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PEPPERELL — Nissitissit Middle School Concert Band members and their families, friends, members of Pepperell Parents Pro Musica and Band Director Kevin Tellier headed to Boston last weekend for a very special performance at Boston’s Symphony Hall.

The students earned the right to participate in “Stars at Symphony” after turning in a gold medal performance in the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) Concert Festival on April 1. The pupils performed at Lexington High School, one of seven festival locations.

The event drew 130 public school instrumental ensembles and 75 choruses into competition. A total of 22 gold medals were awarded.

At Lexington, three nationally-recognized experts in concert band performance and literature critiqued and evaluated participants. Judges includes Dr. Bruce Moss, director of bands at Bowling Green State University; Dr. Russell Mikkelson, director of bands at Ohio State; and Dr. Charles Peltz, director of wind ensembles at New England Conservatory of Music.

Judged on a five-point scale with five earning a “superior” rating and one a “needs improvement” tag, the Pepperell instrumentalists averaged a superior rating in all of its three selections. They included “Normandy Beach,” by John Edmondson; “Canticum,” by James Curnow; and “Riders on the Wind,” by Douglas Akey.

”It is extremely rare for a middle school band composed of students in grades six, seven and eight to receive a gold medal at a MICCA Concert Festival,” Tellier said.

”It’s very much a team effort,” Tellier said.

Nissitissit bassoonist Jack Low is a good example. He began playing saxophone in the outdoor marching band but, not in love with the instrument, asked about bassoon, which he had listened to on the “Perry Home Companion” radio show. He has been tutored on the instrument by internship teacher Megan Finan, supported by PPPM.

”There was a lot of practice coming to MICCA,” Low said. “Mr. Tellier took a lot of time with us. He jokes around with us a lot.”

None of the money PPPM donates is directly connected to the school or its budget. In existence for 27 years, the group was formerly called the Varnum Brook Band Parents Association.

MICCA, in collaboration with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, sponsored the eighth annual “Stars at Symphony” gold medal showcase at both Symphony Hall, on April 15, and Mechanics Hall in Worcester, on April 30.

The following is a list of the Nissitissit concert band gold medal members:

Benjamin Aiken, Christopher Alexander, Colby Aminti, Shelby Aminti, Alec Andersen, Sara Augustus, Samantha Ayer, Brian Bourgeois, Benjamin Brandon, Drew Bupphaves, Zachary Caraviello, Zan Chishti, Emily Church, Benjamin Clark, Joseph Clark, Adrianna Colon, Katie Confrancisco, Erin Conway, Justin Dellacanonica, Joshua Duchene, Lauren Ferro, Lily Fitzgerald, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matthew Flournoy, Rose Freeman, Jenna Gagnon, Jim Gagnon, Kaila Gibbons, Peter Gonda, Travis Gray, Olivia Guptill, Andrew Izbicki, Kenny Izbicki, Daniel Jefferson, Jonathan Jena, Emily Kearns, David Lorden, Jack Low, Peter Lundstrom, Sean Lutcza, Mikayla Madsen, Maura Mahoney, Katie Manley, Derek Maskalenko, Paul McCarty, Meghan McCaffrey, Alex Mihill, Zachary Miller, Jaynah Mistry, Kristen Mounsey, Bonnie Murphy, Steven Nelson, Nathaniel Nieva, Wade Nieves, Travis O’Connell, Ryan Paolilli, Julie Pecukonis, Colton Peladeau, Katie Petroskey, Rachel Pinney, Julia Ranauro, Drew Riley, Deanne Rogers, Bernadette Roszik, Csaba Roszik, Dylan Rubinic, Mark Rudkowski, Alex St. Croix, Tina Seeger, Chris Schott, Elizabeth Schultz, Nathan Spiegel, Hayley Sullivan, Aaron Taylor, Stephanie Thibault, Alison Tourtellot, Daniel Tourtellot, Charlie Urbanowski, Ryan Walker, Andrew Wass, Nathan Watt, Dylan Wetherald, Camden Wharram, Myles Wharram, Becca White, Chris Wilson and Ashley Zimmelman.

Editor’s note: This story was published last week in the Pepperell Free Press but several members of the band were omitted in error.

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