Byram Hills Student-Musicians Shine at NYSSMA All-State Performances

Two Byram Hills High School seniors performed at the New York State School Music Association’s prestigious All-State Winter Conference, joining students from throughout the state in highly selective ensembles.

Alto Morgan Hecht sang with the All-State Mixed Chorus and trombonist Aaron Lestz played with the All-State Symphonic Band on Dec. 3 at the historic Eastman Theatre at the University of Rochester. The concerts came after three days of rehearsals with notable guest conductors.

“It was amazing to see Morgan and Aaron making music at a high level in a world-class performance space,” Byram Hills band director Andrew Hill said. “We are immensely proud of their hard work and dedication to the arts and for representing the Byram Hills community so well.”

Morgan and Aaron were chosen to perform after receiving All-State honors from NYSSMA based on their high-scoring solo performances at adjudicated music festivals in the spring. 

Morgan said performing at the conference “was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

“It was three days of extremely hard work but it was definitely worth it when we stepped on the stage at the Eastman Theatre,” she said. “The people there were so dedicated and talented and it was by far the best choir I have ever sung in. I feel so honored to have been selected to be a part of it and, I know that because of it, I will be a better singer in the future.” 

Playing at the All-State conference was “an incredible experience,” Aaron said.

“With so many talented musicians around, we really were able to make music that evokes significant emotion and play some difficult, but therefore also very rewarding, pieces of music,” he said. “I hope that anyone who's considering trying NYSSMA goes for it, as the feeling of the concert, especially amplified by the scope of the stage and the whole theater, is something that is so amazingly rare and beautiful.”

Morgan Hecht and Aaron Lestz