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BMHS Hosts First-Ever Norwalk Orchestra Festival

BMHS Hosts First-Ever Norwalk Orchestra Festival
Brien McMahon High School

On May 23, Brien McMahon High School Orchestra gave a stellar performance at the first ever Norwalk Orchestra Festival, a collaboration between Norwalk Public Schools and the Connecticut chapter of the American String Teachers.

The event was a smashing success! Orchestras from eight area high schools joined Brien McMahon at the Norwalk Concert Hall for the adjudicated event. Students from each school had the opportunity to perform for and receive adjudication from two fabulous string educators.

Participating schools and their music arrangements included:

  • Brien McMahon High School Honors Principal Orchestra, directed by Matt Rescsanszky
    • Overture to “The Barber of Seville” - Giocchino Rossini/Isaac
    • Spirited Voyage (Scherzo for Strings) - Joshua Riznecow

  • Westhill High School String Orchestra, directed by Blair Roberts
    • Wood Splitter Fanfare - Brian Balmages
    • Sweet New Moon - Yukiko Nishimura
    • The Tempest - Robert W. Smith, arr. McCashin

  • Fairfield Ludlowe High School Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Susannah Bryan
    • Falcon Variations - Noah Dokko Stein
    • Cinema Paradiso - Ennio Morricone, arr. Krogstad

  • Wilton High School Symphonic Orchestra, directed by Malcolm Karlan and Angelica Jara
    • Carnival Overture - Antonín Dvoƙák, Arr. Gruselle
    • Cantabile, from Symphony No. 5 - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, arr. McCashin

  • Fairfield Prep String Orchestra, directed by Daniel Horstmann
    • Amadeus! - Arr. Larry Moore
    • Shaker Variations - Arr. Jim Palmer

  • West Hartford Camerata, directed by Andrew Hopko
    • Rest - Frank Tichelli
    • Overture from Suite "La Bizarre" TWV 55, G:2 - Georg Philip Telemann

  • Middletown High School Orchestra, directed by Lauren Otto
    • Beethoven, Inc. - Richard Meyer
    • Nessun Dorma (from “Turandot”) - Giacomo Puccini, arr. Ricketts

  • I Giovani Solisti, directed by Emmett Drake
    • Fuga con Rajarillo from Aldermaro Romero

Brien McMahon rose to the occasion marvelously. The BMHS performance garnered a Superior rating, including the comment that they "demonstrated musical maturity and attention to detail." 

“I am immensely proud of the accomplishments of this year's BMHS Honors Principal Orchestra!” said Matt Rescsanszky, Orchestra Director for Brien McMahon High School.

The festival was the first of its kind in the region. While Connecticut has a strong tradition of individual honor festivals for orchestra students, there has been a lack of opportunities for high school orchestras to perform and receive adjudication as an entire school ensemble. The directors from the other seven high school orchestras expressed deep gratitude in Brien McMahon’s willingness to host this type of festival.

Rescsanszky wished to thank Dr. Lori Leibowitz for her support throughout the planning process. He also thanked Brianna Palmer in the Norwalk Mayor’s Office for helping to reserve and prepare the Concert Hall for the festival. The director also appreciated Superintendent Dr. Alexandra Estrella for her attendance at the festival.