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MHS String Orchestras Receive Gold at New York Heritage Festival

The Mariemont High School Chamber Ensemble and Concert Orchestra brought back the ‘Gold’ after three days in New York City, where they participated in the New York Heritage Festival at the famed Riverside Church, toured iconic Manhattan sites and experienced the food, entertainment and energy of the city.

"I really enjoyed learning about the culture of music," said Tyler Scott, junior. "I learned a lot about the power of music and how it can really unite people."

The New York Heritage Festival is one of a number of musical festivals held throughout the United States and is part of the WorldStrides OnStage Programs. This year’s New York event welcomed over 2,000 middle- and high school-aged orchestra, choir and band participants. Each group’s performance is ranked on an international standard, and the top performing groups in the Heritage Festival are invited to perform in the Festival of Gold or the Festival at Carnegie Hall.

"This year's performance at and participation in the Heritage Festival was one of the best we have experienced. I find it extremely important that the students were able to see so many other young people thriving in their musical pursuits,” said MaryBeth Khamis, district orchestra director. “I am so appreciative to work in a school district that supports students who are developing as musicians and artists. From the parents and teachers to the administration and our incredible athletic director, all are completely supportive of our students getting to experience these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.”

The Mariemont High School Concert Orchestra performed “Themes from the New World Symphony,” “Wayfaring Stranger” and “On a Hymnsong.” The Chamber Ensemble performed “Capriccio Espangol” and “Brook Green Suite.”

The orchestra and chamber ensemble received the following awards and recognitions:

  • "Gold" recognition for both the Chamber Ensemble and the Concert Orchestra. Scoring was based on various attributes of the music, including tonality, dynamics, style, articulation and other key areas.
  • Special Adjudicator Award for Chamber Ensemble. An adjudicator recognition of standout performance and recognition of exceptional directors.
  • Outstanding Solo Performance was awarded to MHS senior Sierra Sims-Smith. Only 10 of these awards were given out to the entirety of festival participants, and Sierra was the only instrumentalist to receive this award.
  • The Chamber Ensemble was awarded highest scoring orchestral group at the Festival.

"A huge congratulations to all of our strings students. Your hard work and talent has been recognized and rewarded," said Suzy Weinland, district parent. "And a tremendous thank you to MaryBeth Khamis, who has nurtured our students from fifth grade on to make the Mariemont City School District's strings program the robust group it is today."

Following the festival, the students had the opportunity to tour the city, including professional performances such as the percussion show STOMP, the New York Philharmonic play Strauss and Beethoven and the Broadway musical Les Miserables. Other highlights included the Metropolitan Museum or Art and the American Museum of Natural History.

"Almost everywhere we went there was music, from upscale concerts to street performers,” said Mollie Coates, Mariemont High School senior. “It's such an amazing way to see how everyone on the planet is connected through music.”

Click here for the complete list of all of the Mariemont High School students who performed at the New York Heritage Festival this year. The Mariemont Board of Education will recognize these students at the May board meeting, which takes place on Monday, May 9 at 7pm in the Mariemont Elementary cafeteria. The orchestras will also perform at this time.