SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — The music programs at Lakeside High School have gone through radical changes in the past few years. Joseph Tredent, music director at Lakeside, has been doing his best to expand the music program with the limited budget of music booster fund-raising. He has recruited many young musicians to bolster the band’s numbers, and he runs higher level groups like jazz band and orchestra to provide more experienced musicians with challenging pieces.
Tredent has also done his best to strengthen the music program where it starts – at the elementary and junior high levels. In fall of 2008, Tredent developed an orchestra program at the elementary schools. Members of the Lakeside Orchestra have the option to play the violin, viola, cello and upright bass. He also created an orchestra and a jazz band at Lakeside Junior High, so that students might have the opportunity to explore different types of music and continue their experiences playing with others.
The orchestra program was so successful at Lakeside Intermediate and Lakeside Junior High that Tredent expanded the program even further. This year the Lakeside Orchestra program is available at the high school, just in time for the very first elementary orchestra students to continue at an advanced level. The difficulties in starting the orchestra were numerous.
“The hardest part about starting the orchestra program was that there are no other orchestras in the area, so there’s no support or resources locally,” Tredent said.
The band directors are putting much of their time into improving the Lakeside Marching and Symphonic bands. “We’ve brought in area professionals to coach students in playing,” said Tredent. “We are also providing more and more opportunities for students to perform.”
Events like Solo and Ensemble, an annual, judged, individual and group performance event, give students a chance to showcase their abilities. Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the best. Students can take solos of Class A, B or C level, A being the most difficult.