Two teenage boys and two teenage girls pose for photo

Congratulations to Chatham High School’s New York State School Music Association All-State musicians Amanda Roberts and Daniel Beneni, and alternates Claire Van Acker and Benjamin Halpin! 

Amanda (trumpet) was selected to perform with the Symphonic Band and Daniel (bass) with the Mixed Chorus in the 2021 All-State Music Festival, which will be held at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music December 2-5. Claire (alto 2) and Ben (flute) will have the opportunity to perform in the festival should an opening for their respective disciplines become available. 

All four students have been active in our music program since they were fourth graders at MED and have been regulars at NYSSMA’s All-County and Area All-State festivals. Now as seniors, they are representing Chatham at the highest levels.  

Auditions for All-State ensembles are highly competitive; of the thousands of students who auditioned across the state, just 500 were selected to participate. Amanda, Daniel, Claire and Ben put in countless hours of practice and recorded Level VI works (the highest level of difficulty) for their auditions, which were submitted in March as part of the 2021 NYSSMA Solo & Small Ensemble Festival and ranked at the top of their categories by NYSSMA’s judges. 

The All-State concerts are Saturday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. for Chorus and Jazz, and Sunday, December 5 at 10:00 a.m. for Symphonic Band and Orchestra, at the storied Eastman Theater in Rochester.  

That same weekend in Rochester, NYSSMA also hosts a conference that offers hundreds of professional development workshops and activities for music teachers from around the state. Chatham orchestra teacher Kate Jarrard and choral teacher Samantha McShane will be presenting a workshop at the conference about the Empathy Project that Chatham students undertook last year as a way to connect musically and emotionally with isolated members of their community during the pandemic. 

Congratulations again to (pictured left to right) Daniel, Ben, Amanda, and Claire, and to all of our Chatham Central School District music teachers who have encouraged and inspired them over the years!