For the second year in a row, Harrison High School has been selected by the GRAMMY Foundation as a Grammy Signature Schools semifinalist. Applications from the Performing Arts Departments of more than 20,000 public high schools nationwide were evaluated and this year 123 schools from across the country have been awarded this distinction.
“Our district views exposure to an experience in fine and performing arts as an essential part of a student’s development,” said HCSD Superintendent Louis Wool. “To that end, we provide a rich and diversified arts experience for all of our students.”
Harrison High School Performing Arts students in band, chorus, and orchestra (along with a reinvigorated dance program) work harmoniously to create a complete concert experience twice a year. However, the individual disciplines often compose distinct performance opportunities outside of the District’s confines.
Last December, the Harrison High School Marching Band represented the State of New York at the 71st annual Pearl Harbor Day Parade in Honolulu, Hawaii and performed at the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Memorial ceremonies. The HHS Marching Band has represented Harrison consistently in the UBS Stamford Balloon parade and the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade as well as many local Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day parades.
“We are truly fortunate to be a part of a community that supports the arts,” said HHS vocal music teacher Lynn Fusco. “We are fortunate to have an administration in place that gives us everything we need in order to provide the students of Harrison unique performance opportunities throughout the entire year.”
The Chorus and Orchestra programs recently competed at the Heritage Music Festival in Boston where they received gold and silver accolades. Many members of the chorus also participate in Harrison High School’s musical theater program, a program that was recognized with a Metropolitan Theater Award for Outstanding Musical last year. Small ensemble performing opportunities such as the Renaissance Festival with the Madrigal Singers, and cabaret nights at local Westchester restaurants that merge vocal, instrumental, jazz, and orchestral elements together are highlights for students, faculty and community members alike.
The HHS students have also performed at unconventional spaces such as Rye’s Playland Amusement park. The Band, Chorus, and Orchestra will be travelling to Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida this April to perform at the numerous Disney parks and gain instruction through targeted workshops from the world renowned performers that make the Magic Kingdom a must-see destination.
It takes a village to raise a musician. Growth and nurturing at a young age has been a key element to the sustained expansion of the performing arts offerings in the Harrison Central School District. The orchestra program, now in its 9th year, is an example of a dedicated program first implemented in the elementary schools, fostered in the middle school, and nurtured through the four years of high school.
“By the time our performing arts students reach the high school level, they are more than capable of and willing to tackle complicated and richer pieces of music and genres,” said HHS Band director Charlie Briem. “Even in their freshman year, they are performing music and arrangements that are part of most college music department’s repertoire. Before a student realizes it, they have built a resume of music and performances that draw the attention of even the most prestigious college programs.”
This year’s Grammy awards will be handed out to the professionals on Sunday, January 26th, however, the Grammy Foundation will announce the finalists for the Grammy Signature Schools program in mid-March. Finalist schools will receive a custom award and a monetary grant ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 to benefit its school’s music program.
Might we see a Harrison High School graduate or faculty member receive a Gramophone Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science one day?