This January, many of our musically talented Chipmunks graced the stages of Tulane and Loyola Universities as part of the LMEA District VI honor bands and choirs. These groups are comprised of boys and girls in music programs all over the area. Girls from the Raider Band and Chapelle choir programs auditioned in December to be in the District VI honor groups.
Students who were selected to participate in the Junior High Honor Band worked under Mr. Dominick Caronna, this year’s recipient of the “High School Band Director of the Year” award and director of Brother Martin High School’s band program. Students who played in the Senior High Honor Band worked under clinician Dr. David Holsinger, a world-renowned musician and composer. These ensembles rehearsed together for an estimated total of seven hours on Friday and Saturday and gave an impressive concert on the morning of Sunday, January 20, at Tulane’s Dixon Hall. “My favorite part about honor band is the community,” reflected senior Alex Rusnak. “We all come together from different schools–most of us don’t even know each other– and we create something much greater than ourselves.” Dr. Nicholas “Doc” Compagno, Chapelle’s beloved band director of over twenty years, knows that being selected for an honor band is a great accomplishment earned through hard work. “Rehearsing and performing with the band is an invaluable experience. The bands perform challenging music directed by professional musicians who share insights into the interpretation and style of the music. Ultimately, students motivate each other to produce a quality concert, and make lasting friendships with other musicians.”
Several of our Chorale Chips also participated in a similar program. The District VI Senior High Honor Chorus rehearsed after school during the week leading up to the concert on Saturday, January 26. Dr. Jaclyn Johnson, a choral professor from Tennessee, conducted the Senior High Mixed Honor Chorus which rehearsed and performed at Loyola University. Senior Lindsey Sommers, historian of Chorale and third time Honor Chorus participant, was impacted once more by the district choir experience. “The best part of district honor choir was definitely getting to learn from such a talented and warm-hearted director,” she said. “It was also incredible to experience singing with so many different students from other high schools around New Orleans!” Sophomore Rylee Johnson, treasurer of Chorale and a second time Honor Chorus participant, hopes that all singers consider taking advantage of the annual audition opportunity. “I would encourage others to audition because you acquire confidence and experience,” she said. “I have enjoyed my time in honor choir because I learn new singing techniques and become so in love with the music that I pour my heart into the performance.”
The girls who participated in the LMEA District VI Honor Bands are Alex Rusnak, Brooke Siegle, Abby Southworth*, Carina Swonger, Zoe Weber, Ava Woodruff, and Sara Vollenweider*. The girls who participated in the LMEA District VI Senior High Mixed Honor Chorus are Amy Darda*, Rylee Johnson, Ashley Jones, Emily Ledesma, Emma Mathes, and Lindsey Sommers. Congratulations to our talented Chipmunks!
* indicates LMEA All-State ensemble participation