Musicians Earn Accolades

Forty-nine Half Hollow Hills Central School District musicians have earned either county, state or national music honors this year.

All 49 students, who hail from either high school East and West, were chosen to participate in the 2017 NYSCAME All-County music festival. Fifteen of them were also selected to play at the NYSSMA All-State conference. Two other students, Hills West’s Noah Marcus and Hills East’s George Misthos, were chosen to perform in the NAfME All-National Honor Ensemble.

“We are so proud of these talented young musicians,” Dr. Darlene Lilla, director of fine arts at Half Hollow Hills, said. “It is an honor that Half Hollow Hills has been so well represented at the county, state and national level.”

Marcus and Misthos made the trip to the NAfME All-National Honor Ensemble held at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort Walt Disney World in Florida from Nov. 26-29. They were part of a group of top performing high school musicians from across the country.

Students chosen for All-County honors were High School East’s Deanna James Bunce, Haley Califano, Casey Chung, Daniel Connell, Andrew Dircks, Nicoletta Gasparis, Johnathan Goldblatt, Casey Goodman, Lauren Kornfeld, Stephanie Leibowitz, Salvatore Lupo, Joseph Malone, Tawnya Phipps, Anish Pisipati, Faith Quashie, Rachel Sacher, Alyssa Schmidt, Donna Zarrabi and Janna Zilkha; and High School West’s Jordan Chambers, Jessica Felber, Brigitte Gibbs, Jenna Greenberg, Ilana Grossman, William Jennings, Judy Kim, Ankit Nagpal, Isabella Negron, Joyce Pluviose, Tiffany Rhodes, Eric Stern and Gabriel Zornberg.

The students, who earned the honor by scoring among the top musicians in the county, performed at Hauppauge High School on Nov. 17.

Those who earned All-State honors were High School West’s Crystal Kang, Madison Leifer, Joyce Pluviose, Christine Seo and Andrew Sim; and High School East’s Francis Altamirano, Yaas Azmoudeh, Rinni Bhansali, Angela Bracco, Collin Cook, Connor Cook, Hannah Gerber, Marley Jacobson, Marco Tomassi and Michael Valdes.

Those students performed at NYSSMA’s 82nd annual conference, which was held in upstate Rochester from Nov. 30-Dec. 3.

High School East’s Andrew Dircks was also one of only 11 students in New York to be invited to perform in the prestigious NYSSMA All-State Piano Showcase.

“I would also like to thank these students’ teachers, from elementary to their current band, orchestra and chorus teachers, who have supported and inspired their musicianship,” Lilla said. “And of course, kudos to the parents who support our music program and their children’s love of music.”