Throughout the month of March, during Music in Our Schools Month®, AHA’s talented vocalists and instrumental musicians share random acts of music in every corner of the building. Performances include everything from the expected to the unexpected, such as a serenade on the ukulele or gayageum.
Promoted by the National Association for Music Education, Music Our Schools Month® highlights the importance of a high-quality music education.
This annual event traces its roots to March 14, 1973, when a music celebration was held under the sponsorship of the New York State School Music Association. Over time, the event became a month-long observance.
At Holy Angels, the 2021 festivities began March 1, when the AHA Handbell Choir literally rang the opening bell at the Academy’s main entrance.
AHA Instrumental Music Director Mariann Annecchino led performers Caitlin Neville, LizelleBacolod, keyboard player Mariel Bacolod, Myra Bocage, and Gabriella Borges.
This year, MIOSM® programs mirror Holy Angels’ hybrid instructional model that integrates in-person and virtual learning experiences. Annecchino organized a MIOSM® that will feature in-person performances and virtual events.
“This year’s MIOSM® logo, ‘Music, the sound of my heart,’ serves as a reminder that, just as we all have hearts that beat and keep us alive, music can keep us alive and well emotionally during this stressful time,” Annecchino said. “Music has the power to free us in a very positive and constructive way. So, we continue to make our music and share it with our school community in the hope that, as we free ourselves through music, those who hear it are transported as well.”
Myra Bocage, AHA’s Student Musician of the Day for March 3, shared, "Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours."
Annecchino and AHA Choral Director Lisa Marciano encourage musically inclined Angels to join the interludes.
Students are also invited to develop their musical gifts through the AHA Vocal Ensemble (a select, a cappella group), the Academy Concert Choir, the Academy Orchestra, AHA Jazz Ensemble, and the AHA Handbell Choir.
Both educators have found effective ways to keep students connected through socially distant, COVID-safe practices that blend virtual and in-person performances. Musicians who cannot perform while wearing a protective mask use acrylic screens to prevent the spread of aerosols. Practice areas are disinfected before and after each session.
AHA’s hard-working musicians frequently rise to the top of regional, national, and international competitions. The Academy’s musicians have performed in Hong Kong, Germany, Korea, Hawaii, and at world-renowned New York City venues that include Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall.
Some students in AHA’s music program also participate in pre-college programs at institutions that include Juilliard, Berklee College of Music, and Manhattan School of Music. AHA vocalists have successfully auditioned for the International Honors Chorus that performed at Carnegie Hall and earned the distinction of becoming the only students from a Catholic high school to sing with the All-County Chorus (Bergen).
Recent news about AHA’s musicians includes:
- Soprano Juliana Dominguez was accepted to Berklee College of Music with a $15,000 annual scholarship. Dominguez has sung with the acclaimed Young People’s Chorus of New York City.
- Classical cellist Chelsie Lim is a National YoungArtsFoundation finalist, which is the highest honor offered by this organization. She is eligible to become a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.
- Violinists Nayoun “Blaire” Kim and Faith Youn both won recent competitions. Youn was recognized for her work with Vivo Trio. In October 2020, Kim performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major at The Philadelphia International Music Festival’s virtual master class.
- Youn and cellists Cecilia Yun and Anna Jang represented AHAat the 2020 NJ State Music Educators Association’s Honors Orchestra. Flutists Yewon Choi and Celine Hong played for the NJSMA Honors Intermediate Band and the All-State High School Honors Band, respectively.