A new school year has begun, and a new group of choral students have combined with returning members to build up both the in-school and after school choirs. It’s not just the students representing the Ledyard Music program, however.
Recently, the Ledyard Public Schools district hired former choral director of Ella T. Grasso Technical High School, Melanie Cometa, as the new choir director for the Ledyard Music program. Being an LHS alumni herself, she plans to fill the giant shoes left by previous director Russell Hammond, who retired after 17 years of being the choir teacher at Ledyard and over 30 of being a music teacher in general. There has been mixed feelings about Hammond leaving and Cometa stepping in, especially with the seniors who have been directed by him since their freshman year, but she’s up to the task of making this program the best it can be.
When asked if she was ready to fill those shoes, Cometa chuckled and stated, “Those are big shoes. It’s hard to compare our teaching styles, as they are completely different, but I know we both have/had the same expectations: to keep the same high level performance within all the choirs.”
Her first upcoming task will be the first formal concert of the year, the famous Meet the Choirs concert. For both students and the director, it’s normal to be nervous and feel pressure. This concert gives the audience members a first impression of each of the choirs, and the music program in general. The performance will feature Women’s and Men’s Chorus, Concert Choir, Select Singers, and Chamber Choir, as well as Acabellas, Final Cut, and Premier.
“Yeah, I’m full of nerves, I definitely feel pressure, but not bad pressure. Like, the best kind. We’re going to be celebrating both the present and the past, and we will definitely set a tone for this new music program.”
Sophomore Forrest Paradise, a dedicated bass singer for the Carolers and Concert Choir, has his own vision for how the chorus program will run this year with Cometa in charge.
“I miss [Mr. Hammond], but I really like Mrs. Cometa. She’s really fun and professional. For the program, I think it will be really great: the choirs sound really good. We have a lot of strong singers this year. I personally like the song ‘Emerald Stream.’ She’s doing very well teaching us, and we’re catching on pretty quickly,” he said.
So far, there has been a lot of preparation for the fall concert, including learning and memorizing new pieces of music, finding voices that blend well together, practicing solos, and even ordering new concert attire for Concert Choir and Select Singers. Ms. Cometa also created a way to track each choir’s progress with a daily evaluation form.
“I’m completely obsessed. I have my own Spotify playlist that I listen to every morning with every song we’re doing for the concert on it; I practice every piece of music I’ve given to my students, and I track each class’s progress every time I see them,” Cometa said.
A new perspective will shine down upon the Ledyard Music program, with the love and passion for music never fading away.
Note: Meet the Choirs will be held on Thurs. Oct 26, at 7:30p.m. in the auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students.
Sophia Keefe, Staff Writer
Senior Sophia ‘Sophie’ Keefe is a staff writer for the 2017-2018 Colonel. She is an avid varsity softball player and track runner on top of her involvement in Ledyard music, participating in Acabellas, Carolers, and Select Singers. After school, you’ll find her studying for anatomy while simultaneously petting cats and listening to Plain Ketchup (it’s a band.)