Instrumentalists and vocalists from County Prep High School’s after-school music courses participated in an exciting, inaugural opportunity! Now in its second year running, the annual New Jersey State Solo and Ensemble Festival has expanded its submission categories to include modern band for the first time. Participating students receive scoring and commentary from expert adjudicators for the purposes of improving their performance and musicianship. The inclusion of a modern band category has opened the door to many of County Prep’s musicians who sing and play instruments such as keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, drum set in rock, pop, and hip-hop styles.
Students in both Introduction to Audio Technology and Introduction to Instrumental Music courses created original songs, which they then performed and recorded to video for submission. Adjudicator Warren Gramm reviewed the students’ submissions and provided detailed, insightful feedback comments commending the groups’ successes, and also pointing them towards further improvement.
Hip-hop/R&B song, “You & I”, was written and performed by vocalists Elizabeth Miceli-Keller and Bridget Benoit with rapper Adriel Herrera. Their singing and rapping was accompanied by keyboardists Rhome Del Rosario and Oscar De Leon (freshmen), guitarist Amber Vidal (sophomore), bassist Sophia Parreiras (sophomore), and drummer Villamor Jr. Zuniga (senior). The group was commended for its “atypical chord progression and contrasting sections”.
“Hesitate”, a pop ballad, was written and performed by vocalist Kassandra Trinidad (senior) alongside vocalist Tallulah Clark (senior), keyboardist Jancris Cada (freshman), guitarist Abhisekh Roka (sophomore), bassist Nia Perez (freshman), and drummer Jonas Meyer (sophomore). The song’s tune was so catchy, that Mr. Gramm even commented on it “getting stuck in [his] head”!
Junior, Emily Roda, sang and played guitar for her original folk song, “Home.” The feedback she received highlighted her intricate finger-picking and elegant falsetto.
The Music & Audio Technology staff are very proud of their students’ submissions, and look forward to future festivals and collaborations with Arts Ed NJ!