Gonzaga, district students win big in N.Y.

Staff ~ The Telegram editor@thetelegram.com
Published on May 28, 2012
Gonzaga band and choral instructors Doug Vaughan and Sheila Ryan pose with the numerous plaques and trophies snatched by Gonzaga and Eastern School District students at the Heritage Music Festival in New York City during the weekend. — Telegram photo

The Gonzaga High School concert band, Gonzaga’s jazz band and the Eastern School District Band hit the trifecta Saturday at the WorldStride Heritage Music Festival in New York City.

Gonzaga’s chamber and girls choirs each picked up silver plaques at the event, held at the cavernous Riverside Church in Manhattan.

As well as winning gold in all their events, the instrumental groups and director Doug Vaughan garnered a pickup load of other hardware, including the prestigious sweepstakes trophy for best overall school in the competition.

It's the second time in two years Gonzaga has won the big prize at the festival. The two Gonzaga bands also won instrumental sweepstakes awards.

Three students — Mark Constantine, Andrew Hynes and Calvin Gregory — picked up Maestro awards for individual excellence, and the three bands also won special adjudicator awards.

“The kids were just over the moon,” Vaughan said Sunday, describing the previous day’s events. “It’s been very rewarding, very positive.”

Both Vaughan and choral instructor Sheila Ryan said they were extremely proud of the students — especially with their focus and overall behaviour.

Vaughan said a flight attendant even offered spontaneous compliments on the maturity of the teenagers.

Including Vaughan and Ryan, 10 teachers and parents went along to organize events and chaperone the students.

With their hotel only three blocks from Times Square, the group took the opportunity to attend Broadway musicals and get in some intense shopping.

For Ryan, who took the choral post at Gonzaga in 2010, the trip was a first.

She said she was impressed with how smoothly things went, considering the chaos of midtown Manhattan.

“I will definitely want to do this again,” she said.

The competition involved 10 schools and more than 600 students from across Canada and the U.S.

This is a corrected version.