By Osamede Osahon ’17
Advanced chorus came out victorious with a silver ranking while performing for the first time at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) on May 13, 2016 Under the guidance of chorus teacher, Ms. Robin Casalta, students were working everyday practicing musical pieces that they would be confident and comfortable singing.
According to nyssma.org, their goal is to contribute to the advancement of music education across the state for its membership and students in member school programs. Being a member in NYSSMA indicates ones commitment to the profession, to excellence in music education, and to your own professional growth.
“The preparation for NYSSMA was both rewarding and stressful. Rewarding in the fact that the students were working toward a level of excellence in choral singing that hadn’t happened in many years” Ms. Casalta said. “Midwood has had a long history of excellent choral singing and much of that had been lost over the years. I was hoping to have one advanced mixed chorus that lived up to Midwood’s choral history.”
Ms. Casalta’s chorus ensemble sang three pieces, Sicut Chevus, Shenandoah and Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel.
They’ve been at work practicing these songs since the first semester and even performed Sicut Cervus during the winter concert. She saw that her students had much potential, but there was also room for growth and improvement.
“Honestly this whole experience was a lot of work and stressful. Sometimes I just wanted to give up, but after performing it felt like a weight had been lifted of our shoulders,”
Lateefah Thomas ’16 said. “Then, when I found out we got silver I was so proud that all of our hard work payed off. As a senior, I’m happy I was able to be apart of this whole experience.”
She enjoyed seeing how important and seriously they took on this big choral step. “It was extremely exciting going to NYSSMA. Preparing for it was a little stressful, but I enjoyed the journey very much and was ecstatic when we got silver,” stated Ingrid Baumann ’18.
Simon Steele ’18 states, “It was a very intense experience, I had butterflies in my stomach. I felt disappointed because we didn’t get gold, but since it was our first time I was still satisfied with silver.”
Judges Douglass Avery and Russ Source commended the ensemble on their tone quality, teamwork, and overall blend of sounds.
“It was nerve racking at first but we motivated each other. From where we’ve started to where we’ve ended, our class has shown tremendous growth,” said Jameila Brown ’17. “This is something I’ll never forget, even though we didn’t get gold in my eyes, we still came out on top.”
Ms. Casalta hopes that this experience will set the standard and the foundation that chorus will continue to take in upcoming years. It will also stand to promote chorus and further their musical goals.
“The students rose to the occasion and worked hard in order to present the best performances. I’m really proud of them and all the work they’ve done to get to this point,” said Ms. Casalta.