Students from Riverhead, SWR selected for All-Eastern music ensemble

Students from both Shoreham-Wading River and Riverhead high schools will be performing in the prestigious National Association for Music Education All-Eastern Ensembles this spring.

Two students from Shoreham-Wading River and one student from Riverhead will have the opportunity to rehearse and perform with students from New England and other Northeastern states, Washington, D.C., and Europe. The All-Eastern rehearsals and performances will take place in April 2023 in Rochester.

The two seniors chosen for the honor from Shoreham-Wading River High School are Madison McQuade and Anja Minty.

“It’s very exciting to be someone from a very small school district from the middle of Long Island representing this small school in [front of] large regions of the country. It’s an honor,” Anja said.

Anja plays the violin and will be joining the orchestra. Madison, a singer, will be joining the choir. Anya has been playing the violin since she was 10. Madison got into singing at the same age, through theater, which she started at eight years old.

“I’m just really excited for the experience, and I think everyone’s going to have a really good time,” Madison said.

On their website, NAfME has a statement in which they explain their rigorous selection process.

“Selected to perform in the 2023 All-Eastern Honors Ensembles will be the most musically talented high school students in the Eastern Region of the United States,” the statement said. “With assistance from their music teachers and directors, these exceptional students will prepare challenging programs under the leadership of prominent conductors in this biennial event.” 

Ashley O’Connor, one of the duo’s music teachers, expressed how proud she is of these hardworking and talented students.

“This is a highly competitive ensemble and the fact that we have two students going from our small Long Island high school is incredibly impressive,” said Ms. O’Connor. “We’re just very excited for them and very proud.”

Dennis Creighton, Shoreham-Wading River High School’s music coordinator, emphasized how the support the students received helped them achieve this honor.

“These ladies are accepted into All-Eastern based on their achievement on their New York State School Music Association solos, so this is really a team effort in that it takes not just incredibly talented students but supportive parents and teachers both in school and in private lessons, who supported them and helped them along the way,” Mr. Creighton said.

Bryan Enos, a senior from Riverhead High School, was the only student from the district accepted into the prestigious ensemble.

He will be playing the bass trombone with the orchestra. Bryan started with the tenor trombone in fifth grade and transitioned to the bass trombone during his sophomore year in high school, he said.

Bryan said he has been preparing by putting in time and practicing hard.

“It’s a lot of hours of just practicing and being around great musicians and learning from them and trying to apply that to myself,” he said. 

Jason Rottkamp, the district’s director of fine arts, spoke to how hard Bryan has been working to achieve this honor.

“Bryan Enos has been working extremely hard these past few years,” Mr. Rottkamp said. “With endless support from his family and teachers, he has reached a level of achievement that is rarely met during the high school years. Congratulations to Bryan and everyone involved in his success!”

Bryan said he is grateful for the opportunity to represent the school and state with such a prestigious group of musicians.

“It really means a lot; I think it reflects the hard work I’ve put in and everything I’ve learned and it’s just a great opportunity to represent the town and New York,” he said.