Skaneateles orchestra students head down the hallway toward the auditorium for their performance in front of judges.
Skaneateles groups participating included Middle School Chorus and Middle School Jazz Band (both receiving Silver medals), High School Jazz Band and High School Concert Band (both receiving Silver medals) and the High School Orchestra (which received a Gold rating).
Guske and other parent volunteers said it was inspiring to see so many talented young musicians, and to know so many districts supported the music students by sending them to the NYSSMA festival.
“You have to remember that all of these schools are dealing with the same challenges that Skaneateles is: APPR implementation, testing mandates, budget cuts, etc. So, for a school district to fund the transportation, allow and encourage their music directors to take their ensembles, knowing it will be at least a half day out of school, is a testimony to their commitment to their music programs,” Guske said.
“In this day of increased assessments, a NYSMMA major festival offers a true and authentic assessment of the ensemble, its leader, and to some extent, that district’s commitment,” Guske said.
Dave Brown, NYSSMA Zone representative, said the festival showcasing performances by choirs, bands and orchestras was a huge success. “It is so wonderful to hear everyone’s hard work come to fruition at the Majors Festivals. Medals ranging from bronze all the way to the top honor of gold with distinction were awarded over the three days. As we look at assessments overwhelming the children of New York State, it is refreshing to see real time performance for the sake of musical enhancement,” Brown said.
“Nothing specific was attached to this experience except a music educator and his/her students growing through the preparation for and experience of performing. And, by hearing the evaluations of Master Teachers — which included specific points about strengths and suggestions for improvement, often reinforcing what instructors already communicate — everyone gained. Now that, I think, is a concrete way to betterment as an educator. Thank you to the Skaneateles School District and Dave Wilber, with his team of parent volunteers, for hosting this event,” said Brown.