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.
Darren Dalton, a senior percussionist, thinks that band, promotes a sense of family. “In order to sound good, we all have to work together,” he said.
Finally, awards for leadership, playing ability and dedication are given out to exceptional musicians at the marching band’s highlight show at the end of October and at the last concert and symphonic band performance in spring. The Director’s Award is a new award that recognizes an outstanding musician who is either a freshman or a sophomore.
Lakeside’s musical program would not be complete without mentioning the ever growing annual musical. Each year more and more students audition for the play. Rehearsals for the Lakeside musical, “Into the Woods,” began in September. “Into the Woods” is a mash-up of fairy tales, from Cinderella to Little Red Riding Hood, where the characters venture into the forest seeking potions, fortune and happiness. However, the musical shows, more importantly, what happens after the “happily ever after.”
Senior Alli Woolard said, “I’ve never been a part of a show where everyone doesn’t necessarily have to fight for a good part. No one really shines more than anyone else and it’s great. The Lakeside Theater Company has always been tightly knit together, but this year, we can really share the stage.” The show opens on Nov. 9 and runs through the weekend.
Many improvements and expansions are sure to come to the music program within the next few years. Tredent is putting forth his best efforts to increase the size of the band and advance the skill levels of its members. He has encouraged many talented individuals to join the band, orchestra and jazz programs. He aims to make the music program more accessible to students so that anyone who is interested in music has the opportunity to participate.