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Friday, March 23 News

Three-group concert to sound tribute to American musical

"Musicals, Masters and Marches," a medley of classic American musicals, will feature the New Canaan High School Band and Jazz Ensemble with the Summer Theater of New Canaan in a special free concert Tuesday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the NCHS auditorium. A reception will follow.

Among the musicals to be highlighted are "Music Man," "Grease" and "Hairspray," which the Summer Theater of New Canaan will present as its season opener June 21.

The NCHS Jazz Ensemble also will perform selections from Duke Ellington, while the entire 50-piece band will open and close the show with renditions of iconic American marches by John Philip Sousa.

"We wanted to take our annual spring concert to a new level," NCHS Band Director Scott Cranston said. "Not only do we want to highlight our many talented students, but also team and pay tribute to one of our town's great assets, the Summer Theater of New Canaan."

Melody Libonati, artistic director of the STONC and the Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan, said, "We've had the pleasure of working with so many talented New Canaan High School students over the years, many of whom have moved on to professional careers in the theater and music industry. We are delighted to team with the NCHS band on this event, reunite with some of our former NCHS performers and showcase select members of our ensemble cast in this special concert."

Returning NCHS grads are Sharon Malane, Kate Bodenheimer and Christian Libonati.

Organizers are also working to coordinate transportation to and from the event through local agencies and volunteers.

"We've teamed with the New Canaan Getabout to provide transportation to and from the event for residents of the Schoolhouse Apartments and extended invitations to participants and members of the Lapham Community Center and Staying Put New Canaan," Cranston said.

The NCHS Band and Jazz Ensemble have performed by invitation at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and at the Jefferson Memorial. The band has won first-place trophies and Best Band Overall in the Music in the Parks competition in both 2012 and 2013.

Music in the Parks is a daylong or two-day festival for student choral, orchestra and band ensembles conducted annually across the United States.

"It's really exciting for our kids to win these awards, but it's even more meaningful when the local community can appreciate firsthand the hard work and dedication they've invested all year," Cranston said.

Many students in the band also perform in the NCHS drama productions and have been nominated as Best Student Orchestra by the Connecticut Musical Theater Awards in each of the past five years.

Members of the ensemble are also participants in many musical organizations outside of NCHS. Each year, many members earn acceptances into the Connecticut All-Western Region music ensembles, as well as Connecticut All-State. Several members have earned acceptance into the All-Eastern States Band, as well as the National Association for Music Education's All-National Band. Students also perform locally in the Norwalk Youth Symphony, Western Connecticut Youth Symphony, Stamford Young Artists' Jazz Ensemble and the Juilliard Pre-College program.