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Hitting All the Right Notes: Sewanhaka's Annual District Festival

By Christine Ren

Each year, the Sewanhaka Central High School District celebrates a shared passion of the arts at their annual District Art and Music Festival. This year’s festival took place on Thursday, February 1, at Floral Park Memorial High School. The concert featured over 300 skilled musicians from the district, each displaying their respective talents. 

Student musicians from around the district auditioned for a part in the concert last November. Those with qualifying NYSSMA scores were given automatic admission to the festival, but still had to audition for seating. Under the close guidance of several teachers and staff members, the students attended multiple rehearsals over a three-week period. 

Source by Darsh Mirchandani

The SCHSD District Art and Music Festival was a culmination of hours of practice and dedication from student musicians across all five schools.

A unique variety of artwork was displayed in the lobby at the event, greeting visitors as they entered. Student artists from around the district were featured in the installation. 

“I am so proud of all the student musicians who performed at the district festival. The performances were wonderful demonstrations of the work that students around the district put into music. The opportunity to work with students from all over the district is always memorable. This year, we had some extremely capable and talented conductors. I look forward to next year's festival,” music chairperson Mr. Monat said.

The orchestra was the first performing group to take the stage, starting with "The Star-Spangled Banner," conducted by Mr. Louis Dara. For their next three pieces, "Capriccio Espagnol," "Reverie" and "Minotaur," the orchestra was under the direction of Mr. Frank Yolango. 

“Playing at the district music festival was an enjoyable experience,” sophomore Taylor Li said. “The music we played was fun, yet challenging to play. Our conductor was an incredibly talented person and a pleasure to be around.”

The chorus was next, performing “A Hymn to Peace,” “Brothers,” “Gloria (Heiligmesse),” “The Last Words of David” and “Shut de Do” conducted by Mr. Stephen C. Pagano. Additionally, several soloists performed.

“All-district was a great first experience for me and I had a lot of fun meeting people from other districts. I also loved Mr. Pagano; he taught me a lot,” sophomore Jad Abukoush said.

The band closed out the night by performing “Enchanted Spaces,” “A Childhood Remembered,” “Manhattan Beach March” and “Visions of Flight.” The band was directed by the guest conductor, Mr. James Dragovich.

“Playing in the district music festival allowed me to work together with other people to make music,” freshman Axl Su said.

The District Music and Art Festival serves as a yearly reminder of the dedication the entire district devotes to the arts, as well as a way for students to interact with their peers around the district and bond over a shared interest.


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