by Jennifer Champeau
Eighth graders Sam Maston and Kailyn Vaillancourt played in the wind ensemble with some of the best musicians in the state at the Central Mass Junior District Music Festival on April 30 at Leominster High School.
To perform with this band they had to audition for one of the four ensembles available: the wind ensemble, the orchestra, the jazz band, and the chorus.
They performed and practiced the songs “La Madre de los Gatos,” “Salvation is Created,” “Silverquill,” and “The Fate of the Gods.”
They have both been playing their instruments for five years, Maston on the clarinet and Vaillancourt on the flute. They both share a passion for music, so they enjoyed going to long practices to prepare for the festival.
The practices were four hours long. Even though the practices were lengthy, “they were worth it because at the concert, we sounded fantastic, and everyone was together,” Maston said.
Even with all of their practice, their nerves were still running high the day of the performance, and they did not go away until they picked up their instruments.
“The conductor was talking, and I was a bit nervous. Two clarinetists were speaking in low voices to my left. The conductor finished what he was saying and then turned around and raised his hands. He looked at me for a moment. Then he signaled for everyone to raise their instruments. When the downbeat came, I knew we were gonna be the ones that people talked about after the concert. And I was not wrong,” Maston said.
The experience they gained at the festival was unforgettable because of the friends they made and the music they played, and it is something that will stick with them for a while.
“The best part of the festival was learning music and how music can be shaped and performed,” Vaillancourt said.
After their positive experience at the Junior Districts this year, they both plan to try out for the Senior Districts next year.