Plainville Community Schools, 47 Robert Holcomb Way, Plainville CT 06062, (860)793-3200

Plainville Educators Selected To Conduct Regional Music Program

Plainville Community Schools' Music Department faculty members Dominic Talotta and Todd Helming have been selected to conduct the Southern Regional Middle School Festival Jazz Band and Chorus, respectively.

The Festival, to be held February 28th - March 1st, is composed of the top student musicians from the southern region of Connecticut. Talotta and Helming, who have not previously conducted in this capacity, were selected by a committee of their peers who seek the best directors from both Connecticut and the northeast.

Both Talotta and Helming are looking forward to this opportunity, which brings a number of exciting challenges in their capacity as directors for regional student groups. Rehearsals for the festival will entail extended practice hours, shorter prep time, and student musicians who are coming together, in some instances, for the first time. When asked how they will prepare for the festival, Helming and Talotta shared their strategies. "Musically, it will be important to have every note, word, rhythm, and part memorized so that the director's focus is on the students and their music throughout the entire rehearsal process. It will be important to have a structured timeline to make sure all of the main goals are accomplished. After that, a lot of the "magic" needs to happen in the moment, in the rehearsal, as the director and performers grow together and create a bond that carries them through their performance," explained Helming. Talotta noted, "I chose tunes of a couple of different difficulty levels, not knowing exactly what they'll be able to handle, we'll sort out what they can play right away, and then we'll dig in. I have never met them but I do know that they are the best players in their region; making a regional jazz band is an especially selective process, so I would expect them to bring that great combination of talent and enthusiasm."

Ensuring that the students enjoy this significant opportunity is also a critical outcome of the directors' roles and the festival. "First it has to be fun - - they didn't audition for this weekend thinking it would be drudgery, but it's easier to have fun when we play well. I'd like them to feel a sense of accomplishment-putting a concert together in such a short time is quite a challenge for middle school age musicians, hopefully we will do it well, and they can leave the festival with a sense of pride. And I'd like to give them a deeper sense of how enjoyable and rewarding playing jazz can be," said Talotta. "Musically, this should be an experience that reaches deep within the student to stir a passion and love for the art of music making. The goal will be to create the most amazing musical experience technically and emotionally to allow the students the opportunity to experience this," noted Helming. "Socially, this is an opportunity for students to meet with and connect with peers outside of their schools that share their interests and talents - helping them make connections and realize that the world is much bigger than just their school environment."

"Students from across the region will soon see what Plainville's students have known all along, our music department and teachers are second to none. We are very proud the Regional Music Festival has selected Dominic and Todd as conductors, but not surprised at all. They are outstanding, talented educators!" noted Superintendent of Schools, Jeffrey Kitching.

-Posted on January 28, 2014 at 11:07 AM

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