On Saturday evening, January 19 the best and brightest high school musicians and singers from the Connecticut Northern Region will gather to perform at New Britain High School.
Among this very dedicated musical talent will be several students from Berlin High School.
Under the direction of BHS Band Director Mark Bowling, six band students will participate: Tommy deRito (alto saxophone), Jody DiCiccio (flute), Chris Hauptfeld (trombone), Logan Kissane (oboe), Alec Rich (tuba), and Ian Tamburini (clarinet). Two chorus students, under the direction of Kathryn Crabb, BHS Choral Ensemble Director, will also participate: Natalie Souza (alto) and Chris VonAchen (tenor).
This music festival is sponsored by the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA); Connecticut is broken down into four regions, and Berlin falls within the Northern Region. This is a highly competitive, rigorous, audition-only ensemble. To earn a spot in these groups, students must practice many hours on their own, outside of regular school hours, in addition to practicing the music necessary for band or chorus classes.
The road to the Region Honor Band/Choir starts long before the actual performance in January. Students start practicing their pieces months ahead of the November auditions. The concert itself is preceded by intense rehearsal sessions that go all afternoon and evening on Friday followed by a full day on Saturday.
The six band students will have the opportunity to audition for a CMEA All-State Honor Band in early February. Only students who have been selected to a regional honor band in Connecticut are given the opportunity to audition, so the competition will be even more intense.