WINDHAM — The Windham High Band is bound for the stage of every musician’s dreams.
Four hundred schools applied for the National Concert Band and Orchestra Festival. Twelve received invitations to play at Carnegie Hall next April in New York City.
Windham is one of them.
“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said senior Tim Raymond, the band’s president and a percussionist. “You can’t pass it up.”
When director Jared Cassedy told students they would appear on a stage where both The Beatles and Yo-Yo Ma have played, band members admit the good news was a little overwhelming.
“I was so excited and so amazed we can do this,” junior flutist Zoe Perkins said.
Junior clarinetist Jillian DiPersio said she felt like skipping through the halls.
“All of us were ecstatic,” she said.
The band’s acceptance to the festival adds to a string of musical accomplishments.
Two years ago, the band played at Riverside Church in the Heritage Festival in New York.
Last year, the band performed at Chicago’s Symphony Hall, attaining the highest scores in the Festival of Gold.
Any professional musician might envy the opportunities that brought the young band members to these famed venues.
“It’s true,” Cassedy said. “Their success is a complete testimony to their dedication and commitment.”
His students think Cassedy has a little something to do with their success.
“We are who we are because of him,” junior bass clarinetist Maddy Joanis said.
“His passion for music is contagious,” Tim said.
Cassedy, 31, followed many of his students from the middle school to the new high school, presiding over a band program that has doubled in size.
He is a past New Hampshire young band director of the year.
Friday morning, students arrived in the band room, grabbed their instruments and promptly got down to work with their maestro.