DURHAM — Oyster River High School seniors Madeline Blandini and William Kandle were selected to join “the best of the best” and performed in the National Association for Music Education’s Music In Our Schools Month concert last month.
Blandini and Kandle were chosen for New Hampshire Music Educators’ All State Festival last year, then chosen for NAfME’s 2020 All-National Honor Ensembles Virtual Event in January. Blandini, selected for Mixed Choir, and Kandle, selected for Guitar Ensemble, were among 552 students who rehearsed with some of the most prominent conductors in the country.
Blandini started formal voice training since age 9. In the last three years she has been involved in songwriting and has a passion for music composition for all types of media. Blandini has sung and played alto saxophone with the Oyster River High School Studio Orchestra and Choir for four years.
Last summer she completed the Film Scoring Program with an Orchestration Track at Berklee College of Music in Boston. She plans to continue performing and will be majoring in music composition this fall.
Kandle was selected for the All-National Honors Ensemble for the second year in a row. He started studying classical guitar at age 5. He is a student of David Newsam, a faculty member at Berklee College of Music and the University of New Hampshire. Kandle also studies electric guitar with Eric Clemenzi of Georgetown, Mass., and plays in the Oyster River High School Studio Orchestra under the direction of Marc LaForce and David Ervin.
Kandle is planning to study music in college next year.
“You can’t overstate how big an achievement this is,” Oyster River High School music teacher Marc LaForce said. “I am immensely proud of both of them.”
“Madeline and William both have an incredible drive for excellence,” Oyster River High School music teacher David Ervin said. “They have worked amazingly hard for this honor.”
The All-National Honor Ensembles consist of a concert band, symphony orchestra, mixed choir, jazz ensemble, guitar ensemble, and modern band. Students are chosen through an audition process.