West Milford students showcased their talents at arts festival

Educators promote art and music in public schools in Music Appreciation Month, Youth Art Month

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  • Photo by Patricia KellerThe West Milford High School Symphonic Band performed March 30.

  • Photo by Patricia KellerBagpipe players performed March 30 in West Milford.


March was the month to celebrate music and the arts in the West Milford School District.

On March 30, the district held its 26th annual “All District Arts Festival” at the West Milford High School, a fitting finale for “Music Appreciation Month”/“Music In Our Schools Month” and “Youth Art Month.”

The National Association for Music Education promotes the benefits of high quality music education programs in schools and engages music educators, students, and communities from around the country.

“In school districts nationwide, music education programs are being reduced or eliminated altogether," according to the association. "At the same time, we know that music education programs in schools offer a multitude of invaluable benefits for students ... Teaching music in classrooms is essential if we want to truly offer a world-class and well-rounded education to our students.”

"Youth Art Month" is a national program administered through the Council for Art Education that encourages support for quality school art programs, and promotes art material safety.

“The program provides a medium for recognizing skills developed through visual arts experiences unlike any other curriculum subjects," according to the art council.

The art council states that art programs in school promote problem solving, creativity, observation, communication. Art shows, special exhibits, fundraisers, and school and community activities take place annually, traditionally during March, to celebrate visual art education for grades K to 12, according to the council.

In West MilfordWest Milford students dazzle the community with exhibits of artistic inspiration and recitals.

Students have been showcasing performing arts talents, including the Visual and Industrial Arts projects of district students in grades K-12 which included a gallery-style display setup in the school cafeteria.

Paintings, sketches, photography, ceramics, graphic design, architectural design, and woodworking creations were among the many incredibly artistic, imaginative, creative and inspired bodies of work on display for the duration of the four-hour festival concert.

Bands play in local festivalThe West Milford High School Pit Percussion Ensemble played for incoming crowds with an upbeat, melodic selections for the multi-festival concert.

The Elementary Beginners Band, comprised mostly of select 5th-grade students from all six of the district’s elementary schools, performed in Festival I. At this level, students begin learning to read music and learn the basic skills to play their instrument of choice.

The Macopin 7th Grade Band entertained audience members with the well-known tunes “Pokemon Theme” and “The Beatles 1964!” Students also displayed original art images of Pokemon characters as they performed the popular theme song.

No concert at West Milford High School would be complete without a march-on performance by the infamous Highlander Pipes and Drums.

The Highlander Symphonic Band skillfully engaged the crowd with exhilarating renditions of “Selections from Moana” and “Bruno Mars" Greatest Hits.”

The Massed Bands then closed Festival I with an impressive, remarkable performance of the Highlander’s theme song, “Scotland the Brave,” which they played for the very first time together that evening.

Festival II began in the high school auditorium, featuring the high school Indoor Color Guard performing their 2018 routine to the “Mission Impossible Theme,” and the Join In Color Guard showcasing their routine, “Call Me Maybe.”

The Vocal Arts portion of the festival then began with the West Milford High School Combined Choirs harmoniously singing, “You will be Found from Dear Evan Hansen” and “Let Everything That Hath Breath.”

The Macopin Select Chorus and Join in Chorus melodiously performed “One Call Away,” “Count the Stars,” and “Another Day of Sun from La La Land.”

The All District Elementary Chorus kept the beautiful melodies coming with “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” “This Ol’ Man,” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”

The Grand Finale of Festival II was a beautiful and powerful performance of “Let There Be Peace” by the Massed Choirs.

Festival III encompassed the “cream of the crop” of the West Milford School District’s Music Arts programs each school level’s “advanced bands.”

The Elementary Advanced Band, the majority comprised of select 6th grade band students from each of the district’s six elementary schools, showed their increasing instrumental talents proficiently with “Adrenaline Rush,” “Appalachian Folk Dance” and “Cowbell Rock.”

The Macopin 8th Grade Band amused and entertained the audience with “Can’t Stop The Feeling” and “80’s Soundtrax,” complete with 1980s themed florescent-colored fedora-style hats.

The Highlander Wind Ensemble, recently selected to perform an instructional clinic at the NJfME Music Educator’s Conference, and fresh from their featured performances at Walt-Disney World Parks in Orlando, Florida over spring break, along with the Highlander Symphonic Band, WMHS Jazz Ensemble, WMHS Color Guard, and the WMHS Combined Chorus, gave an outstanding performance of “Olympic Fanfare.” The perfect, skillful, and exciting execution of their next, more difficult selection, “William Tell Overture” brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation upon its conclusion.

The Grand Finale of Festival III was an encore performance of the Highlander’s theme song, “Scotland the Brave” by this group of Massed Bands.

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