RCS musicians bring home NYSSMA awards

Earlier this month, the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Music Department continued its long tradition of participating in the New York State School Music Association Solo/Ensemble and Major Organization Evaluation Festivals.

On April 1 and 2, 106 students from grades 5-12 participated in the Solo/Ensemble Festival at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School. Each student was evaluated by a trained NYSSMA adjudicator in solos that ranged in difficulty from level one through level six, with level six being the most difficult level of performance.

The level 1-4 solos are evaluated on a 28-point system. Scores of 26-28 are deemed “outstanding” while scores in the 21-25 are ranked as “excellent.” All but one of the RCS students’ scores was in the “outstanding” and “excellent” range.

Solos in levels 5-6 are evaluated on a 100-point system. The RCS students’ scored ranged from 86 to 100. Fourteen students from the high school performed level six all-state solos; one student earned a perfect score of 100, four students scored 99, four students scored 98 and five students scored 97. Any score above a 97 ranked as an A-plus.

Middle and high school students in four major ensembles performed three selections each for evaluation at Shaker High School and Bethlehem High School on Tuesday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 20.

The high school band, under the direction of Scott Andrews, performed at Shaker and received a Level 4 Gold with Distinction Award. Later that afternoon, the middle school seventh and eighth-grade band, under the direction of Kermit Wamsley, received a Level 2 Bronze Award.

The middle school seventh and eighth-grade chorus, under the direction of Lesley Lopez, performed at Bethlehem and received a Level 2 Silver Award. The high school chorus, under the direction of Michelle McLoughlin, received Level 6 Silver Award. This was the first time the group attempted a level six performance under McLoughlin’s direction.

“These festivals are a great way to encourage students to continue practicing and work to achieve their best,” Andrews said. “I want to congratulate all of the students and their directors on another successful year at the NYSSMA festivals.”