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Bronxville High School Students Demonstrate an Ear for Excellence

Dash Kwan, Andrew Jensen & Aiden McBride

By Jackie Burton

Nov. 9, 2022: A love of music is only the beginning of a true musician’s journey. Music competency is a craft that takes practice, persistence, precision, and passion.

Three Students Selected to Represent Bronxville School at NYSSMA All-State Concert and Conference in Rochester

At Bronxville High School, two seniors Andrew Jensen and Dash Kwan earned the distinguished honor of being selected to represent the Bronxville School as performers in this year’s New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) All-State concert and conference in Rochester, NY on December 1-4. Aidan McBride (French horn) has been selected as an alternate.  The All-State concert and conference includes the best performers in the State.

NYSSMA is an organization that advocates for school music education programs across the state. Every spring, NYSSMA auditions take place, with over 7,000 student musicians being evaluated on a graded solo piece, sight reading, and scales. Students who achieve a 100 on their performance evaluation are typically selected for seats in eight different ensembles, conducted by well-known guest conductors, at the NYSSMA Winter Conference held at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music.

The students dedicate a significant amount of time preparing for the NYSSMA Level VI solo, which must be selected from among the repertoire lists in the current NYSSMA manual. Last spring, over 6,500 sophomores and juniors from across the state of New York prepared for All-State evaluations. The highest-ranking students from each county are recommended.

“These students were selected by a competitive audition that took place last May at the NYSSMA adjudication festival. Thousands of students auditioned at this prestigious event in the hope of being selected for an All-State Ensemble.

Congratulations to Dashiell Kwan, Andrew Jensen, and Aidan McBride (alternate) who were selected to participate in All-State Symphonic Orchestra,” said Bronxville’s Middle and High School Band Director Uma Karkala.

Andrew Jensen (viola) and Dash Kwan (trumpet) both achieved perfect scores on their auditions. Andrew credits the exposure to many different types of music for preparing him for his NYSSMA All State Level VI solo. “Playing and practicing different types of music is where you learn and grow the most,” said Andrew. “I have learned from each type and that has allowed me to hone the necessary skills needed for each one.”

Andrew’s preferred style of music is from the Romantic era; his favorite composers include Tchaikovsky and Brahms. For Dash, it’s classical and jazz that he enjoys the most, and the composers who inspire him are Mahler and Clifford Brown.

On a more personal note, having a passion for music helped both Andrew and Dash transition to Bronxville High School as new students last year. They found music allowed a connection to other students as well as their teachers. 

Andrew and Dash’s commitment to music is reflected in their studies both inside and outside the school. Andrew studies at the Manhattan School of Music and performs with the Andromeda Quartet, a chamber music group from the New York Youth Symphony Chamber program. Dash studies at Juilliard Pre-College, a comprehensive conservatory-style music program for students 8–18 years old.

While some may wonder if this dedication to music education makes it more difficult to achieve in other academic areas, the duo have found the opposite. “Staying committed to practicing - and having the discipline to do so - has taught me a lot and helped me to stay focused in other areas of education,” said Dash.

Three Students Performed at NYSSMA "Area" All-State Ensembles in White Plains

Three other Bronxville High School students performed at the NYSSMA Area All-State ensembles on Saturday, November 5th at White Plains High School. The Area All-State ensembles include the best performers in Westchester County.  Bronxville junior Ria Mueller (cello) and senior Saya Mueller (violin), will perform with the orchestra; Senior Molly Bishop (soprano) will perform with the mixed chorus.

Pamela Simpson, Choral Director for grades 6-12 and K-12 Performing Arts Curriculum Leader, is thrilled that Bronxville’s music students are being recognized for their hard work and dedication with the opportunity to perform in the NYSSMA All-State and Area All-State concerts. “For these students to have reached this level of achievement, after the challenges in music education during the past two years, is astounding and well-deserved,” said Ms. Simpson.







Arts Directory

Bronxville Public Library
Bronxville Public Library

The Bronxville Public Library traces its origins back to 1875, when it was a small lending library housed in a room attached to the “Bronxville Model School.” The Library was officially chartered in 1906 and moved into the Village Hall Building. The needs of the library grew with the town and, in 1942, a new standalone building was erected, which is where the Library is today. Over the years, the Library was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of the community.

The Library has wonderful resources for adults and children and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment. The Library also houses a fine art collection, consisting principally of Bronxville painters and sculptors.

The Library offers special events, art exhibitions, and programs for adults, young adults and children. All events are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.

The Bronxville Public Library
201 Pondfield Road (Midland Avenue & Pondfield Road)

Concordia Conservatory
Concordia Conservatory

Concordia Conservatory, a preeminent center for music education in Westchester County, is a welcoming community where children and adults find lifelong inspiration and joy through learning, performing, listening to, and participating with others in music. Concordia Conservatory, a community outreach division of Concordia College, offers top quality music programs for early childhood, youth, adults and seniors. The Conservatory's vision is to enrich the lives of the people in our community through music.

Executive Director: Kathleen Suss
Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art

171 White Plains Rd
Bronxville, NY

Fine Arts Gallery of Bronxville
Fine Arts Gallery of Bronxville

99B Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Objects and Images Fine Arts
Objects and Images Fine Arts

117 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

The O'Silas Gallery at Concordia College
The O'Silas Gallery at Concordia College
Part of Concordia College New York, the OSilas Gallery integrates the visual arts into the cultural and educational life of our campus and community by providing quality exhibitions and programs that are diverse in style, content, and media. Our programs are memorable, thought-provoking, and spiritually enriching; and of artistic originality, integrity, and excellence.
Womrath Bookstore
Womrath Bookstore
Womrath Bookshop is a located in the heart of Bronxville village. In addition to selling books, the store also sell children's toys and holds readings both at the store and elsewhere in the community, such as at the Library.

76 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, NY
(914) 337-0199

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