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District II Honors Choral Festival

The letter below was shared with school administrators by Julia Edwards, Choral Music Teacher at Poland Regional High School and Bruce Whittier Middle School. Thank you Julia - we are very proud to honor them here as well!

Photo of BWMS students at the District II Honors Choral Festival

I want to share with you some photos and a quick comment about the students who participated in the District II Honors Choral Festival this past weekend at Greely HS. 

If you are not currently aware of the structure of the District II music festivals, it is this: students prepare a piece of music and travel to another school to audition for adjudicators on their instrument/voice in October. If they receive a score above the determined cut-off, they are invited to participate in a two-day festival in the winter, hosted at an area school. At the festival, the students spend two days rehearsing music that they have prepared independently and with their regular music teacher (this music is often very close to — or at— a collegiate level). The second day closes with a public concert at which students perform the prepared pieces with their guest conductors. There are over 20 districts that send students, so those who are chosen really have earned their seats in the festival. 

Every year I am impressed by the music students in RSU16 and their level of commitment to preparation, exemplary behavior, and classy demeanor at the auditions and festivals. They are positive, kind, and reach out to others. They hold themselves accountable in rehearsals by being some of the first students ready after transition times. They demonstrate leadership in rehearsals and in common areas by being on task and attentive and engaged. All of these traits and behaviors make them exceptional ambassadors for our schools, and I am finding more and more that when they are asked by other teachers or students where they go to school, the “I’m not surprised” response is all too familiar to them. I hear this both from our students and from other teachers who offer positive feedback on our students’ behaviors. 

I’m sharing this because I think these traits come from far beyond their current music classroom — it is an indication of the culture we have in our RSU16 schools and of the preparation many of our students receive from their elementary music teachers and families and other influences. I’m grateful for the ways you all encourage that accountability and sense of community as administrators, and I know our students are making you proud, out and about on their various adventures. 

Thanks for all you do to support our music programs and these phenomenal students.

The photo above is the Bruce Whittier Middle School chorus and the photo below is the Poland High School chorus with Mr. Yarnall (student teacher) and Mrs Edwards (Choral Music Teacher).