When members of the HHS Music Department boarded buses April 16 for Williamsburg, Va., they faced a 14.5 hour drive. But the time flew by in their excitement for what was to come in the next couple of days: competing in the WorldStrides Heritage Williamsburg Music Festival.
Friday morning, students in Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Chorus, and Vox toured the Colonial Williamsburg area. Think of it as sort of like Plimouth Plantation but more than 100 years more modern and also in the South. It’s right in the heart of Williamsburg and most of it is open to the public. The area is a perfect juxtaposition of the late 1700s with the 2010s. Virginia’s decision to join the rebellion against Great Britain in the Revolutionary War is billed down there as the reason the War was successful. In a sense, the area pays homage to the way of life of that time period.
The choral groups performed Friday afternoon at the Kimball Theatre, located in the heart of the Colonial Williamsburg area. You could tell the choruses really improved since the MICCA competition and they both had awesome performances in Williamsburg. Both groups (and the bands as well) performed the exact same set of songs they performed for the MICCA Competition.
After the choruses performed, it was back to the hotel in order for everyone to prepare for a night party cruise of the Norfolk, Va., harbor. Norfolk is the home base of the US Navy Atlantic Fleet. It ended up turning into a small dance on a sailboat. There was even a DJ playing music as we sailed around the harbor taking in the sights of the impressive navy fleet.
The bands performed Saturday morning at Heritage High School in Newport News, Va., (only about half an hour away from Williamsburg). Concert Band performed first thing in the morning and had the unique opportunity to warm up onstage. Jazz Ensemble performed next and, suffice to it say, it was a jaw-dropping awesome performance. It truly was a tour de force for a group well accustomed to excellence and it was real treat for the audience to experience.
Saturday afternoon was spent in Busch Gardens. Everyone was able to find something in the park to enjoy, whether it was the roller coaster or even just the nice weather and scenery of a park that has been consistently named America’s Most Beautiful. The awards ceremony for the festival occurred in the park that night. The 10 other schools that participated in that festival were there and the electrifying spirit in the hall was something that had to be experienced in order to be understood. Cheers were being constantly yelled and the level of spirit each school had was palpable in the air.
Hanover did very well in the awards ceremony. On the choral side, Vox and Concert Chorus came in Silver – 2nd place. On the band side, Concert Band also came in Silver – 2nd place and Jazz Ensemble came in Gold – 1st place. Additionally, Jazz Ensemble received the Overall Instrumental Award for having the highest score of any instrumental group (both concert and jazz bands) and also received the Adjudicator’s Award for being the highest scoring jazz band. Dante Nicotera received an individual maestro award, due in no small part to his amazing solo Baritone Sax and Clarinet in Jazz Ensemble’s Spain. He was one of six musicians in the festival who were recognized with this special honor.
The Hanover group also got the Spirit of Williamsburg Award, given to the school that best embodies the spirit of musicianship, cooperation, and positive interaction with festival staff and other students. To recieve this award on top of their musical achievements really ended the trip on a high note. Ask anyone who went on the trip, myself included, and they will all rave about the experience.
All of this being said, the Band and Choruses are hard at work preparing for their Spring Concerts. The Choral Spring Concert is Thursday May 14 and the Band Spring Concert is Thursday May 21. I encourage you all to come and hear the new repertoire both groups have for then!