October proved to be an exceptional month for the music programs at Homestead High School, as HHS students were honored in four WSMA statewide distinctions – Honors Choir, Honors Orchestra, the State Composition Project and the Launchpad Rock Band Competition.
On October 25, a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano package was presented to the HHS choirs by the Wisconsin State Music Association. Choir member Jonathan Trubshaw and 2010 graduate Zach Schley and their rock band “Little Saint Anything” won the statewide competition for high school students in bands formed outside of school, and earned the chance to say “thank you” to HHS music teacher Rebecca Winnie by designating a $5,000 prize package to her school, courtesy of Yamaha Corporation of America.
On October 28, Homestead 2010 graduate Graycie Gardner was recognized as one of the top student composers in the state by the Wisconsin School Music Association and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Graycie was honored in the Best Vocal Ensemble category for an original composition titled “Invocation.” Gardner received the award from the Student Composition Project at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. “We are tremendously proud of the hard work and dedication Graycen has put forth,” said Dr. Demond Means, Superintendent. “It is efforts like these that showcase the importance of the arts as part of a complete educational experience here in our District.”
The Student Composition Project was created to provide opportunities to encourage the artistic abilities of students in Wisconsin. It also places emphasis on the criteria of the National Standards for Music Education and works to encourage an extension of music learning as outlined in Wisconsin’s music curriculum guide.
“On behalf of the teachers and staff of Mequon-Thiensville, I would like to congratulate Graycen on this award,” Means said. “With this exceptional achievement, she has demonstrated an enormous amount of talent and creativity. She has done a great job of representing the student body of Homestead High School.”
Also on October 28, 11 students from Homestead represented both the choir and the orchestra in the annual Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) High School State Honors Concerts at the Overture Center in Madison. The concerts are the culmination of an intense audition, summer camp and rehearsal process for 429 of the finest young musicians in Wisconsin. The WSMA State Honors Music Project brings Wisconsin’s top young musicians to work together with nationally known conductors in a highly disciplined, professional setting. The 429 students in grades 9, 10 and 11 were selected from more than 1,600 who auditioned.
“The High School State Honors Music Project is more than just bringing together talented students, teachers and conductors. As we work together at the June camp we are all getting to know each other musically and pushing students to a higher level of musical experience. After the camp much practice and planning takes place for the concerts. Because of this process, the October concerts are a synergistic and magical moment when hard work and commitment to excellence come together as a performance," said Tim Wurgler, WSMA program director.
Students representing the Homestead High School Choirs were Kim Eyers, Meri Bobber, Andrew Widder, Marjorie Cullen, Keali Bjork, and MacKenzie Melan. From senior Keali Bjork, “I have been fortunate enough to participate in the Honors Choir twice. Each experience was inspiring and unique. Collaborating with young people as passionate about music as I am and working hard together to create a beautiful, singular sound will forever remain a highlight in my musical career.” Sophomore MacKenzie Melan adds, “The experience at the Honors Choir is like no other. There is non-stop singing with a ton of really gifted singers. It was definitely a wonderful experience full of lots of learning. I recommend it to any singer who has a goal of singing later on in college. It was amazing and I hope to go back next year!"
The Homestead Orchestras were represented by violinists Tom Bewell, Annabelle Hoots, Bonnie Hoots, Ben Kroeger and cellist Nikhil Ramnarayan.
For more information about the WSMA State Honors Music Project and other programs, go to www.wsmamusic.org.
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