Three students from Hall High School in West Hartford have secured positions with the NAfME National Honors Sets.
By Ronni Newton
The high quality of West Hartford Public School music programs is hardly a secret, and students regularly receive high-level recognition for their abilities, but the achievement level of three Hall High School students this year is extraordinary.
Through a rigorous and lengthy audition process, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) annually selects several hundred talented high school students from across the country for its National Honor Groups.
Three of the 542 students selected for the 2020 All-National Honors Ensembles are from West Hartford’s Hall High School. Two Hall students, Amelia Caruk and Amruth Niranjan, have been nominated to the All-National Concert Band, and they are among only four from Connecticut who were selected to participate.
Isabelle Anis is one of only two Connecticut students selected for the All National Symphony Orchestra this year.
âSelected to perform in the 2020 All-National Honor Ensembles, 542 of America’s most talented high school musicians. With the help of their teachers and music directors, these exceptional students have prepared stimulating music which they will perform under the direction of eminent conductors at this annual event, âthe event program reads. of this year, which took place virtually.
âI have been playing the violin since I was 4 years old. It’s a big part of my life, âsaid Anis, a junior at Hall.
Anis participates in the I Giovani Solisti program honors West Hartford Public School Chamber Orchestras and has also participated in music programs in Germany. In order to earn its place in the National Symphony Orchestra, it first had to gain regional and then national recognition.
Caruk, a junior at Hall, started playing the French horn in fourth grade, when students at West Hartford Primary School are invited to participate in the instrumental music program. It was an instrument she already knew.
âMy dad plays the French horn,â she said, and that was really the only option her music teacher at Bugbee Elementary School let her consider. âI loved it since I was little. I loved the sound, but being stubborn I didn’t say it [my dad]. “
Finally, around eighth grade, she admitted to her father – who plays professionally and also works as a lab technician – how much she loved the French horn.
Niranjan, now a senior, started playing trombone in grade four at Norfeldt Elementary School.
âI just thought it was a cool mix of playing low and sounding like a trumpet,â he said of how he chose the instrument.
Although Niranjan is part of the All-National Concert Band, his favorite genre is jazz, and he participates in Hall’s Pops’ n Jazz, which will be recorded for YouTube this year rather than performed live.
Due to COVID-19, the entire NAfME program has gone virtual – the audition part as well as the celebration. Rather that the members of the 2020 ensembles could come together for an in-person performance in March 2021, they recorded their parts individually and an online recording was released.
While the NAfME program includes performances by musicians, but with full educational opportunities, it is more than just a showcase.
Caruk said that despite being virtual, the experience of being in the All-National Concert Band was extremely rewarding, and she really enjoyed the master classes and workshops. This year’s program was supposed to take place in Palm Springs, and she hopes to have an opportunity in person next year when the program takes place in San Diego.
The three students plan to continue their musical studies in the future.
As a junior, Anis has yet to choose a college but said she plans to double major in chemistry and music.
âI really want to see how far I can go with the music,â Caruk said. She plans to apply to music schools next year and hopes to make it her career.
Niranjan said he plans to study math and physics at university, but really wants music to be a part of his life.
Each national ensemble’s performances were posted earlier this month and can be watched below on YouTube. The full program book is available here.
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