Expanding Performing Arts Beyond the Classroom


Guest Conductor Dr. Robert Franzblau worked closely with select band students
from nine area high schools on the stage during the Granite State Invitational Festival at the Seifert Performing Arts Center. 

Salem musicians and singers hosted classmates from eight area schools for a day of music, collaboration, and learning at the recent Granite State Music Festival. The event, hosted in Salem for the first time, is part of Jared Cassedy’s vision of elevating the program beyond the traditional classroom setting.

“It’s important for all students to experience music from different perspectives,” explains Cassedy, Director of Salem K-12 Performing Arts and the Seifert Performing Arts Center. “We want them to think beyond the notes and the rhythms on a music sheet to the meaning and passion behind the music.”

Boston Children's Chorus Director Anthony Trecek-King (right) leads festival chorus students in warm-up
exercises prior to getting started for the day.

To that end, students spent the day working with two guest conductors who have found success outside the educational realm. Chorus students spent time rehearsing and performing with Anthony Trecek-King, conductor of the Boston Children’s Chorus. Dr. Robert Franzblau, professor of music and director of bands at Rhode Island College, worked with the band students.

“It was a great opportunity for Salem students to view their music through a different lens,” adds Cassedy. “Both chorus and band students were challenged to re-imagine their art and apply what they learned to a performance at the end.”

Band and Chorus directors from around the state take a moment to share ideas in one of the open spaces
in the second story of the Seifert Performing Arts Center.

Earlier this year, students participated in the All New England Band Festival held at Plymouth State University and Cassedy plans to increase student participation in the New Hampshire All State Music Festival in Concord in future years.