Eastern Region High School Festival

Eastern Region HS Virtual Festival Sessions

The Region Director will email the links to these virtual sessions to participating directors to share with their students.

Payment to CMEA is $10 per student, one school issued check or purchase order. These events are open to any student who completed an audition for the high school region festival. Teachers may use the region audition invoice to mail in with payment, cross off any name that is not participating and adjust the total.

Mixed Choir Noah Fields and Brian Stevenson, ensemble chairs

Dr. Matt Travis, Midland Center for the Arts, Michigan

Time: January 9th, 10-11:30

The virtual activity where he will guide students through critical listening activities to develop students’ skills to look deeper into the music we listen to and perform. Music is often used to convey emotion, but how is it that composers are able to evoke specific emotions through the music they create? During these guided listening activities, we will delve into the questions and answer that composer present to us in their music. Dr. Travis will also host a Q&A at the end of the session for all the students. Join us for a deeper understanding of the music we listen to and perform.

Treble Choir Dr. Ethan Nash, ensemble chair

Rachel Feldman, Visiting Director of Choirs at Connecticut College and Mt. Holyoke

Time: Saturday January 9th, 10:00-12:00

The workshop will include some focus on vocal technique, learning a new piece (theoretically one that singers could perform at their own high school in some cases) as well as some opportunities to meet new people and other surprises.  The workshop will be on Saturday, January 9th from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon.

Band Jessica Wolf and Bethany Dauphinais, ensemble chairs

Kelly Watkins, Eastern CT State University, Director of Bands

Time: January 9th, 10:00-11:30

This year’s ERHS Band Workshop will be held on Zoom on January 9th under the direction of conductor Kelly Watkins. Conductor and trumpet player Kelly Watkins currently serves as a member of the United States Coast Guard Band and is on faculty at Eastern Connecticut State University where she directs the Eastern Concert Band. The session will be 90 minutes long and students will have the opportunity to learn “Rocketship” by Kevin Day – a fantastic piece of music! See the link below for a recording of the piece. Students will work together to explore the musical ideas, stylistic elements, and performance skills that are needed for a successful performance of this piece, although a performance will not be possible at this time due to social distancing requirements. In addition, this session will include some general practice strategies/warmups and a Q&A on being a professional musician. We are excited about this opportunity to bring together so many talented musicians from around the Eastern Region and hope you will join us for this year’s festival!

“Rocketship” by Kevin Day

Orchestra Dr. Nola Campbell and Susan Kohanski, ensemble chairs

Nadya Potemkina, Music Director and Conductor of Wesleyan University Orchestra and Concert Choir

Time: January 9th, 11:00-12:30

“The First Rehearsal: a holistic approach to score study and part preparation for an orchestral musician.

Most of the work on preparing a part for the rehearsal process and ultimately the performance is done long before the ensemble first comes together and breathes life into the opening measures of a piece. The information we gather about the socio-economic situation and cultural trends of the place and the time period when the piece was written, about the composer’s life, character, and work ethics, their country of origin, their artistic philosophy and style – all the details, no matter how small and insignificant, will determine the attack of the first note we produce, the shape of the first phrase, as we begin pulling the piece together as an ensemble. Examining a piece of music in context of all the elements that informed the process of its creation helps us not only shape an engaging interpretation of the composition, but also makes our work on technical aspects of performance more meaningful and fulfilling. Imagine you get a call from the Hartford Symphony’s personnel manager, who invites you to play Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 with them, in four weeks’ time. After you run a couple of laps around the block screaming in excitement, what do you do next? This workshop will begin with a quick review of Beethoven’s compositional style and will provide brief outlines of his nine symphonies. We will then take a closer look at Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and come up with a strategy that will help us prepare for our first rehearsal of the piece with the Hartford Symphony. In four weeks, remember?

Jazz Band Austin Schmidt, ensemble chair

Dr. James Greene, Western Connecticut State University, Co-Coordinator of Jazz Studies

Time: January 9th 10:30 am -12:00 pm

The importance of rhythm: how to swing, the historical significance of rhythm in jazz and applications of strong rhythm to effective soloing and playing in general.

2020-21 Audition Information

Auditions for the 2020-21 school year will be held virtually only  through the new CTFest Audition platform which has an opening date for teacher registration of October 15.

The school association fee must be paid, school association form received and individual teacher memberships current in order to register students for auditions.

There will be no in-person festivals this year, however festival ensembles will still be selected through this audition and teachers will be notified of their students selection to the festival’s “paper ensemble”. As it is during a normal year, the HS students who are selected for their region festival “paper”ensemble will then be eligible to audition at the All-State level.

Registration Closes: November 11, 2020 **   Last Day to upload videos: November 21, 2020

**Late registrations will not be accepted under any circumstance. Audition registration closes Nov 11, but teachers may continue to upload videos past that date for registered students until Nov 21.

Audition Fee: $15 (Due 11/20/20)

Festival Information:
Jan 8-9, 2021 (snow dates 1/15-16)
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269

Festival Acceptance by November 24, 2020

Festival Fee $25 (Postmarked by 12/11/20)
Concert Ticket $10 (Concert at 2 pm)

HARP Auditions: All MS and HS harp region auditions will take place together on one day at the Southern Region HS Auditions, on November 21 at Joseph A. Foran High School, Milford. Teachers should register harp students in their own regions as they do all other students. MS teachers please note that MS harp students must be registered on CTFest by October 23, in order to create the SRHS schedule.

Committee Members

Eastern Region Director

Megan Kirwin

Audition Site Host

Keith Berry

HS Audition Scheduler

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Festival Co-Chair

Hannah Cole

Festival Co-Chair

Haley Schmidt

Treble Choir Chair

Ethan Nash

Mixed Chorus Co-Chair

Brian Stevenson

Mixed Chorus Co-Chair

Noah Fields

Jazz Chair

Austin Schmidt

Band Co-Chair

Bethany Dauphinais

Band Co-Chair

Jessica Wolf

Treble Chorus Co-Chair

Christopher Dollar

Orchestra Co-Chair

Susan Kohanski

Orchestra Co-Chair

Nola Campbell


Concert Band

Kelly Watkins


Nadezda Potemkina

Mixed Chorus

David Belles

Treble Chorus

Christine Noel

Jazz Ensemble

James Greene Jr.

Teacher’s Guide to CTFest Videos

CMEA Copyright Policy

CMEA expects all students participating in the audition process to abide by all copyright laws. Students must have an original piece of music, a digitally purchased copy w/receipt, a public domain copy, or perform from memory. With the exception of students performing from memory, students auditioning without an acceptable copy of music may be disqualified from festival participation.