The North Bergen High School Chorus not only took home a first place trophy at the Hudson County Teen Arts Festival last week, but continued their winning streak in Williamsburg, Va.
On May 19, the North Bergen High School Advanced Chorus, an extracurricular club composed of 30 choral members who wish to go above and beyond, won first place for a large vocal ensemble at the Hudson County Teen Arts Festival. The men’s ensemble won first place, while the ladies’ ensemble took home second place.
After such a strong showing at the annual local competition for students from Hudson County, the advanced chorus members headed to Williamsburg, Va. to perform at the Music Showcase Festival. Students had raised approximately $20,000 to make the trip possible, and they made it well worth it when their advanced chorus took home first place for a high school mixed choir and overall winner for mixed choir.
“I actually feel really good and proud of myself, because in the beginning I didn’t think we were going to be able to raise all of that money.” – Laura Castellanos
“I actually feel really good and proud of myself, because in the beginning I didn’t think we were going to be able to raise all of that money,” said Castellanos.
Teen arts festival
Students once progressed from the Hudson County Teen Arts Festival to the State Teen Arts Festival, but the state no longer funds that program.
“It is not billed as a competition, but the kids get competitive about it,” said Chorus Director Jennifer Penton.
Mellissa Cepeda was a part of the advanced chorus’ ladies’ ensemble, which performed the Italian song “Bel Piacere” at the competition. They took home second place.
“Ever since elementary school I’ve also been in chorus,” said Cepeda, who has been a member of the advanced group for two years.
Members of the band were also successful. The wind ensemble won third place for a large instrumental ensemble; Benjamin Batista received first place for a tuba solo for small instrumental, and Leo DeJesus won third place for a percussion solo for small instrumental.
Exploring their world
On May 20, the students departed for Washington, DC, where they were given the opportunity to visit the U.S. Capitol and witnesses a session and vote of Congress.
The next day they visited Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown in Virginia.
After winning two first place trophies the next day, students had their award ceremony at Busch Gardens and got to spend the rest of the day at the amusement park.
On the way home, they visited the National Museum of American History.
And when they arrived home, they went on to perform their spring concert with all of the different choirs at North Bergen High School, as well as the band and its numerous groups, on May 26.
“We had a fantastic time and an incredible experience,” said Penton. “The past couple of weeks have been extraordinarily busy, but all the work was well worth it.”
Tricia Tirella may be reached at TriciaT@hudsonreporter.com.