Darien High School will be sending its biggest group of music students ever to perform in an all-state music festival this spring.

Thirteen students representing the high school's band, orchestra, chorus and jazz ensemble will travel to Hartford, where they will perform at the Connecticut All-State Honors Music Festival. The annual festival, which is put on by the Connecticut Music Educator's Association, showcases some of the state's finest high school music talent. It will take place at the Connecticut Convention Center April 7 to 9. About 1,500 students statewide auditioned for the festival, and only about a third made the cut.

"This is quite a distinguished group being recognized on the state level -- the most ever from our town," said Superintendent Stephen Falcone, who announced the news at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting.

According to Darien Director of Music Richard Sadlon, the students will be rehearsed by nationally-known conductors for the performance as part of the Connecticut Music Educators annual In-Service Conference.

"We believe that this is an all-time high number of students from Darien High School who will be representing our district on the all-state level," Sadlon said. "In recent years we have seen a trend toward higher performance levels from our students and more involvement in regional and state festivals. The increased student involvement is also due to the encouragement of our Darien High School Music teachers, Christopher Andrade, Jane Minnis and Jonathan Grauer. This is one of the highest achievements for high school student musicians in our state and we are all proud of their accomplishments."

The following students will be representing Darien in the festival. From the high school's jazz ensemble will be Zach Heyde, playing the jazz piano.

From the orchestra will be Ryo Usami on the violin and Katie Critelli on the harp.

Representing the high school band will be Danielle Tilford playing the french horn and Luke Washer playing the trombone.

Finally, chorus members performing will be soprano Marin Amyotte, alto Kaylyn Buckley, soprano Hannah Caldwell, tenor Steven Ciasullo, bass Misha Kushnir, tenor Reed Morgan, bass Alex Rankine and soprano Lily Saffa.

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