• Transitioning Middle School Musicians to High School Venues in Annual Tradition

    February 4, 2022

    Over the past four years, Middle School music faculty Mr. Fred Diekmann, Mrs. Kim Lattanzio and Mrs. Karen Savage have helped their chorus, band, and orchestra students transition to High School by introducing them to the High School Music faculty and venues. The idea of this once-a-year tradition has been to give the younger musicians “a sneak peek,” Middle School Band Director Mrs. Lattanzio explained, “into all the High School Music Department has to offer.”

    Early in February—on three separate days designated for either band, orchestra or chorus—the Eighth-grade students boarded the bus for their scheduled “play date” as well as to meet their High School counterparts. Chaperoned by Middle School Chorus Director Fred Diekmann or Band Director Kim Lattanzio, the Eighth graders were introduced to the High School Music students and faculty—Band Director Kerri Van Boxel, Orchestra Director Ari Kramer, and Chorus Director Karen DiMartino.

    “The Eighth-grade musicians come to the High School around this time of year,” Mr. Kramer noted, “to not only become acclimated with us as teachers, but also the physical space. We perform for one another as well as combine the Eighth Grade with the ‘high schoolers’ to learn a piece together under one Director. This year, for social distancing purposes, we have split it up, based on band, orchestra, and chorus.

    The rehearsals were informative and entertaining for all involved. Although they were held on three separate days, the routine of each was the same. After the High School ensembles performed a piece from one of their previous concerts, the Eighth-grade ensembles also performed a piece from their winter concerts. “Then, the High School and Eighth graders,” Mrs. Lattanzio said, “intermingled and learned something new under the direction of the High School Music faculty member.” It has proven to be a golden opportunity for the younger set “to sit side-by-side” with the older, more experienced musicians.

    “Knowing that for many, the unknown can be the scariest aspect of moving forward,” Mr. Kramer added, “we try to eliminate that by showing the Eighth Graders exactly what they can expect. We also offer an opportunity where the students all gather together for a question-and-answer session.”

    Following the pizza-lunch breaks, the Eighth-grade students dialogued with the High School faculty and students about “all the additional musical opportunities offered next year. The High School students,” Mrs. Lattanzio shared, “also offered some individual experiences about their years in the High School Music program.”

    Both the Sayville Middle School and High School Music faculty agree: “It's a great experience….The Eighth graders love being able to meet some of the older musicians and have the opportunity to perform together as well as for one another,”  which is why the Music Department has made this an annual tradition.