East Islip High School’s music department had a triumphant day on May 18 when they participated in the Music in the Parks Festival and Competition in Toms River, N.J. Five of East Islip’s performing groups were enrolled in the competitive AA categories and swept every division.
Representing East Islip High School, the honors choir took first place in the choral division, the wind ensemble earned first place in the band division, the string orchestra placed first in the string orchestra division, the jazz ensemble won first place in the jazz ensemble division and the honors symphony took first place in the full orchestra division. All were awarded Superior ratings. Additionally, the honors choir was awarded a trophy for Best Overall Choir, the wind ensemble won Best Overall Band and the honors symphony was honored as Best Overall Orchestra. East Islip’s honors symphony also received a score of 99 – the highest score of the festival.
Subsequent comments from the Music in the Parks judges – college professors and department chairs from Temple University in Philadelphia, the College of New Jersey, Georgian Court University and William Patterson University – reflected an extraordinary respect for the performance level of East Islip’s musicians. One said of the EI honors choir, “You transcend the sound of a typical high school choir.” Another praised the honors symphony, saying, “You are the role model of what public school music education should be!”
The weekend sweep at Music in the Parks is the latest in a long string of successful annual competitions for East Islip’s music department, which sends over 700 students to NYSSMA each year, yields significant representation at All-State, All-County and Long Island String Festival concerts, regularly earns multiple Teeny Award nominations for its annual musicals and serves as an incubator for student teachers from most New York music colleges.