Sherman School band program thriving throughout pandemic

SHERMAN — Despite school activities being limited due to the pandemic, Sherman School’s music program has lost little ground.

Its Band/Chorus and Jazz program is celebrating 36 spots in the Western Regional Festival for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students who auditioned this year.

Additionally, for the first time in Sherman School history, three students were accepted into the Western Regional Jazz Band.

Student Hannah Rich said she was “surprised” to be accepted since the band only accepts two drum sets. Student Michael Clancy said he is excited to be accepted since he has tried for three years (and won last year also.) Student Alexander Ostrosky has been lead trumpet for two years, both trumpet and jazz trumpet.

“I am so proud of the students’ hard work this year. We have really benefited as a school community by having so many in-person days of school, and because of that, the music program has been able to continue,” Sherman School Band Director Christopher Carlone said.

“Since there are no full ensemble rehearsals due to COVID restrictions, students receive private and small group lessons where we are able to focus on audition materials,” he said. “Students also use instrument-based PPE and increased social distancing in our larger rehearsal space.”

Carlone said that throughout the pandemic, students were preparing as a class and would record their auditions and listen to themselves frequently.

That “was a great teaching tool for helping them develop a strong audition,” he said.

Additionally, “this is the first year we have had students make it on flute,” which, according to Carlone, is a more competitive instrument for acceptance into the festival.

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The students who won the Western Regional Festival are as follows:

Sixth grade:

Ellie Garcia, Flute

Allegra Linero, Flute

Eliana Ostrosky, Flute

Audrey Wiggins, Flute

Lucy Ban, Clarinet

Mackenzie Bonner, Clarinet

Alyssa Campbell, Clarinet

Matthew Tangredi, Alto Saxophone

Hale Hurwitz, Tenor Saxophone

Nicholas Lobraico, Baritone Saxophone

Ella Bocampani, Trumpet,

Julian Seda, Trumpet

Nate Setzler, Baritone Horn

John Berlandi, Trombone

Sally Hafer, Trombone

Seventh grade:

Hadley Diotte, Flute

Fiona Ruffler, Flute

Marisa Swan, Flute

Ava Pietruska, Clarinet

Cas Pietruska, Alto Saxophone

Avery Peburn, French Horn

Hannah Rich, Jazz Drum set and Mallets

Emma Mandracchia, Mallets

Eighth grade:

Isabella Buffa, Flute

Isabella DiNatale, Flute

Taylor Murray, Flute

Hayden Myles, Flute

Katie Smith, Clarinet

Hannah Gassmann, Soprano and Mallets

Michael Clancy, Trombone and Jazz Trombone

Alexander Ostrosky, Trumpet and Jazz Trumpet

Ethan Cacace, Tuba

Carlone said the school is trying to give students a normal school year in music by allowing them to audition and perform in any way possible.

For example, later in spring, the students will do an outdoor competition where an adjudicator will come to the school and listen to them perform and work with them, Carlone said.

“We also plan on marching in the Memorial Day parade if we are able to do it in a safe way,” Carlone said. “We want to celebrate these students’ achievements during a tough time for the performing arts anyway we can.

“I feel honored to teach in a community that honors music and treats it as an important part of their children’s education,” he said.