Young Brattleboro musicians get regional nod

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BRATTLEBORO — Three student musicians from Brattleboro Union High School have been selected to perform in All-Eastern honors ensembles in April.

They will join with top high school musicians from the northeastern United States in Pittsburgh, Pa., to work with esteemed conductors to craft performances of rigorous repertoire.

Senior percussionist, Ari Essunfeld, will play in the All-Eastern Orchestra. He has earned the highest score among mallet percussionists auditioning for the Vermont All State music festival for the last three years and the highest score on timpani for the last two. He has been the high scorer in the Connecticut Valley District band's percussion section throughout his high school career. He plays in the band, jazz band, and pit orchestras at BUHS where he also sings bass in the chorus, Madrigals and Shoulder Narrows. A Putney resident, Ari is the top ranked scholar in his senior class. He aspires to a career in aerospace engineering but plans to continue performing music throughout his life.

Junior alto saxophonist, Jordan Roach, will play in the All-Eastern band. He earned the top score among alto saxophonists in the All State Music Festival for the last two years. He has also been a top scorer in the Connecticut Valley District Music Festival band and jazz band. He attended the Summer Youth Music School (SYMS) at the University of New Hampshire in July. A Brattleboro resident, Jordan plays in the BUHS band, jazz band and pit orchestra and sings bass in chorus, Madrigals and Xpressivo. He will sing in the New England Music Festival chorus later this month. He has been active as a musician and actor at New England Youth Theater. Jordan is a member of the BUHS Visual and Performing Arts Academy's instrumental music strand. His mother, Academy School teacher Deb Kardane, played flute in the All-Eastern band in Boston in 1990.

Senior tenor, Malcolm Toleno, was invited to sing in the All-Eastern Mixed Chorus. He has been an All State singer for each of his four years of high school. At BUHS, he sings in the chorus, Madrigals, Shoulder Narrows and Xpressivo. He has played leading roles in music theater productions at BUHS as well as New England Youth Theater. An avid instrumental musician, Malcolm plays the clarinet in the BUHS and Connecticut Valley District bands, and piano in the respective jazz bands. He also earned acceptance into the New England Music Festival band. He has directed music and provided accompaniment for Vermont Theater Company productions. The third-ranked member of the senior class, Malcolm plans to attend college and is considering a variety of career paths. Since he will be traveling to Switzerland with the BUHS Swiss exchange during the All-Eastern conference, he has regretfully declined his position in the honors chorus.

To be considered for All-Eastern ensembles, students must have participated in their state's All State music festival in the previous year and be members of their school's ensembles. They must attend schools in states that are part of the National Association for Music Education's Eastern Division. These include all six New England states, as well as New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

Since Vermont's population of music educators is so relatively small, only 1 percent of the students selected for All-Eastern honors ensembles (about seven students) can be from the state. The NAfME Eastern Division conference is a biennial event. Only juniors and seniors are considered for the honors ensembles.

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