Hundreds of musically talented students from the East Meadow School District took center stage at LIU Post’s Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on March 9 for the district’s annual music festival.
The districtwide festival captivated an audience of friends, family, faculty and administrators. The event featured performances by students districtwide, from the combined All-District Chamber Orchestra — each consisting of students from W.T. Clarke and East Meadow high schools, the combined All-District Middle School Chamber Orchestra, and the All-District Elementary School Advanced Orchestra made up of young musicians from the district’s five elementary schools.
The East Meadow High School Chamber Orchestra opened with an exciting performance featuring students from both high school’s chamber ensembles, under the direction of Major Silas Nathaniel Huff. Major Huff is the director of orchestras at Washburn University in Kansas, music director of the Topeka Youth Orchestra, and Commander & Conductor of the part-time 562nd Air Force Band (Air Guard Band of the West Coast).
The All-District Middle School Orchestra followed with selections by composers including Peter Tchaikovsky and Elliot Del Borgo. The All-District Middle School Orchestra, comprised of Woodland and W.T. Clarke middle school students, provided a dynamic performance of their own under the direction of Tanatchaya Chanphanitpornkit, a double bassist from Trat, Thailand and a conductor who is focused on inspiring and educating young musicians. Ms. Chanphanitpornkit currently holds positions teaching orchestra at the Nyack Public Schools and Teachers College Community School. Her teaching positions in higher education include faculty positions at William Paterson University and Teachers College, Columbia University.
The All-District Elementary School Advanced Orchestra closed the program with a riveting performance of “Instinct” by composer Brian Balmages, including string students from Barnum Woods, George McVey, Bowling Green, Meadowbrook and Parkway elementary schools. The crowd was brought to their feet with a Grand Finale that included all students. The elementary advanced orchestra performed under the baton of Teresa Cheung, who began her career as resident conductor of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, where she was also conductor of the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Evansville Philharmonic Chorus. Among her many artistic initiatives, she led the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra on its first international concert tour to Japan in 2002. Subsequently, she served as resident conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and Assistant Conductor for the Bard Music Festival and SummerScape.
The district commends these musically talented students for their hard work, diligence and collaboration.