Darien High School Students Perform in All-Eastern Honors Ensembles


Darien's All-Eastern MUsic Students L-R: Alison Lui, Melanie Turner, Mitch Losito and Monet Takeda.

Darien’s All-Eastern Music students L-R: Alison Lui, Melanie Turner, Mitch Losito and Monet Takeda.

The Music Department of the Darien Public Schools is proud to announce that four Darien High School students were selected to perform in the National Association of Music Educators  All-Eastern Division Honors Ensembles and programs. Mitch Losito (chorus) Melanie Turner (chorus) Monet Takeda (orchestra) and Alison Lui (music composition) were selected as part of a small number of students from the state to represent Connecticut at the Eastern Division Music Conference held in Providence, RI  on April 9-11.  The Darien students join other top music students from throughout the Eastern United States to form Honors Ensembles that were conducted by nationally recognized conductors.  Alison Lui’s original composition entitled Piano Trio No. 1 (Wrath) for piano, violin and cello was chosen to be performed at the conference from several hundred submissions. Darien Public Schools Director of Music, Richard Sadlon states, “This is one of the highest achievements that can be awarded to high school musicians, and we are very fortunate and proud to have four students from Darien participate in these national level ensembles and composition programs.”


Pictured from L-R:

Alison Lui, Melanie Turner, Mitch Losito, Monet Takeda

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Darien String Students Perform at Honors Festival

Fairfield County String Festival 2015

On March 27-28 the Fairfield County String Teachers Association sponsored their 41th annual String Festival featuring the most outstanding string students in grades six through nine from throughout Fairfield County.  Based on teacher recommendations and competitive auditions, Elizabeth Garijo-Garde, Emily Grandon, Anna Gill, Siddhant Parwal, John Phipps, Kasey Mazzone, Catherine O’Connor, Julia Tong, Tal Lindsey and Alexander Williams were chosen to represent Darien at this year’s honors festival. This year’s festival was dedicated to legendary string teachers and founder of the Fairfield County String Teacher’s Association, Bob Genualdi. The event was hosted by Western Connecticut State University and students and educators from eighteen Fairfield County school districts were represented at the festival.

Pictured Front row L-R: Elizabeth Garijo-Garde, Emily Grandon, Anna Gill

Back row L-R: Siddhant Parwal, John Phipps, Kasey Mazzone,  Catherine O’Connor

Not pictured: Julia Tong, Tal Lindsey and Alexander Williams

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WRMS Band 2015MMS W Region Chorus 2015


The Music Department of the Darien Public Schools is proud to announce that  Band, Chorus and Jazz Ensemble students from Middlesex Middle School were chosen to participate in the 2013 Connecticut Western Region Music Festival. The students were chosen to perform in the festival based on their competitive audition scores and recommendations and they earned the privilege of performing in honors ensembles with some of the best middle school musicians in Western Connecticut conducted by renowned conductors and educators. The festival is sponsored by the Connecticut Music Educators Association and took place at the new Western Connecticut State University Fine Arts Building on March 21.

Band Students:

Front row.   Evan Tong,  Doug Werner, Amanda Loura. Second Row Jacob Won, Audrey Hagen, Cecelia Mundt, 3rd row-Jack Armstrong

Chorus Students:

L-R: Megan Cunningham, Amina Mobarik,  Isabelle Hole, Grady Allen and Evelyn Sload

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The 15th Annual Darien Young Composers Concert

The Darien Young Composers Concert

The Music Department of the Darien Public Schools would like to announce the Fifteenth Annual Darien Young Composers Concert.  This special concert program will be held on Tuesday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. for students in grades K-5 and at 7:30 for students in grades 6-12. The concert will be held in the Darien High School auditorium and will feature the original compositions of over 45 student composers in the Darien Public Schools from the Elementary, Middle School and High School levels. The young composers will participate in a pre-concert presentation with professional jazz pianist and composer  Chris Coogan before the performance to discuss music composition, a career as a musical artist and the creative process. Mr. Coogan will also provide written feedback to all of the student composers about their music.

