If evidence of New England resilience is required, look no further than the New Hampshire Music Educator's Association (NHMEA). When NEMO covered the Northeast with a blanket of white, the Festival had to be canceled because transportation and cafeteria services could not be guaranteed for the 100 plus students who were involved. Some clinicians even flew to New Hampshire despite the weather, only to turn around and head home after the runways were cleared.
Fortunately, the disappointment lasted only a few short weeks as an abbreviated version was held at Pinkerton Academy this past week on Thursday and Friday. Most everyone was able to attend; only about 8 students and one clinician and another accompanist had other plans which could not be rearranged. Normally the students have three days to work with the clinicians before the final performances, but intense rehearsals ensued on Thursday evening and all day Friday to culminate in a successful concert Friday night.
Due to the circumstances, I was asked to substitute for the Honors Jazz Choir accompanist, an honor which I readily accepted. The director, Brent LaCasce, put us through our paces as we learned five new arrangements by Jennifer Barnes of North Texas State U., including one which has not yet been published.
I have nothing but praise for the qualifying students, who put forth 100% effort for the two day event, including one young lady from Berlin who sang despite not feeling well. The arrangements challenged me, but with the assistance of two young instrumentalists on bass and drums, we collectively sparkled at the performance!