Philadelphia Heritage Festival

Hills Music Department at the Philadelphia Heritage Festival
Photo: Hills Music Department posing together with their awards.

The Pascack Hills Chamber Choir and Concert Band went to the City of Brotherly Love for the WorldStrides Philadelphia Heritage Festival from April 28 to April 30. Students had the opportunity to showcase their musical talents while also experiencing the rich culture, art, and history in Philadelphia. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, none of the current students in either band or choir had ever traveled overnight for performances, making this an exciting experience for everyone involved.

Hills Band Director Ryan Dore said, “This was the music department’s first trip post-Covid and it was great to travel and have the department perform in new venues for new audiences.”

Throughout the weekend, members of both ensembles performed for a panel of three nationally acclaimed adjudicators as well as participated in on-stage clinics. The Chamber Choir, under the direction of Margarita Elkin, performed “My Soul is a Witness” by Jay Althouse, “Child of Song” by Kim Andre Arnesen, and “Hela Rotan” arranged by Ken Steven. The Concert Band, under the direction of Ryan Dore, performed “At Morning’s First Light” by David Gillingham and “Choreography” by Robert Sheldon.

In addition to musical performances, students were able to experience all the heritage in Philadelphia. They visited the Reading Terminal Market, the National Constitution Center, the Franklin Institute, and Independence Hall. The Chamber Choir even had the opportunity to sing in one of the world’s largest, unsupported masonry domes at the Penn Museum. 

Hills sophomore Laila Collas, a member of the Concert Band, said, “The entire trip exposed me and my fellow bandmates to a lot of different and new experiences, whether it be the food from different stops here and there, or the numerous museums and shows we had the pleasure of learning from.”    

At the pinnacle of the trip, the awards ceremony, students put on their best attire and joined the hundreds of other participating musicians at the Crowne Plaza to celebrate their accomplishments. 

Hills senior Jake Levin, who is a member of the Chamber Choir, said, “As much fun as it was to perform in Philly–and it was so much fun–my favorite part of the weekend was the awards dinner. It was so cool to be around all these other music ensembles from schools from all over North America. There was a real sense of community; we are all here because this is what we love to do.”

The Concert Band was awarded a silver score and 2nd place for their category. The Chamber Choir was awarded a gold score and 1st place for their category, along with an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2024.

At the end of the trip, Elkin said, “I am extremely proud of my students, who demonstrated not just a high level of musicianship, but also a great deal of comradery towards each other. The traveling experience brought the group together, and I noticed how the friendship is getting stronger among the group. I also loved watching the band and choir students interact and support each other–it's simply priceless.”


Photo: Hills Music Department posing together with their awards.

Edit header links and footer links here
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.