Guest composer Chris Coogan has lead his jazz quartet for over 10 years and released his first album, “S’Funky” in 1995. It features the song Cranberry Isle, which took the top jazz prize in the 1997 John  Lennon Songwriting Competition. Coogan’s credits as a jazz musician include performing with, Sal Salvador, Bette Midler, Larry Coryell, Dave Liebman, Harold Danko and Phoebe Snow as well as arranging for producer Teo Macero. Chris Coogan has also had a successful career as a choral director, as well as a writer and arranger of gospel music. He founded the Good News Gospel Choir in 1993,  has released two albums with the ensemble and performs frequently throughout the state.

There is no charge for admission to this event and the public is encouraged to attend and enjoy the creative talents of our Darien Young Composers.

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DHS Hosts 2015 Jazz Jamboree Festival!!


The Darien HS Jazz Ensemble will host their second Jazz Jamboree festival on Friday, March 6

The Darien HS Jazz Ensemble will host their second Jazz Jamboree festival on Friday, March 6


Darien High School proudly announces its second annual Jazz Jamboree Festival taking place this Friday, March 6 at the DHS auditorium.  High-performing student-musicians representing area schools will compete in performances from 3:30 through 9:00 p.m.  Professional jazz musicians John Mastroianni, saxophonist, and Joyce DiCamillo, pianist, will adjudicate and award honors.  The event promises high-quality entertainment for a modest $5 per person admission; the public is encouraged to attend for all or some of the performances.

3:30 – Greenwich II 3:55 – Weston 4:20 – Greenwich 4:45 – Ridgefield 5:10 – Staples 5:35 – Brien McMahon 6:00 – Dinner for judges and directors 6:45 – Bethel 7:10 – Fairfield Warde 7:35 – Newtown 8:00 – Wilton 8:25 – Darien 8:40 – Awards

The award-winning Darien High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jonathan Grauer, has been selected from a state-wide pool of competitors to perform as “Honors Ensemble” at the upcoming Connecticut  Music Educators Association Annual conference at the Connecticut Convention Center on Thursday, April 30. The DHS Jazz Ensemble recently won 6th place nationally in their size class at the Berklee Jazz Festival, the largest high school jazz festival in the country.  It consistently places among top bands and has received numerous other awards including Outstanding soloists at the Berklee Jazz festival; 1st place at the Virginia Beach Music Festival; 1st Place at the Norwalk Jazz Festival; 3rd place at the Wilton Jazz Symposium and will soon be performing at the Greenwich Jazz Festival. They will perform by invitation at DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida, in April.  Donations to support the jazz program can be sent to Ginny Losito, c/o DHS Music Department, 80 High School Lane, Darien, CT 06820


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Darien High School Hosts the Chanticleer Youth Choral Festival!!

The Grammy Award winning Chanticleer vocal ensemble will be performing as part of the Chanticleer Youth Choral Festival at DHS on March 4 at 7:30 p.m.

The Grammy Award winning Chanticleer vocal ensemble will be performing as part of the Chanticleer Youth Choral Festival at DHS on March 4 at 7:30 p.m.

The DHS choirs invite you to join us this Wednesday evening, March 4, for our 8th and final Chanticleer Youth Choral Festival.  Choirs from Avon HS, Foran HS, Greenwich HS, and Trumbull High School join host Darien High School for an evening of outstanding choral music featuring the multiple Grammy Award-winning men’s choir Chanticleer!  The concert is free and open to the public – freewill donations are gratefully accepted.  Doors open at 7:00 PM for the 7:30 concert.  Don’t miss your chance to hear what the New York Times has deemed “dazzling” and “extraordinary” in one of their final area performances!



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The Darien All-Town Band Festival 2015!!

The Music Department of the Darien Public Schools will be presenting an All-Town Band Festival on Thursday, February 26 with seatings at 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in the Darien High School gymnasium.  This event will feature the talents of approximately 500 Band students representing each of the five Elementary Schools, MiddlesexMiddle School and DarienHigh School. Each band will perform separately and will then   join together to perform a finale of music from the movie “The Incredibles” arranged by DHS senior band member Mitch Losito. There is no charge for admission, but a ticket will be required.  Tickets are limited and are available for this event from all school band directors or by calling the District Music Office at: 655-3981 extension 2250. (The snow date for this event will be Friday, February 27.)

