All-County in Saranac Lake

SARANAC LAKE – Student musicians from around the region gathered here Thursday for a day of music together.

The Saranac Lake Central School District hosted the Essex County School Music Association All-County Festival Thursday.

About 250 students spent the day at Saranac Lake schools, rehearsing together throughout the day, then holding a concert at night.

Kids participated from schools in locations across the region: Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Tupper Lake, Ticonderoga, Moriah, Willsboro, Westport, Keene and Elizabethtown-Lewis.

Teachers recommend the students by filling out a form that highlights aspects of their performance, like tone and techniques, as well as personality characteristics like leadership skills, said Drew Benware, Saranac Lake High School’s director of choral activities, who helped run the festival.

If a student participated in the regional Area All-State Festival last November – which encompasses Franklin, Essex and Clinton counties – he or she is automatically admitted to All-County.

Students played instruments or sang in one of four groups: a women’s chorus conducted by Keene Choral Director Lynn DeWalt, a jazz ensemble conducted by guest conductor Keith Pray from the capital region, a concert choir conducted by Benware, and a concert band conducted by Tupper Lake Instrumental Director Laura Davison.

Each conductor selects his or her own repertoire, but does so with the guidance of a music teacher in the county who serves as chairperson for that ensemble.

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or