If Derb is gushing, I must, as well

John Derbyshire is over at The Corner telling anyone who will listen that his kids did very, very well at the NYSSMA exams (New York State School Music Association).

It may sound like nothing, but in NY, a state that is very competitive musically, with so many talented kids, so many schools and a relatively small number of openings in statewide bands, orchestras and choruses (it’s a VERY big deal to be selected to participate in an “All State” group), when your kid does well at NYSSMA, it’s a happy day. NYSSMA judges are music educators with impeccable reputations, and they are not hand-holders. They’re there to give fair and just evaluations of your kid’s work, and the evaluations do land in their permanent records. So, if you have a kid who is seriously hoping to study music, like mine, it’s big. It’s very, very big.

Kids participate in NYSSMA at all age and skill levels, with Level 6 pieces being the most demanding.

Over the years, my elder son achieved outstanding scores in piano and guitar, and Buster has done excellently on the saxophone, and even better in his vocal efforts. Last year, he received a perfect score for his performance of Aaron Copeland’s “Ching-a-Ring Chaw,” a Level 4 piece.

Here comes the gush – you ready for it? This year Buster participated with two Level 6 pieces; one for saxophone and one for voice. He scored 93 out of 100 on the Saxophone (he always rushes the scales). And on voice, he performed Handel’s Si, tra i ceppi e le ritorte and recieved a perfect score of 100%!

Pretty thrilling, actually. The adjudicator had lovely remarks. If you’re not familiar with the piece, you can hear a snip of it, here. (It’s song #5).

Good for Derb’s kids! And good for Buster, and all the other kids in NY who work so hard to achieve excellence. It’s all good. :-)

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://trkallen.typepad.com/worship_naked tracey

    Anchoress — Ah, “Chim-a-ring.” I remember it well! I knew it as “Ching-a-ring Chaw,” but I suspect it’s the same oddly lovable piece. Kudos to Buster for such an amazing job this year! But … it’s Mother’s Day, A. Isn’t he supposed to be gushing about you? ;-)

  • MyssiAnn

    MyssiAnn stands and wildly applauds Buster!!!! That’s a tough piece of music.
    And, Tracey, the scholarship dollars that consistent scores like that will bring may be the best Mother’s Day gift the Anchoress could get; without them, educating children past high school is taking a four-year (or more) vow of poverty. ;)

  • Sal

    Congrats to your son!
    A number we’ve heard several times, in two years of choir proper and four years of orchestra/choir joint ventures.

    Aside: I was in Austin this weekend, where my youngest’s high school was competing in the State AAAAA One-Act Play competition. I was staying at the same motel as another high school in the same contest. I introduced myself to an elderly couple in the parking lot who were wearing the supporters’ buttons for that group. They had come all the way from New Mexico to see the plays. I asked if they had a grandchild in the cast or crew. “No,” they said, “our son is the director.”

    Moral: you never quit going to your kid’s stuff…

    (They won third place, BTW, with a very stylish production of “Into the Woods”.)

  • Frances

    Wow! Congrats, Buster and Mother Anchoress!

    As a graduate in voice from the SF Conservatory of Music, I am most impressed.

    Go pursue your dream, Buster, but get as much financial aid as you can. I’m working a day job typing so I can pay off school. Kinda quashes the ol’ music career if you catch my drift. Best not to incur too much debt. Smartest guys I ever saw at music school were able to gig AND do things like make mega bucks by programming, etc. Hope you have lots of tech skills to do a minor or double major. Money is sure nice to have, esp if you have a real voice. Think medical insurance. ;)

    So impressed! Congrats again! That is tough music, Mr. B.

    Frances in SF.

  • me2ewe

    Gooooooo Buster!!


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