PORT CHESTER, N.Y. Students from all six of Port Chester School Districts schools participated in the 28th annual District Instrumental Festival on Wednesday evening inside the Port Chester Middle School's Archie Jacobs Auditorium.
The festival featured five bands made up of students from grades fifth-12th. The festival was kicked off by the district's Fifth-Grade Select Band, which played the classic "William Tell Overture" and the more contemporary "25 or 6 to 4" by Chicago. The fifth-grade band consists of students from Port Chester's four elementary schools.
"The great part about our fifth-grade band is that gives students an opportunity to make friends from other schools," District Music Director Ken Kraut said. "That way when they come to the middle school the following year they already have friends. It's a great thing."
Following the fifth-graders was Sixth-Grade Band and then Seventh & Eight-Grade Band, both directed by Linda McDermott. Sandwiched between the two performances was a special compilation performance of various songs from "The Lion King" by the district's Seventh & Eighth-Grade Honor Band. According to Kraut, this is the first year the district has compiled such a select group of middle school students.
After the middle school performance, the crowd was entertained by the High School Symphonic Band directed by Robert Vitti. The district's oldest students performed a song written by Port Chester School District Superintendent Edward Kliszus entitled "The Chariot Queen of Mab."
"It is an honor to perform this song," Vitti said to the audience. "I hope you all enjoy listening to it because we certainly enjoyed playing it."
Kraut, who served as the evening's emcee, spoke about the importance of children involving themselves in music and the arts.
"So much research shows that playing a musical instrument or participating in the arts helps grow brain development," Kraut said. "The more students participate in the arts the better they'll perform in other subjects."
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