Seven  Middlebrook 6th graders were chosen from among their peers to perform with the Westport Community Band in their annual “Play with the Band” concert on Friday, May 20 at the Bedford Middle School in Westport. The “Play with the Band” program gives students a chance to learn, rehearse and perform alongside adult musicians, in a full size concert band.

The students (pictured above, L-R)—Bob Stofega (trumpet), Soham Damle (trombone), Rishabh Bhandari (trombone), Vishnu Duraseti (tenor sax), Aki Lasher (flute), Annabelle Creveling (flute), and Emily Bukowski (clarinet)—were nominated by Middlebrook band teachers Jennifer Ginsberg, Michael Gordon and John Rhodes, for being outstanding musicians.

They were joined by 34 other 6th graders from 12 other middle schools from around Fairfield County. They rehearsed for four weeks with the Westport Community Band (WCB), which is composed of musicians from Fairfield and Westchester Counties who bring a diverse mix of amateur and professional experiences to the ensemble. The WCB is under the direction of Sal LaRusso.

This year’s performance marked the 20th anniversary of the “Play with the Band” Program and included challenging pieces such as “In the Mood,” “Thriller” and “All About that Bass.”  The students also had the chance to perform an original piece, “Fanfare,” written by WCB band member Dennis Hyde, who stepped on the podium to conduct them.