Sunday, January 18, 2015

Music News

From Principal Lynn Dole's January 18, 2015 Newsletter:

High School Music News from Mr. Halligan

It’s that time of year again – exams are here! Students in the music department are preparing to demonstrate what they have learned this semester in a variety of ways. Below you can find a summary of what they are working on. You can also read about the Senior Districts Festival, which took place this weekend at UMass Amherst.

Scott Halligan


Here is a summary of what Mohawk Music students will be doing during exams.
Students in Band and Chorus classes will have mock-auditions. A mock-audition is a great way for students to demonstrate their level of mastery, and it’s also a great way for them to gain familiarity with the audition process. This is important because so many opportunities in music are awarded on the basis of an audition (think Select Chorus, Pioneer Valley Youth Orchestra, Senior Districts, All-State, Colleges and Conservatories of Music, professional orchestras, Broadway, The Sing-Off…). The mock-audition is also great because the skills needed to audition successfully are similar to the skills needed to interview successfully for a job. 

String Orchestra students are preparing three solo pieces each that demonstrate a variety of musical skills. Jazz Band students are honing their ensemble skills for a group performance exam. Students in Rock Band are working in small-groups to demonstrate their ability to effectively select, rehearse, and perform music in an interdependent group of peers. Students in Electronic Music will present their final projects, which include remixes, soundtracks for video, and foley work.

Senior District Festival – January 17, 3:00 pm, UMass Amherst, Fine Arts Center

Mohawk Junior Zach Arfa had the honor of performing at the Fine Arts Center at UMass Amherst this Saturday. He sang tenor in the highly selective Senior Districts Festival Chorus.

The Western District of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association hosts two annual music festivals at UMass: the Junior Districts Festival for students in grades 7-9, and the Senior Districts Festival for students in grades 9-12. Each festival features an honor choir, honor band, honor orchestra, and honor jazz band made up of students from around the region who are accepted by audition. Students in these ensembles have the opportunity to work with prestigious guest conductors and perform music that is more challenging than what can typically be done in high school music programs.

Zach will also be auditioning for the All-State Chorus next weekend. Break a leg, Zach!

Seussical the Musical

Rehearsals for the Mohawk’s All-School Musical are underway!  We’ve already had one full cast rehearsal with the elementary students at the beginning of the month. It was great to have so many enthusiastic students on stage singing and dancing together! This show is going to be great fun!

As the show takes shape we will need help from students, parents and community members! Michelle Larocque is heading set design and is looking for those who wish to donate brightly colored paint to make our set extra colorful. She is also looking for people to help paint.  Jacob Mazanec will be working with students to help them create their own digitally drawn backdrops that will be projected onto the stage. This is very exciting because it is a new way of incorporating the use of backdrops that will be created by the students! Sean Conlon is our fearless lighting and tech crew leader. He is always looking for new students to come and learn the ins and outs of lighting! Our pit band conductor is the fabulous Scott Halligan. This year Scott’s goal is to have his high school band play in the pit for the show, which will be great experience for all involved! Gina Glover is back as our elementary school liaison! She plays an important role during full cast rehearsals with the elementary school because she helps to teach them songs and dances. She’s also is the person behind the scenes during the performances helping the elementary students get on and off the  stage. Lastly, Eva Otten is back to help as assistant director! She brings many great ideas to the table! It is great to have her back!

I feel fortunate to be working with so many wonderful people but we are still looking for more help! If you are a student, parent or community member and you want to help out don’t hesitate to contact me! We want you to be part of the journey!  Show dates are March 6,7 and  8, 2015!  Hope to see you there!


Shelley Roberts

All-School Musical Director/Producer