Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stonybrook Overture by Chris M. Bernotas

Were you aware that Kinnelon's Stonybrook school has its own 'Overture' composed by Chris M. Bernotas?  According to Mark Mongon, Stonybrook Principal in a post on the Our Stonybrook Blog in November 2010, Stonybrook Overture,” a piece that was commissioned thanks to a grant from KEHSA, has been published."

It was also performed by Stonybrook 5th graders this past May during the Stonybrook Band Festival.

[Note: KEHSA stands for Kinnelon Elementary Home & School Association.]

I learned about this from Emma who, after hearing Stonybrook band director, Alan Tedesco, describe the piece, excitedly referred to a YouTube video of the Stonybrook Overture, which  I include below.  Before you listen, I thought I'd share with you some of what I discovered while piecing this story together.

From the Stonybrook Friday Folders, I found this note from Alan Tedesco:

"Next week, the Star Ledger will be visiting the Stonybrook School band program and interviewing Alan Tedesco and Chris Bernotas (Mt. Lakes High School Band Director). The ledger’s story will cover how the Stonybrook Band Festival began at the 5th grade level and the “Stonybrook Overture”. Mr. Bernotas was commissioned to write “Stonybrook Overture” two years ago with money funded by KEHSA through the annual grant committee. Since the piece was written, it has been published worldwide and will be debuted at the National Band Clinic in Chicago in Dec. The actual musical score includes information about Alan Tedesco and the 4th and 5th grade band program here at Stonybrook School. We are all very excited and look forward to the festival this May when the 5th grade band will perform the now nationally acclaimed “Stonybrook Overture”.

Which led me to the Star Ledger and an article titled Kinnelon elementary school band to have music to call its own.

Click on Stonybrook Overture to view the video on YouTube

Here is the description that Chris Bernotas includes on YouTube:

"Stonybrook Overture was written for a concert band festival hosted by the 4th and 5th grade band of the Stonybrook School in Kinnelon, NJ. Beginning with a majestic statement, it moves into a legato melody with a lively percussion accompaniment. The melody makes its way around the ensemble with harmonized countermelodies. The piece concludes with a restatement of the festival fanfare and a bold ending. This is a terrific vehicle for students to work on phrasing and articulation."

If you'd like to learn more about the composer, check out the Chris M. Bernotas' Blog as well as the Chris M. Bernotas' Channel on YouTube with many other compositions.

Did your child perform the Stonybrook Overture during this year's Stonybrook Band Festival? What did you think? Emma can't wait to make it to 5th grade now...

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