The Cavalcade of Bands
March is “Music in Our Schools Month.” The OBEN School District kicked off the month with an extravagant celebration known as the “Cavalcade of Bands.” The Oyster Bay High School Gym was jam packed with over three hundred seats set up on the court to accommodate five different bands ranging from Vernon’s Intermediate Band right up to the OBHS Wind Ensemble. Community members filled the bleachers and the gym in a “standing room only” event.
Each band in turn played a song or two and culminated in a grand finale where all five bands performed together simultaneously. It has become a tradition for the music department to invite a guest conductor to lead the bands in the grand finale. This year’s guest conductor was Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Laura Seinfeld. It is very difficult to have five distinct bands of varying degrees of abilities perform together and stay on the beat. Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Seinfeld working in concert with the music department staff, the finale was perfectly in sync.
Another stand out performance came when Oyster Bay High School Science Teacher Mr. Benjamin Fox was invited to join the Wind Ensemble to play his clarinet. Although it has been years since Mr. Fox attended Julliard, he hasn’t lost a step as he wowed the audience with some stellar playing. Mr. Fox and the Wind Ensemble under the direction of Mr. Matt Sisia performed a piece by Rossini which inspired the crowd to give a standing ovation.
The weekend of March 4, 2017, Mr. Sisia and the Wind Ensemble will travel to Syracuse, NY where they have been invited to play for the New York State Band Directors Association.
The Director of the Fine and Performing Arts Department Mr. Peter Rufa said, “The opportunity to learn about the arts and to perform as artists is an essential part of a well-rounded curriculum and complete education. The arts help students explore realities, relationships and ideas that cannot be conveyed simply in words or numbers. The arts engender innovative problem solving that students can apply to other academic disciplines while at the same time, provide experience working as a team.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, states ‘Education in the arts is more important than ever. In the global economy, creativity is essential. Today's workers need more than just skills and knowledge to be productive and innovative participants in the workforce. To succeed today and in the future, America's children will need to be inventive, resourceful and imaginative.’
The research on this is clear. Students who participate in the arts perform better in school, develop stronger problem solving skills and learn to collaborate with others toward a common goal. I would like to thank Ms. Finnerty, Mr. Costidis, Mr. Devassy, Ms. Macy, Mr. Giannetta, Ms. Kozee and Mr. Sisia for all they have done to instill the love of music into the hearts of our students. I extend an even greater thanks to you our parents, you have encouraged your children to participate and explore music and in doing so have open your children’s hearts and ears to a whole new language which they can now use to communicate with. To our Board of Education and Central Administration thank you for recognizing the value or these programs and understanding how deeply they impact a child’s life. But most importantly, congratulations to our students. Through your hard work, practice and dedication, you demonstrated to packed houses how beautiful and harmonious life is when you work together to make beautiful music.”