Students participate at MMEA Central District Concert


Submitted Amy Collins

This year, 15 Algonquin musicians performed in the Massachusetts Music Educators Association Senior Central District concert festival.

Macey Poitras-Cote and Brianna Tang

This year, 15 musicians from Algonquin were accepted to perform in the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) Central District concert festival. Auditions took place on Saturday Nov.16, and those who were accepted performed at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on Saturday Jan. 18. 


The MMEA Central District consists of two different bands, jazz band and concert band. This year, four Algonquin concert band members and one jazz band member participated in the District concert. 

Freshman Cam Jackson, sophomore Anastasia Gaskamp, junior Anna Roumiantsev and senior Ayah Basmeh were the four concert band members.

Roumianstev has auditioned as a clarinet player for the past three years, and this is her second time being accepted. 

“I had to learn two full etudes [short musical exercises] which were released the summer before,” Roumiantsev said. “I practiced for a few months until the audition.” 

The concert band played four pieces, Fanfare to ‘The Hammer’” by Anthony O’Toole, “Oasis” by Patrick J. Burns, “Festive Overture” by Shostakovitch, and “Blaze Away Concert March” by Abe Holzmann.

“I liked how the conductor picked two modern pieces and two older pieces,” Roumiantsev said. “It was a variety and different from what we usually do.” 

Junior Scott Alberti was the only member from Algonquin playing in the jazz band. Sophomore Andrew Lee was accepted but unable to attend due to a math competition.

Alberti has been playing trombone for over four years and is also a self-taught pianist and french horn player. He has been playing trombone in the MMEA Central District jazz band for the past three years. 

“Freshman year I was fourth trombone then sophomore year I jumped all the way up to first trombone,”Alberti said. “Unfortunately I didn’t do so hot this year and went back down to fourth trombone.”

The jazz band usually consists of 18 people, but this year there were around 20. 

“Districts is one of the most fun experiences in school and out of school for me,”Alberti said. “You meet friends there and you get to know people, almost everyone is there for the music which is awesome” 


Three Algonquin Orchestra members, freshman Madeline Jiang and Gracie Sheng and sophomore Justin Wang participated in the MMEA Central District Orchestra concert. 

Jiang, Sheng and Wang have all participated in two years of junior districts which is for seventh and eighth graders. Additionally, Wang has had one year of experience for senior districts which is the high school program. 

The audition pieces were given to the Orchestra during the summer, and they had until November to practice. 

“I started [practicing] way before but it wasn’t a big focus or anything,” Wang said. “I continued [practicing] from the summer into November”

The rehearsal process consists of two after-school rehearsals followed by a dress rehearsal and concert all within one week. 

“Each rehearsal is between four to five hours, but they’re really fun,” Wang said. “The community is great and I have a lot of friends.” 

Wang has been playing violin for seven years and also plays the piano. He also received an all-state recommendation for this year’s all-state Orchestra auditions. Similarly, Jiang has been playing both violin and piano for nine years. Sheng has been playing Oboe since fifth grade and piano since she was seven.  

The orchestra performed three pieces: “Act III Prelude from Lohengrin” by Wagner, “Symphony No. 5, Mvmt. 2” by Tchaikovsky and “Slavonic Dance, Op. 46 No. 1” by Dvorak. 

“I think the performance went well and it sounded really good,” Sheng said. 


Six chorus students, sophomores Hannah O’Grady and sophomore Aimee Yu, juniors Miranda Singluff and junior Sravya Tanikella, seniors Matt Webster and Preston Green participated at the MMEA Central District Chorus competition.

These students were given a piece over the summer to practice and rehearse for their audition. They also practiced the piece in groups prior to the audition.

“[The piece] wasn’t English, so I went to [fine and performing arts teacher Kathrine] Waters for help, and we all went to her for help,” Yu said. “We also did sight singing with her, which was probably the hardest part.”

Sight singing is reading and performing music at first sight, without going over the music before. 

Coming together with other chorus singers from the district, they broke off into their vocal ranges: bass, baritone, tenor, alto and soprano. 

Some members noted that this year’s atmosphere was more welcoming and supportive than past years at Districts. 

“In this kind of environment, you all know you have something in common and you are all passionate about the same thing, so it is easy to talk to people, and everyone becomes family,” Tanikella said.

For the audition, each person sings the prepared piece, then they get about 16 measures of a piece they have not seen before to sight sing and lastly they have to sing different intervals of notes. 

“The toughest part is the unprompted piece,” Tanikella said. 

In the next stage, the singers go on to singing with the ensemble where they can audition for solos and other parts. This stage does not go towards their score for their all state recommendation.

“Basically, you get a rubric and you are graded on it [during your audition] and if you get a certain number of points you receive an All State recommendation,” Yu said.

Receiving an All State recommendation allows the participant to move onto the All State competition, where they will compete with high school vocalists around the state.

Four students from Algonquin received an All State recommendation: Green, O’Grady, Yu and Tanikella.