2017-02-04 / Front Page

Top student-musicians set for Biddeford performance

Executive Editor

BIDDEFORD – Music can transform young minds and serve to inspire students while touching their hearts and souls in unique ways.

That power will be on full display at 4 p.m. Saturday when Biddeford Middle School hosts the 2017 York County District Honors Music Festival. The event features the most talented band and chorus students from 12 local middle schools performing in concert at the BMS Performing Arts Center.

BMS band and chorus students had to audition for selection to the event, so only the top 10 percent of music students at the school will be performing at the festival, said Amy Delorge, BMS instrumental music instructor.

"The best part of all of this is having an opportunity to spend extensive time with this group of students," Deloge said. "This is truly a great group of kids."   

Scores of BMS students auditioned to perform in the festival, but Delorge and vocal instructor Alicia Phelps could only select eight band participants and 10 chorus members for the honors distinction.

BMS band students chosen to perform are Aushe Edmond (alto saxophone), Maliha Raida, Emily Poisson, and Ru Liu (clarinets), Aurelia Leonard (french horn), Colin Tippett (percussion) and Zowie Cheetham-Wilmot and Allie Hayden (trombones). 

Chorus students from BMS selected to perform include Sally McGrath, Elizabeth Nunes, Katie Belanich, Katlyn Bickford, Sarina Strickland, Delia Boucher, Andrew Marcotte, Aiden Maliski, Vernika McDaniel, and Kerri Scott.

Raida, an eighth-grader, said she was humbled when she learned she had been chosen to perform.

"I was so surprised," she said. "I don't think my family thought I could be a musician, but as I got better, they have become very proud of me."

She hopes to continue to play clarinet as she transitions into high school. 

Tippett, an eighth-grade percussionist, said he enjoys playing the timpani and snare drums, along with the suspended cymbals and he's excited about performing with some of the best student musicians in the area.

"I auditioned because it seemed to be cool to be a part of a band from the entire county," Tippett said. "I've been playing since I was in fourth grade and this is quite an honor for me."

Being selected to perform in the festival shows how far that Leonard has progressed in music. As a seventh-grader who just took up the french horn last year, she said earning this distinction is hard to fathom.

"I like that not many people play the french horn," Leonard said. "It's so different from other instruments."

Delorge said she's proud of the strides that BMS music students have made to reach this level of performance.

"I expect them to experience a number of a-ha moments," she said. "They'll develop a sense of pride from being with 100 musicians from throughout the county and a sense of joy. We're all very proud to host this year's festival and show off our beautiful facility here too."

After spending much of Saturday rehearsing with their Honors Music Festival peers, BMS students will take the stage to perform with Massachusetts conductor Joseph Wright at 4 p.m. in the BMS Performing Arts Center. 

The public is invited to attend the performance and admission is $5 for adults, $2 for students/children with a family cap for immediate family members of $15. All proceeds benefit the BMS Music Department. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. 

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 326 or by email at editor@journaltribune.com.

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