For choral and band students in middle schools across Connecticut, being chosen to participate in the Connecticut Music Educators Association's Regional Middle School Music Festival is one of the highest honors a young musician can receive.
Band director Ross Tucker could not be more proud of the four Jared Eliot Middle School students chosen for the privilege of performing in the Southern Region Music Festival held March 2 at the Lincoln Middle School in Meriden, CT.
Consistently (for the last 11 years), since Tucker has been the Eliot band director, Eliot students have been chosen to play at this festival.
The festival is organized by music teachers who volunteer their time to provide an opportunity for the best middle school musicians in the area to perform together. It features top instrumentalists and vocalists from more than 40 schools in Southern Connecticut. More than three hundred students participate in the various groups (band, orchestra, chorus and jazz band).
The audition process is difficult. Band students must memorize five major scales and the chromatic scale. They must also play a selected prepared piece. At the audition, students perform for a judge and are scored on several musical elements (dynamics, phrasing, articulation, tone, etc).
Auditions were held in December at the Wintergreen Magnet School in Hamden.
To prepare for the festival concert, students practice with all of the students selected on the Friday before the concert for four hours and then an additional four hour rehearsal Saturday morning before the concert. It is amazing what these young musicians sound like after just two rehearsals!
The following Jared Eliot students were selected this year: Miles Waterbury (trumpet), Ashleigh Benedict (percussion), Alex Robison (clarinet), and Emma Phelps (alto saxophone).