Music Department wins big at Festivals of Music competition in Philadelphia


Ryan Abromowitz

photos courtesy of Eliza Kuperschmid and Christina Lamagna

The music department returned from their annual “Festivals of Music” competition on Sunday April 17, arms overflowing with awards. The competition, scheduled to be in Boston, Massachusetts, was moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, making this the first time SPF has ever performed in the City of Brotherly Love. All of the groups received scores of “superior” and “excellent.”
Las Cantadoras (Women’s Choir), was honored with a superior rating and was awarded the title of “Best Overall Choir.” Though Las Cantadoras typically does well in the competition and has been given the accolade in the past, this year the song choices, selected by choir teacher Jan Allen, were particularly difficult.
“I think a huge challenge we had was memorizing the songs,” said Lorie Rosado, a junior in Las Cantadoras. “One of the songs was in Hebrew and is very repetitive, with only little changes between each section.”
Last year was the first time in SPF History that the Men’s Choir received a superior rating and they continued the streak this year, winning another superior rating.
The Moonglowers received a superior rating and was also awarded “Best Overall Jazz Ensemble.” SPF Jazz was awarded a rating of superior as well after their outstanding performance under the direction of Durand Thomas.
“I’m proud to be apart of such a great music department, and I feel very lucky to be able to play in SPF Jazz with some amazing people,” said junior Zach Polak, a member of SPF Jazz.
What makes the “Festivals of Music” competition so unique is that the adjudicators also select individual students who had solos that rose above the rest. Ethan Cheung, a junior at the “Vo-Tech” school was awarded “Best Overall Jazz Soloist,” senior Daniel Zheng was awarded “Best Overall Student Accompanist” and sophomore Sara Miller was awarded “Best Overall Solo Vocalist.”
“My whole life I was never a singer, and I never really considered myself that much of a singer in particular, so to be recognized vocally is just a milestone for me that I never expected and I was very happily surprised,” said Miller.

The Moonglowers trombone section was also named “Outstanding Section in Jazz.” Below is a full list of the awards:

1st: Rhythm Sense: Superior

1st: Moonglowers: Superior

1st: SPF Jazz: Superior

1st: Men’s Choir: Superior

1st: Las Cantadoras: Superior

2nd: Jazz Lab B: Excellent

2nd: Percussion Ensemble: Excellent

2nd: Concert Band: Superior

2nd: Wind Ensemble: Superior

2nd: Select: Excellent

2nd: Concert Choir: Excellent

3rd: Jazz Lab A: Excellent

Best Overall Jazz Soloist: Ethan Cheung

Best Overall Student Accompanist: Daniel Zheng

Best Overall Solo Vocalist: Sara Miller

Outstanding Section in Jazz: Moonglowers Trombones

Best Overall Choir: Las Cantadoras

Best Overall Jazz Ensemble: Moonglowers

When the music department wasn’t busy performing or collecting their multitude of awards they also had time to sight-see in Philadelphia. Students visited the Constitution Center, City Hall Observation Deck, Reading Terminal Market and even took a duck tour.
The tour bus, a vehicle that drives on land and in water, supposedly to imitate a duck, rode throughout all of Philly and the Delaware River. This laid-back, entertaining ride was reportedly many students’ favorite part of the trip.
To celebrate their plethora of awards, students participated in a rave-dance-style party. Clad in neon and wacky costumes, the young musicians said goodbye to a weekend of music and fun.
Next year’s music trip will be to Orlando, Florida. The choral department can next be heard at the Spring Choral Concert on May 25 at 7:30 pm and the instrumental groups at the District Music Festival at 8 pm.