As the 2014-2015 school year draws to a close here in Verona, the seniors of Verona High School are anticipating the bigger and better things they will be moving on to after they graduate in June. Many will be headed off to colleges both statewide and nationwide to study the subjects they are particularly passionate about in pursuit of a career in their respective field. Three such seniors from VHS’ prestigious band and chorus programs, which have achieved several accolades and have performed in locations such as Walt Disney World and Carnegie Hall, have chosen music for their future career paths.
Alex Fielder will be heading to William Paterson University, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music with a popular music emphasis. Fiedler has been active in the Verona chorus through all four years of high school, including the Jazz Choir this year. However, he is dreaming big as he wishes to set his own musical career in motion. Under the current moniker of Sp!rit, Fiedler writes and produces his own original electro-pop music with influences ranging from popular artists such as Lady Gaga to heavy metal and television music (especially the soundtracks of anime such as Fairy Tail and Soul Eater). Much like many artists, Fiedler desires fame, but for an entirely different reason than one might expect: He strives to inspire creativity and individuality throughout the world. “Music was there for me when no one else was,” says Fiedler. “It keeps me going and gives me power.” After everything music has done for him, he wishes to give back to it by becoming a part of it.
Fiedler is slated to release his official debut EP Hero Spirit during the summer of 2015. Additionally, his pet project Black Wings is expected to see release sometime in the near future.
Amanda Morden will be pursuing a major in music education as well as performance at Montclair State University. Morden has been thoroughly involved in every aspect of the Verona music program. She primarily plays the flute in the band and is a member of the chorus as well as the Jazz Choir. She also held a leadership position in the Marching Maroon and White as an assistant drum major. Furthermore, she is among five seniors who have participated in the Verona Jazz and Beyond program through all four years of high school, contributing both flute and vocals. Morden wishes to become a specialist in woodwinds, and so she is attempting to learn as many woodwind instruments as possible.
Alongside her aforementioned musical pursuits, Morden, the daughter of Verona music educator Max Morden, also would like to perform in the orchestral pit on Broadway. “There’s nothing I love more,” she stated, “than music that takes you away from one world and puts you in another.”
As for me, I will also be headed to William Paterson, to undertake their renowned Sound Engineering Arts program. The university says that graduates of this program can be found in every aspect the pro audio industry, recording major artists and working with audio from the most popular television shows, video games and sporting events among many other things. Generally, I am best known for my contributions to the band, first on trumpet and later on baritone/euphonium, as well as becoming the baritone section leader of the Verona Marching Maroon and White during their 2014 season.
I am pleased to have been chosen for the SEA program because it is known for being relatively selective, accepting only 12-13 students a year. I auditioned on euphonium for the program’s classical track (as opposed to the jazz track). In addition to being accepted to the SEA program, my academic performance landed me a place in WP’s Honors College, which includes about 400 of WP’s 11,500 students.
In addition to baritone/euphonium, I also enjoy playing guitar outside of school. I aspires to become a recording and performing artist in his future, and I selected a major in sound engineering as a means to provide myself with in-depth exposure to music and hands-on experience in working with it, which I believes will foster an increased understanding and appreciation of music, as well as providing me with a practical career.
All three of us have the ambition to go forward in this world by contributing to this art form we so greatly appreciate and taking on a few of the many occupations its prevalence in our culture has allowed to exist. We’ve worked hard to get here, and now we await what the future has in store for us. Congratulations to the Class of 2015!
Photos copyright Carmela Percoco-Pinon. Used by permission.