The Wilton Board of Education recognized the Wilton High School music department as the recipient of its “Salute to Excellence” award during the Feb. 21 BOE meeting. The award recognizes the department’s exemplary work. “They are a shining example of high level artistic performance,” Superintendent Kevin Smith remarked.

Members of the WHS a capella group attended the meeting to receive the award on behalf of all students and staff of the music department. The group sang two numbers accompanied by one student beat boxing. A Capella students are drawn from all WHS ensembles and represent all four grade levels at the high school. The Salute to Excellence celebrates some of the many successes that happen in Wilton schools every day.

According to WHS choral director Kevin Cotellese, currently over 300 students–more than 25%–of all students take part in a performing music ensemble. So far this school year students have already accomplished an incredible amount of learning and performing. Some of the highlights include:

  • A series of holiday concerts featuring the jazz band, orchestra and choirs performing together.
  • Eighth grade students in orchestra, band and choir have performed with the high schoolers to give them a taste of what’s in store for them at WHS.
  • The a capella group, together with select members of the orchestra and band, performed for the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Holiday Open House in Norwalk.
  • The choirs were one of three winners of CT News 12’s Sounds of the Season competition.
  • Wilton students actively share their talents in the community working with the Wilton Children’s Theater, Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestra, Norwalk Youth Symphony, and the newly formed regional Jazz ensemble, Nordic Sounds: Elite Jazz Youth Orchestra.
  • Students have auditioned successfully for regional, state, and national ensembles.
  • The Wind Ensemble, along with approximately 30 schools, commissioned a new work that will be performed this spring. The WHS Wind Ensemble will premiere the piece this Spring. The High School Madrigals, and Men’s and Women’s choirs have been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in May and will perform masterworks by Bach and Haydn along with choirs from California Polytech University and the Vancouver Bach Choir.
  • The annual John Rhodes Jazz Symposium

The students present on Thursday evening to receive the award were (L-R, above):  Hannah Mikita, Anna Iorfino, Brycen Addison, Rachel Slater, Matthew Huang, Jayna Gumins, Anna Clark, Evan Timnev, Brielle Flavin, Adarsh Varghese, Edwin Gregory, and Davis Langhoff.