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HHS students participate in All-Eastern music festival

by | May 1, 2019 | Education

A Hopkinton High School student credits one of his teachers not only for instilling in him a love and appreciation for music, but for helping him earn regional recognition for his talent.

Senior Andrew Keeley was one of two HHS students chosen to perform at the National Association for Music Education (NAFME) All-Eastern Festival held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh during the first weekend of April. Keeley was chosen to play trombone in the concert band while Abbey Kelley Lanser was selected as a treble in the chorus after a rigorous audition process that began with performing at the district and all-state festivals.

“It was a long process,” Keeley said. “There was a lot of paperwork involved.”

Keeley said that he was helped through the entire application process by HHS band director Craig Hay.

“He supported me and encouraged me and others to strive to make these festivals,” Keeley said. “I am so thankful to him.”

Keeley, who has been playing trombone since the fifth grade, has had Hay as his band director since freshman year.

“He is a great influence on me and the rest of the band,” Keeley said. “He knows one of the greatest gifts is music, and to be able to learn from others who have put in as much time and effort into music as you have was amazing.”

High school musicians from all over the Northeast (including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia) combined to make the 160-player honors band for the All-Eastern festival. The band members received their sheet music in the weeks leading up to the event, and once they all arrived they got right down to business practicing for the Sunday concert.

“It’s crazy how we can all show up never having played together before and in two to three days come out with a great performance,” Keeley said.

In between practice and the Sunday performance, the students had the chance to attend a Pittsburgh Symphony concert, a Navy Choral and Band concert and the Pennsylvania All-State and All-Eastern honors jazz ensemble concerts.

And although the Sunday concert was a great experience, Keeley said the highlight of the trip was the people he had the opportunity to meet.

“I have forged so many new friendships with high school musicians from outside of New England,” he said.

Along with voicing his appreciation of Hay, Keeley also credited the HHS administration, the Hopkinton Music Association and the Hopkinton PTA for financial assistance for the trip.

“Their generosity does not go unnoticed, and I am grateful for their support,” he said.

Keeley gives back to his band community by being involved in the district’s instrument donation program, which helps open up the world of music to students who might not otherwise been able to afford it.

“It’s sometimes a big struggle for families to start their kid in music,” he said. “They dread the cost of a musical instrument.”

But thanks to the instrument donation program, students can take advantage of borrowing a gently used instrument at no cost, and a donor can feel the satisfaction of knowing the instruments will go to good use.

To donate a gently used instrument, email Andrew Keeley at akeeley@hillers.org.

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