North High School musicians take top spot in competition

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North Attleborough High School

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

The North Attleborough High School’s Select Choir, Concert Chorus, and Concert Band all won gold and silver in an annual statewide competition.

These achievements happened at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductor’s Association’s performance festival, held in early April. This event was suspended for two years due to the pandemic. NAHS Music Teacher Rob Couture spoke of the awards and what it means for the groups to perform in this competition.

What was the festival that the students took part in?

The Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductor’s Association (MICCA) hosts a performance festival for school music ensembles every spring. College music professors act as judges and score each group’s performance based on over a dozen technical and artistic criteria. Bronze, silver and gold medals are awarded to each group based on their performance. Gold medals are reserved for superior groups, who will then be invited to a prestigious concert in one of Massachusetts’ finest concert halls, Boston Symphony Hall or Mechanic’s Hall.

The North Attleborough High School’s Select Choir, Concert Chorus, and Concert Band all competed in this festival April 1-2, and came away with a gold medal (Concert Chorus) and two silver medals (Select Choir & Concert Band).

How did the students prepare for this, and was it their first in-person competition since COVID?

Students prepared for this competition with months of rehearsals, perfecting three songs to showcase. This competition was one of the first canceled events in the spring of 2020. The last time students participated in this event was 2019 (the seniors were freshmen).

What is the school’s past history with this festival?

The select choir has won three consecutive gold medals (2017, 2018, 2019, no festivals in 2020 and 2021), but this was the first year an unauditioned North Attleborough choir achieved the honor of a gold medal performance. The Concert Chorus is a group made from students who choose choir as a course during the school day, including students from grades 9-12. This group took a trip to Mechanic’s Hall in Worcester on April 10, which has amazing acoustics and is considered one of premiere performance venues in the country for acoustic music.

What was your reaction to the students winning these awards?

I always look forward to performing at the MICCA Choral Festival because it pushes me and my singers to do the absolute best we can as a team. Our Select Choir performed some very challenging music this semester, and they were only two points (out of 55) away from getting a gold medal too.

I knew when we were on the stage that the Concert Chorus was performing at their peak ability, and it was a spectacular feeling to experience many months of training and rehearsals aligning into such beautiful music. I’m incredibly proud of my singers—of how hard they’ve worked, how much they truly care about making art, how kind they’ve been to one another, and how difficult it’s been for singing these past two years with noisy air purifiers, masks, singing outside in the snow, recording individually to make music videos in lieu of concerts, having 50 students stay 10 ft apart in all directions, etc. It’s just good to make proper music again, and these singers haven’t missed a beat.

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