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The City Journals

Brighton musicians successful at WorldStrides festival

May 17, 2018 02:44PM ● By Julie Slama

First-year instrumental director Mikala Mortensen directs Brighton musicians at the WorldStrides competition in San Diego where the concert band received the top award. (Daniel Emrazian/Brighton High)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

About 80 Brighton High School student musicians, their directors and chaperones tried their best to sleep overnight on a bus that would take them to the WorldStrides competition in San Diego this past April.

They knew they would need to be at the top of their game as they faced other high schools from throughout the country in the festival. They had rehearsed after school every other week and held sectionals in preparation, said first-year instrumental director Mikala Mortensen.

“Once we got there, we had some great clinicians who helped our students before we took the stage,” she said. “One of the teachers at Cuyamaca College told the band to articulate and make the attacks together. The strings were given great advice to balance between the younger players in the orchestra and those who have more experience.”

 Director of choral music and guitar Daniel Emrazian said the choirs were given the advice to stand tall and be focused.

“We used that feedback at the festival and were ready to perform,” he said.

When they took the WorldStrides stage, Mortensen said, “They really pulled it off. It went so well.”

Brighton’s concert band received the top award, first, in the top level, gold.

“We took the Adjudactor’s Award for earning 90 or more points; we were the only band to receive it,” she said.

The string orchestra took silver, as did the I Suoni Dolic (the Sweet Sound) choir and the Madrigals. 

The band also qualified for the WorldStrides’ gold festival, which would include a performance in Carnegie Hall.

“It would be amazing, but we haven’t had a chance to even think about next year,” Mortensen said shortly after their return trip.

Brighton students celebrate in the surf and sand after receiving awards for their performances at the WorldStrides festival in San Diego. (Daniel Emrazian/Brighton High)

 The awards for Brighton didn’t end there. Two seniors, flutist Hailey Potter and pianist Lyndsay Hill, received the prestigious Maestro Award, which if selected as finalists, would allow them the option to perform in Carnegie Hall or in Sydney, Australia. 

Emrazian said the two are excellent musicians.

“This demonstrates how they excel in musicianship,” he said, adding that Hill accompanied two of the concert choir songs and joined them to sing on the third. 

Riding on a high, the musicians returned to Utah, where Hill competed in the state solo and ensemble competition four days later, on April 28.  Hill earned a perfect score on piano. Her classmate, senior Aubrey Leak, also earned a perfect score singing soprano.

Emrazian said three other soloists, a duet and three ensembles also performed, receiving excellent and superior marks.

At the state band festival, Brighton received excellent marks after receiving straight superior marks at region.

“It’s the first time they’ve qualified for state in 10 years. It’s been a good year for our musicians,” Mortensen said, adding that orchestra also earned perfect marks at region and was preparing to compete at state May 19.

Before leaving California, not only did the students have fun in the sand of Mission Beach and in the water of the Pacific Ocean, they also visited San Diego Zoo, Old Town, the USS Midway, Medieval Times and Knott’s Berry Farm.

“It was some of our students’ first time seeing the ocean,” Emrazian said. “It’s been a fun experience for these kids.”