, dancers, and speakers take the stage under the eyes of the student body, many of whom have talents previously unknown to the audience. As Rosenzweig claims, concerts at MHS are “a great opportunity for every student to learn something and enjoy listening to music that is the result of lots of hard work, and appreciate how many talented musicians they may be in class with every day that they may not even be aware of.” This year, Dr. Mercati-Anthony, one of two assistant principals, made an unforgettable appearance in the Force’s performance as he flawlessly rapped along to the students’ rendition of ‘All of the Lights’, by Kanye West. Exemplifying that even the MHS staff enjoys being a part of the music program.
The Force, Mamaroneck’s prided drumline, recently celebrat- ed its 30 year anniversary- a mile- stone of continuing improvement in quality of the group’s drum- ming. When asked about their achievements so far, captain and self-proclaimed ‘local legend’ Alex
Haft ’16 commented, “One thing that makes the force so great is its versatility we have to learn not only how to play snare, bass, and tenors, but how to accompany the concert band, play different styles of music, and of course figure out how to play the boomwhackers.”
He also notes that the group is much better than the golf team. The Force is one of the most admired music programs that allows students that enjoy percussion to showcase their skills at a lot of MHS events. MHS grad Owen Hurley ’15, a former Force captain, who currently studying at Tulane University, said it best.
“Music is the only thing I can talk about with just about everyone I meet. I have a career already in the works because I had a place where I could always talk about it. Without that, I don’t think I could’ve had such a clear idea of what I want to do in the future, es- pecially thanks to Mr. Hooker and everything he’s done for us in the program.” Hurley now deejays for Xero Entertainment, established in New Orleans, LA. Hurley is the perfect example of how im- portant the music program is and how much it affects the students during their MHS career and even after. The teachers also play a huge role in the music program, without them no student could learn about music and enhance their skills.
Francine Erfe ’16, the president of Tri-M, shared that, “In the music department, it’s essentially one big collaboration. We all know each other, and we all have to work together in order to accomplish our goal, which is just to make good music. Tri-M is great because it helps the music department even further, through fundraisers and volunteering at music department events, and helping to spread music throughout the community.” Erfe believes that the more people supporting musicians and the closer the music department gets as a whole, the better they sound. “It’s a close-knit community like the one at the high school that’s ideal for us to create a superior level of music; the more people get involved, the higher we can set our standards.”
There are countless occasions to get involved with music at the high school; volunteering for stage crew, handing out programs, funding our intermission sales, and even attending our concerts are a fundamental necessity for the program to thrive and expand as it has in previous years. As Kijewski put it, “opportunities are there for people who want them and I’ve never felt limited.”
Don’t miss out on any of the music department’s future perfor- mances! For information about upcoming musical events at the high school, follow the MHS Mu- sic Department’s Facebook page.
Photo: Lazaro Rabanales/The Globe