Musicians Picked for GISA All-Select, Carnegie Hall Gigs

Stratford musicians have been hitting the high notes this month.

Seven of Stratford’s band and chorus members performed as part of the GISA All-Select concert at Woodward Academy on on Sunday Nov. 3. That same week, three students also learned that they had been selected to perform in the national honor band and choir at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City this February. 

The five band members and two singers in the GISA performance were nominated by Ms. Laura Voss. The band students included flutist Gracie Childers, tubist William Staton, and low brass player Mary Carolyn Hulgan.  Two clarinetists, Meredith Fuchs and Carly Wanna, attained the first and second chairs for the clarinet section.

“The clarinet section is one of the biggest instrumental sections, so it was exciting,” Voss said.

Savannah Alday and Maggie Bergmark sang in the chorus.

This group traveled to Woodward on Friday afternoon after the football game, and auditioned on Saturday for chair placement, or ranking based on the musician’s ability, with the top players sitting at the top of the section. After chair auditions, the students gave a concert on Sunday afternoon for the GISA headmaster and teacher’s conference. The concert was directed by composer Dr. Quincy Hilliard, according to Voss, “which was very exciting because the students were given the opportunity to premiere his most recent and unreleased composition.”

Hulgan, Bergmark, and Alday also will be performing in Manhattan in February.

According to Voss, the Carnegie performers underwent  a rigorous application process over the summer that required applicants to submit two recorded audition pieces for review. Alday and Bergmark were required to sing an excerpt from an opera, and another song of their choice. Hulgan played a mandatory piece written specifically for this audition as well as another classical piece of her choosing.

“This will be life changing for the students to perform on this stage where so many famous musicians have also performed,” Voss said.