Music Adjudication 2022

Kate Wiley, Staff Writer

On April 7, 2022, Notre Dame Prep welcomed some very prestigious visitors. Dr. Christopher Cicconi, the Director of Band and Orchestra Music at Towson University, Mr. Michael Semancik, the Visiting Director of Choral Activities at Goucher College, and Dr. Aneta Otreba, Cellist with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

These special guests were part of our music adjudication, an annual opportunity for these musical experts to listen to the hard work of our concert band, concert choir, and orchestra, as well as Mr. Dzbinski and Mrs. Bilenki, our very talented band and choir directors. They extended critiques of performances and even joined in to play and sing along at some points.

I am a part of the concert band, so I was fortunate enough to be present during Dr. Cicconi’s presentation. It was incredibly interesting to see him observe and take hundreds of mental notes as we played through our songs for the first time. I was shocked at how many miniscule details he remembered when we went back over the pieces. While he did focus in on small sections and instruments in the band, a huge takeaway from his teaching was that it is of utmost importance that the band is in sync with each other. Throughout our time with Dr. Cicconi, we learned to listen to each other and use our instruments to complement our peers, instead of simply focusing on playing the notes right. Even to the untrained ear, a huge difference is now noticeable in the way we play. We play as one band, rather than as a group of people playing the same song at the same time. I think we can all agree that it was nice to have a fresh outlook, someone who hadn’t heard our playing before, to pick out and suggest things we had not thought about before. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, though; we all know and love Mr. D, the best band director.

I heard only positive things from my friends in the concert choir and orchestra. Everyone loved hearing what the other director and cellist had to say, and they all learned a lot. Although this was my first music adjudication, I can bet that the juniors and seniors enjoyed being able to have this tradition once again. While COVID-19 may have put a pause on many of our favorite NDP traditions, I think I speak for everyone when I say we are relieved to finally be back to normal, especially since we got the chance for a day full of COVID-free fun at King’s Dominion.

The choir, concert band, orchestra, and jazz band recently celebrated the spring concert as well. Both went even better than expected, with great audience turnouts and better overall playing and singing due to the time and effort dedicated by our guests. We are so incredibly grateful to the talented directors and cellist for taking the time to listen and teach with a new perspective. I think it’s safe to say that this music adjudication will be one to remember.