Report by Paula Antolini
May 15, 2017 2:05PM EDT
BETHEL ADVOCATE REPORTING ON THE SCENE in Agawam, Massachusetts
VIDEOS/PHOTOS: Bethel High School Music Students Win BIG in “Music in the Parks” National Competition
(Scroll down to view 9 videos of the Music in the Parks performances at the bottom of the article.)
In an early morning class trip that began at 5:00 a.m., the Bethel High School (BHS) Orchestra, Band and Choir participated in the “Music in the Parks” national competition on Friday, May 12, 2017 in Massachusetts. Bethel music students were awarded five trophies! Congratulations Bethel Music students and teachers!
Five Trophies were awarded to Bethel as follows:
1st Place / AA High School / String Orchestra / Superior Rating
2nd Place / AA High School / Concert Band / Excellent Rating
1st Place / AA High School / Treble Choir / Superior Rating
3rd Place / AA High School / Mixed Choir / Excellent Rating
Overall Orchestra / High School Level
Performances were judged by professionals in the field, and awards were rated by size of school and scales on how students performed (90 – 100% = Superior, 80 – 89.9% = Excellent, 70-79.9% = Good). Other awards were given for best overall, in different categories.
Photo above: Bethel High School Treble Choir at the United Congregational Church, in Holyoke, MA.
Photo above: Bethel High School Mixed Choir at the United Congregational Church, in Holyoke, MA.
Conducted by BHS music teacher Karen Neville, the BHS Treble Choir performed Mermaid’s Lament and Clearwater and the BHS Mixed Choir performed Amanti Costanti and Jabula at the United Congregational Church, in Holyoke, MA. Piano accompaniment was by Sarah Deschan. (This spectacular old church is dated 1885 with a 1912 chapel, and the church was rebuilt after a fire in 1919. Read more about the church at the bottom of this article.)
Photo: Bethel High School Band at Holyoke High School Ludlow High School in Ludlow, MA.
Conducted by BHS music teacher Damon Coachman, the BHS Concert Band performed Fanfare and Flourishes and Lord of the Dance at Ludlow High School in Ludlow, MA.
Photo: Bethel High School Orchestra at Holyoke High School in Holyoke, MA.
Conducted by BHS music teacher Richard Baumer, the BHS String Orchestra performed Shenandoah, Tocatta and Plink Plank Plunk at Holyoke High School in Holyoke, MA.
This lead directly afterwards to a trip to Six Flags New England Amusement Park, at 1623 Main Street in Agawam, MA, where students enjoyed hours of fun on rides as they awaited the results of the competition at 5:00 p.m. in a separate part of Six Flags named River’s Edge Picnic Grove. This is a beautiful large park with huge gazebos and vast green lawns and a fountain and is entered from the amusement area by walking on a pretty bridge through the woods.
Thousands of students cheered as the award recipients were read.
Bethel students arrived back at BHS after 10:00 p.m. with trophies, and big smiles on their faces.
GOOD WORK BETHEL!
ABOUT MUSIC IN THE PARKS
Ensembles from all over the United States and Canada participate in Music In The Parks.
Music in the Parks is a day-long or two-day festival for student choral, orchestral, and band ensembles, held annually across the United States. Music groups perform before adjudicators who rate the ensemble in the morning, and then spend the day at an amusement park. The day culminates with an awards ceremony. Awards can be given to either a single player or a whole ensemble.
There are many different categories in the Music in the Parks festival. There are categories for band, Orchestra, and choir. Each of these has a high school and junior high/middle school category. The categories are then split up into A or AA, depending on the size of the school. Also, there are different types of band, orchestra, and choir, such as concert band, jazz band, mixed choir, and women’s choir. Finally, there are other awards given that are based on overall achievement or attitude, as well as for an individual member of a group.
The festivals are organized by the Educational Programs Network. The program was first founded in 1981 by Dr. James R. Wells. The Educational Programs Networks hosts over 200,000 music students each year.
VIEW MORE PHOTOS BELOW
Click on each photo to view larger.
DURING THE COMPETITION:
Photo above: Sarah Deschan provided piano accompaniment and Gia Antolini was the page turner for the Bethel High School Choirs, at the United Congregational Church, in Holyoke, MA.
RIVER’S EDGE PICNIC GROVE AWARDS CEREMONY:
SIX FLAGS AMUSEMENT PARK:
ON THE ROAD:
VIEW VIDEOS BELOW:
MUSIC IN THE PARKS / Bethel High School Treble Choir “Mermaid’s Lament”:
MUSIC IN THE PARKS / Bethel High School Treble Choir “Clearwater”:
MUSIC IN THE PARKS / Bethel High School Mixed Choir “Amanti Costanti”:
MUSIC IN THE PARKS / Bethel High School Mixed Choir “Jabula”:
MUSIC IN THE PARKS / Bethel High School Concert Band “Fanfare and Flourishes:
MUSIC IN THE PARKS / Bethel High School Concert Band “Lord of the Dance”:
MUSIC IN THE PARKS / Bethel High School String Orchestra “Shenandoah” (warm up piece):
MUSIC IN THE PARKS / Bethel High School String Orchestra “Tocatta”:
MUSIC IN THE PARKS / Bethel High School String Orchestra “Plink Plank Plunk”:
All ensembles classified under the following categories:
HIGH SCHOOL – Grades 9-12
JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL – Grades 7-9
MIDDLE SCHOOL – Grades 6-8
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – Grades K-6
CLASS A – accredited school enrollment less than 750 students
CLASS AA – accredited school enrollment 750 or higher
CLASS AAA – school age community ensembles and non-accredited schools only
More About the United Congregational Church
The Second Congregational Church (now United Congregational Church) of Holyoke was organized in 1849 as the First Congregational Society of Ireland Depot, taking the name of Second Congregational the following year when Holyoke became a town. Its first church, designed by New Haven architect Henry Austin, was erected in 1853 at the northeast corner of High and Dwight streets. A new church, located at 395 High Street, was erected in 1882-1885. It was designed by P. B. Johnson. By 1868 the congregation was the largest Congregational church in New England, and the fifth largest in the country. Attached to the 1885 church is the Skinner Memorial Chapel, designed by Allen and Collens and completed in 1912. A fire in 1919 destroyed the church, but left the bell tower and chapel standing. A new church, matching the architecture of the chapel, was soon built, also designed by Allen and Collens. In 1996 Second Congregational merged with Grace United Church (itself a 1973 merger of Grace Church and First United Congregational Church) to form the United Congregational Church of Holyoke.