SPF Music Department Sweeps Competition


Josh Axelrod

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Music Department recently competed in their annual “Festivals of Music” competition on a music trip to Washington D.C., and the musicians performed exceptionally at the event. Choirs and bands received mainly “Superior” and some “Excellent” ratings, and SPF history was made.
The Men’s Choir, one of five audition-only choirs at the high school, has only ever been awarded an “Excellent” rating; however, they were bestowed the prestigious “Superior” rating this year. The male ensemble was also overjoyed to have won “Best Overall Choir,” above every other SPF and competing school choir. The group performed the Scottish ballad “Loch Lomond,” a difficult but beautiful composition to which the men attribute their success. Philip Tice and Eric Calvo had solos in this song, as well as Joseph Haverlock in the group’s other song, “Where Dwells the Soul of My Love,” and Tice was granted the distinguished award, “ Outstanding Vocalist,” for his dramatic choral performance. Tice said, “I’m so proud of the entire Men’s Choir and their phenomenal performance at the festival this year. I am very grateful for being awarded the title of ‘Outstanding Vocalist,’ but I know none of my involvement would have mattered without the fantastic men in our ensemble and their equally commendable job.” Listen below to hear the Men’s Choir perform “Loch Lomond.”
The Moonglowers kept up their tradition of collecting large trophies, with an unsurprising win for “Best Jazz Ensemble,” following their fantastic musical performance. After three years as the group’s pianist, Alex Karakis tied to win the award of “Outstanding Jazz Soloist.” Delighted with the results of the festival, Karakis said, “One of the great things about the music trip is that it’s a reminder of how our hard work pays off, and this year was no different. We managed to come home with a bunch of awards and ratings that place us as a very high level department and I’m very proud of everyone who’s worked to make us as good as we are. In regards to my soloist award, I’m very humbled that the judges liked my playing enough to award it, and I’m very honored to have been selected. It’s just a motivation to keep practicing and to keep getting better at what I do.”
Julia Guarneri, a sophomore in Las Cantadoras, the women’s choir, said, “We learned the music in such a short period of time but we did so well at our competition and I’m so proud of us.” Dan Zheng, a junior pianist, was awarded “Outstanding Student Accompanist,” for his instrumental assistance to the choruses.
Bands and choirs were not the only groups to perform at the competition. The Winterguard, a musical dance troupe, twirled their flags and somersaulted their way to victory with first place and a “Superior” rating. Junior Faegan Peck said, “Being a member of Winterguard is really great because we work hard and all the hard work pays off in the end when we do well and succeed.”
Interim choir director, Anthony Figliano, who filled in for Jan Allen on maternity leave, ends his brief stint on April 24. After leading students through the Winter Concert and Cabaret Night, preparing students for this trip was his last major duty. The beloved choir teacher said, “I’m very proud of all the singers. I know I only came in for five months, but I was very thankful for the opportunity and I couldn’t be prouder of the vocalists.”
A recurring theme of hard work, success, and pride seems to be prevalent in the outcome of the student’s recent competition and in all the work they do as a department. The students will perform again next year in Boston, in an attempt to recapture the triumph of this year’s music trip. As Karakis gleefully said, “Hopefully the non-seniors will be inspired to carry on the tradition of SPFHS having one of the greatest music departments around.”
To check out the Men’s Choir performing their winning song “Loch Lomond”, click here
Below are the rankings of Scotch Plains- Fanwood’s entire music department:
Music Rankings