Bristol Board of Ed honors students in art and music

Published on Thursday, 7 March 2019 21:01


BRISTOL - The Board of Education recognized a number of students for achievements in music and arts.

Samantha Sarli, school district supervisor of fine arts, began with the 28th annual Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards recipients.

“This is the largest juried student art exhibition in the state, with over 150 schools participating,” she said. “The Connecticut regional awards were established in 1927. The national program was originated to honor the creative efforts of students in grades seven to 12 in public, private, and parochial schools.”

Five local students received honorable mentions. They are:

Bristol Central High School:

Alysandra Bello, in the Drawing and Illustration category.

Kevin Ruiz Cruz, in Ceramics and Glass.

Northeast Middle School:

Genevieve Damboise, in Printmaking.

Erica Guzman, in Mixed Media.

Kate Sullivan, in Printmaking.

Sarli noted the National Association of Music Education has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month, “to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children, and to remind citizens school is where all children should have access to music.”

So it’s fitting to honor Bristol’s high school students who were chosen to participate in the Connecticut Music Educators Association’s Annual Northern Regional Festival, she said.

Regional auditions are open to all Connecticut high school students who participate in their school’s jazz group, choir, band, or orchestra. Each auditioning student is scored on performing a pre-selected solo piece, as well as demonstrating sight reading and two scales, she explained.

Ten Bristol students scored well enough to participate in the festival:

Bristol Central High School:

Cody Rivenburg, who performs as a choral bass.

Kaitlyn DelValle, who plays tenor saxophone.

Katie Fornuto, who plays French horn.

Isaac Feeney, who plays euphonium.

Jordan Northup, who plays trumpet.

Kayla Sicotte, who plays timpani.

Devora Trestman, who plays flute.

Bristol Eastern High School:

Luke Ashworth, who plays bassoon.

Ben Marin, who plays percussion.

Jake Woznicki, who plays tuba.

Of those 10, two were chosen to go on to the CMEA’s All State Festival: Devora Trestman and Luke Ashworth.

To qualify, they had to pass a more demanding audition “to select Connecticut’s top high school musicians,” Sarli said. “These students will spend three days in April at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, learning advanced repertoire under the direction of renowned conductors from throughout the United States.”

CMEA also has an Elementary Honors Band, she said. “In order for students to participate in this elite band they must be recommended by their teacher and selected by a panel of educators. These students will spend a full day at the Convention Center rehearsing. At the end of the day they will perform a concert in front of an audience that encompasses parents, teachers, students, and renowned conductors and educators.”

The five local students chosen for the Elementary Honors Band are:

Edgewood School: Madeline Orsatti.

Mountain View School: Tyler Holcomb.

Stafford School: Emily Gao, Helena Wright.

West Bristol: Harrison Riker.

BEHS student Preshes Ashley-White was chosen as the top soloist in the International Championship of High School A Cappella Quarterfinals in Danvers, Mass. She sings with the school’s Strawberry Fields choral group, which performed at the quarterfinals.

One of the songs the group performed was “A Change Is Gonna Come,” by Sam Cooke, and it got Ashley-White chosen from among 40 soloists as the best of the night, Sarli said.

Ashley-White also performed the national anthem at the school board meeting where she was honored.

Sarli thanked “all of our teachers for preparing our students and assisting then through these achievements: Leslie Fernandez, Kris Monaco, Allison Masse, David Nelson, John Abucewicz, Ken Bagley, Joy Cannata, Niece Zabawa, and Michael Coderre.”

The board also recognized Erin Daly, a fourth grade teacher at Hubbell Elementary School, who received a $1,000 grant from WVIT Channel 30 to use for classroom technology.

Daly said the grant was in response to a Donors Choose online fund she had set up. “They surprised us with $1,000, so we ended up getting five tablets for the kids to be using in small groups and all over the classroom,” she said.

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General News on Thursday, 7 March 2019 21:01. Updated: Thursday, 7 March 2019 21:04.