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Top musicians gather in Ticonderoga

All County Music Festival held

Anita Zhang of Ticonderoga rehearses during the All County Music Festival. The event was hosted by Ti High School and attracted more than 200 of the North Country’s top student performers.

Anita Zhang of Ticonderoga rehearses during the All County Music Festival. The event was hosted by Ti High School and attracted more than 200 of the North Country’s top student performers. Photo by Nancy Frasier.

— Top student performers from around the North Country gathered in Ticonderoga for the annual All County Music Festival Feb. 16.

About 230 musicians from 12 schools took part in a day of rehearsals before an evening concert for the public. The event included a mixed chorus, a women’s chorus, a concert band and a jazz band.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to be the host this year,” said Michael Iturrino, a Ticonderoga High School music teacher. “We try to give our kids every chance to excel at all levels of music and this is a wonderful chance to collaborate with students from other schools. It’s a chance to see how other schools do things and compare notes.”

Iturrino served as the All County co-chairman this season along with Jolene Harrigan, another Ti High music teacher.

Taking part in the concert were students from Ticonderoga, AuSable Valley, Elizabethtown-Lewis, Keene, Lake Placid, Long Lake, Moriah, Newcomb, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Westport and Willsboro.

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Ticonderoga All County musicians pose with music teacher Nelson Shapiro. Pictured are Alyssa Rodriguez, Alaina Bevilacqua, Anita Zhang, Becky Barber, Christopher Burns and Adam Losher.

Sponsored by the Essex County School Music Association, All County musicians are selected by their music teachers or have qualified through auditions for the Area All State Music Festival. They are the best student musicians in the area, Iturrino said.

“It’s an honor to be here,” he said.

Brian Beaudein, music teacher at Long Lake, agreed.

“These kinds of festivals are a great incentive for the kids in our program,” he said. “It gives us purpose and direction.”

Zhanna Pendell, a music teacher at Newcomb, said the All County event is an important educational Moment.

“We want our students to have every opportunity to succeed,” she said. “All County is one of those opportunities. This is another challenge, another chance for our students to succeed.”

The annual All County Music Festival is also an opportunity for students from small schools to perform with large groups — something that’s very important to North Country schools.

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