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Musicians Shine and Soar at Seaford Middle School

More than half of all students at Seaford Middle School are involved in either an instrumental or a vocal ensemble, a source of pride for music teachers. March is designated as Music in Our Schools Month and it’s also a time of year when the musicians climb to new heights.

The middle school has five ensembles – sixth, seventh and eighth grade bands, a sixth grade chorus and a combined seventh and eighth grade chorus. Collectively, these total more than 300 students, and they showcase their talents in winter and spring concerts. Chorus students are under the direction of Amanda Ferguson, while Barbara Sherwin and Nick Coacci are the band conductors. 

Ms. Sherwin noted that the once the winter concerts wrap up in mid-December following about three months of rehearsal time, students begin learning music for the spring concerts in June. With five months to prepare, the extended time means teachers can give students more challenging pieces.

March, an uninterrupted month between the mid-winter and spring breaks, gives teachers the perfect opportunity to weave in new skills, Mr. Coacci explained. They introduce new rhythms and scales, and help students expand their range. The new concepts expand on their existing music knowledge.
“We’re trying to push the boundaries of where their skills are at in each grade level,” Ms. Sherwin said, noting that seventh and eighth graders had input on songs they will be playing in the spring concerts.
When students first get the music, Ms. Sherwin said some students always express concern about the complexity, but she and Mr. Coacci reassure them that there is plenty of time. Students learn the songs in pieces during band classes, as well as in small-group lessons, before eventually performing the full song. The patience and perseverance they demonstrate while learning the music, she added, are traits that will benefit them throughout life. 
Mr. Coacci added that the middle school’s music teachers have been using social media to highlight different sections of their ensembles throughout March.

“People see the concert, but no one knows what it takes to get there,” Mr. Coacci said. “We are peeling back the curtain and giving people a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get a concert off the ground.”
Date Added: 03/29/2023