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Rock Violinist Mark Wood is Coming to Darien High School!!!

Rock Violinist Mark Wood will be performing at Darien HS on Saturday, Feb. 28.

Rock Violinist Mark Wood will be performing at Darien HS on Saturday, Feb. 28

Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Darien High School Auditorium

 Internationally-renowned electric violinist MARK WOOD, formally of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and LAURA KAYE will be performing at Darien High School on Saturday, February 28!  The DHS Orchestras and Choirs and the MMS 8th Grade Strings will be joining Mark and Laura on stage for this unique performance of classic rock favorites—Stairway to Heaven, Eleanor Rigby, Carry On My Wayward Son and more!  A promo video is available on YouTube: click here.

Tickets are just $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12.  At the door, the price goes up to $20 so it’s important to get your tickets in advance.  Tickets are available from orchestra members or at Barrett Book Store or at Giuliano’s Music Center, 351 Post Road  in Darien.

Please contact Jane Minnis (655-3981, ext. 2287) or Chris Andrade (655-3981, ext. 2201) at Darien High School if you have any questions.

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Helpful Suggestions for Encouraging Students to Become Young Composers

Past groups of Darien Young Composers get the opportunity to meet with a professional composer.

Past groups of Darien Young Composers get the opportunity to meet with a professional composer.

As we notify students about our upcoming Darien Young Composers Concert opportunity, here are a couple suggestions that might be helpful in encouraging our music students to become involved in the creative process of making and presenting their own original music.

  1.  Speak positively about the opportunity and experience and how great t would be to actually create and perform some original musical ideas.
  2. Have students collaborate with their friends. This keeps them on track and adds a social element to the process.
  3. Inform a student’s private music lesson teacher about the opportunity and have them work it into their weekly music lesson.
  4. Have students start with a small, short musical idea and then develop it over time. This can begin with a catchy phrase, an idea, a life event, or a saying or rhythm that will eventually be the basis for their original music.
  5. Students can get ideas by listening to songs and musical compositions by professionals and then imitating their style, form and overall presentation. Many great composers and musicians have “borrowed” ideas from other great composers. It is almost an expectation to build on the work of others.
  6. Give students space and time to think creatively and complete the task. We all have different “triggers” that may inspire us to be more creative. Some of us need a more structured methodical approach and some of us are more motivated to create when the “muse” strikes. In any event, being aware of a deadline for completion and submission always seems to be somewhat of a motivator.
  7. If students have an idea for a song, but are not sure what to do with it, they can always ask one of their music teachers for guidance, advice and direction.

Our Darien Young Composers Concerts have always been positive, successful and somewhat amazing events where we can hear the musical ideas of our young people. Our 2015 program will be held on Tuesday, April 7th at Darien High School. Submissions to the music teachers are due by Friday, March 6. Information and forms are available from Music Teachers or the Music Department website at: http://blogs.darienps.org/music/


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Darien Jazz Ensembles Present An Evening of Sweet Jazz!!

The Darien High School and Middlesex Middle School Jazz Ensembles will be presenting their annual “Sweet Night of Jazz” fundraising performance event at St. John’s Blanchard Hall located at 1986  Post Road, on Thursday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m.  Also featured on this program and starting out the evening will be our new grade 5-6 Jazz Lab.  All proceeds will go toward funding band and jazz ensemble student activities.  Come out and enjoy an assortment of delicious desserts, coffee, beverages, and some exciting jazz performances.

Admission for adults is $15 and $10 for students and seniors. Reservations are due by Friday, January 23rd. Please make checks out to DHS Band and return to Ginny Losito (61 Hollow Tree Ridge Rd). You will receive confirmation by email. No tickets will be issued, but a reservation list will be maintained at the door.

Thank you for your support of our Jazz students!!

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