BHS to Participate In SEMSBA This Weekend
by Kevin Kokomani
This upcoming weekend, on Saturday, April 12th, musical students from Braintree High School and from all over the state will be heading to East Bridgewater High School to perform in the much anticipated senior SEMSBA (Southeastern Massachusetts School Bandmasters Association) festival of 2014. Over a month ago, these students and many more traveled one morning to Qualters Middle School in Mansfield to audition and have their abilities in areas such as scales, sight-reading, and actual prepared music tested one on one with a judge. Those select few chosen for the orchestra, chorus, and band demonstrated to the judge superb skill and knowledge in music, although many of those not admitted certainly made for tough candidates, making this year’s auditions quite competitive.
SEMSBA, an annual musical festival that has been running since 1953, is divided into senior and junior, where those in high school and above must audition for senior SEMSBA (those younger can audition for either). At the start of the day, those auditioning for the band, the string orchestra, and the chorus were partitioned off into separate rooms, where they were further separated outside individual classrooms by instrument where they nervously awaited their auditions, and ultimately, their fates. After all of the auditions were completed, these aspiring musicians headed off to lunch in the cafeteria and back onto the busses for the cathartic ride home.
Dozens of musicians were accepted and later given their music to learn for this date, and many other potential participants were unfortunately denied entry. Now, with barely any time left until the date of the performances, students are scrambling to learn their parts through and through for Friday, the day of the grueling rehearsals, where the students leave school at around 8:00 for the 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM practice with all other SEMSBA participants. The next day, the day of the concerts, rehearsals go from 9:00 AM to around 11:30 AM, and the chorus performs at 1:00 PM while the band and orchestra perform at 2:30 PM.
James McCarthy, the famed and well known BHS drummer and 2014 senior SEMSBA band musician, had this to say about the young participants of this year’s performances in the festival: “some band and orchestra kids are pretty cool, but a lot of them are kind of weird.” Furthermore, he added, “a lot of the orchestra kids are pretty stuck up, too.” This comes as insightful insider information, because not only is this a festival to hone the skills of such young musicians in a much more serious than usual context, but a chance for these kids to get out of their usual school arrangement context, meet new people, and experience new things.
This coming SEMSBA festival will prove to be one of the most interesting and different experiences in these students’ young lives, where they will be able to show off their skills, learn from others, and contribute to a beautiful overall sound.
Kevin Kokomani is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition