Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
M/clear
18°
M/clear
Hi 29° | Lo 24°

Smith Academy senior Andrew Poirier in All-Eastern festival

  • Andrew Poirier of Amherst, left, finishes composing "The Macbeth Sketches," a musical score Poirier has been working on perfecting during a composition class taught by Dan Kennedy of Amherst on January 19, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Andrew Poirier of Amherst, left, finishes composing "The Macbeth Sketches," a musical score Poirier has been working on perfecting during a composition class taught by Dan Kennedy of Amherst on January 19, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Andrew Poirier of Amherst finishes composing "The Macbeth Sketches," a musical score he has been working on perfecting during a composition class taught by Dan Kennedy of Amherst on January 19, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Andrew Poirier of Amherst finishes composing "The Macbeth Sketches," a musical score he has been working on perfecting during a composition class taught by Dan Kennedy of Amherst on January 19, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Andrew Poirier of Amherst, right, watches while Dan Kennedy of Amherst points out some final corrections to "The Macbeth Sketches," a musical score Poirier has been working on perfecting during a composition class taught by Kennedy on January 19, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Andrew Poirier of Amherst, right, watches while Dan Kennedy of Amherst points out some final corrections to "The Macbeth Sketches," a musical score Poirier has been working on perfecting during a composition class taught by Kennedy on January 19, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Andrew Poirier of Amherst, left, finishes composing "The Macbeth Sketches," a musical score Poirier has been working on perfecting during a composition class taught by Dan Kennedy of Amherst on January 19, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Andrew Poirier of Amherst finishes composing "The Macbeth Sketches," a musical score he has been working on perfecting during a composition class taught by Dan Kennedy of Amherst on January 19, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Andrew Poirier of Amherst, right, watches while Dan Kennedy of Amherst points out some final corrections to "The Macbeth Sketches," a musical score Poirier has been working on perfecting during a composition class taught by Kennedy on January 19, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

“This is a big deal,” Smith Academy music director Ken Longstreeth said. “It is like creating an all-star team in sports.”

“It’s a prestigious event because by the time you get to the All Eastern, you have already gone through a very rigorous process over the years,” said Rachel Gibson, assistant professor of music education at Westfield State University. “It’s quite an honor.”

The road to the All Eastern Conference, sponsored by the National Association for Music Education, begins with auditions at the local district level, which for Poirier were at Westfield State University. Students may then audition for an All State Conference, held annually in Boston. Students must have taken part in the Western District performance and be recommended for All State — acceptance is based on audition scores.

The All Eastern Conference is held in a different state every year. Acceptance is based on a recommendation and receiving the highest scores in the All State Conference.

“It is a rare opportunity,” Longstreeth said.

This year the All Eastern Conference — which is made up of 12 states up and down the eastern seaboard — accepted 780 students to participate in band and choral ensembles. Poirier auditioned for the All State Conference in January 2012, where about 300 students sang in the chorus last year. Poirier was one of three who was selected to take part in the upcoming All Eastern Conference.

This year’s conference is set for April 4 through April 7 when, after intense rehearsals and workshops, the ensembles will perform for an audience of thousands Sunday, April 7, at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, in Hartford, Conn.

“I’m very excited about going,” Poirier said.

Poirier had always been exposed to music, but it wasn’t until he was 10 years old that he began studying music with Longstreeth at Hatfield Elementary. He noted that Longstreeth had students experiment on a variety of different instruments.

“He is involved in so many things, from playing first trombone in the school band and the jazz band, to singing, dancing, acting, playing piano and composing,” Longstreeth said.

Longstreeth said that Andrew’s talent as a composer is impressive for a musician of any age.

“As a composer, he creates really great music. I know his passion is musical theater, but he could easily be a composition major. He is that good,” Longstreeth said.

Poirier is now doing an independent study with Longstreeth in which he has composed an instrumental piece called “The Macbeth Sketches” that the Smith Academy band will perform at the spring concert.

Poirier takes voice lessons at the Profound Sound Voice Studio in Florence and private composition classes from Dan Kennedy at the Daniel J. Kennedy Piano Studio in Amherst. He also studies dance at Amherst Ballet and holds a black belt in karate.

Asked how he finds time to pack in so many activities, he smiled. “It just comes down to intensely blocking my schedule and doing my best to stick to it,” he said. “When my friends comment on the bags under my eyes I say, just remember, these are designer bags!”

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.