The Grand Ole Opry House seems as far away from Bedford as Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty are from Jay Z, The Rolling Stones and the latest in Indie Rock. But one Fox Lane High School student recently closed that gap by gaining his own foothold at the iconic shrine by being selected to the All-National Honor Choir by the National Association for Music Education.
“The honor is a real feather for his cap,” said Fox Lane Music teacher Ed Reisert of the October 28 performance Ben took part in.
The Fox Lane senior began the process of donning the achievement by preparing a solo for the New York State Music Association Festival last year. His score in 2014 had him selected for the New York State Choir, and this year Ben went national. “Appearing at the Grand Ole Opry is an experience few kids will ever have,” said Reisert.
Of course, getting thrown together with kids from all over the country for a performance on the fly really puts the participants on notice. “In a very short time, they have to work together as a team,” said Reisert.
Matters will certainly be facilitated by having Ann Howard Jones conducting the choir. “She is one of the most renowned conductors in the world,” said Reisert.
The chance to learn something from her musical direction won’t simply be contained to staying in tune either. “Ben is one of the co-conductors of the boys’ acapella group,” says Reisert of the student led club.
However, being led down the path to this genre isn’t as less travelled as it may seem to those raised on classic rock and one hit wonders. “The internet affords today’s kids a wider variety of music than we had,” said Reisert. “So there are very few students who listen to only one kind of music.”
At the same time, Ben doesn’t contain his application to only one kind of learning. He was part of a team that won the Westchester App Development Bowl in which he and his fellow programmer developed an App to help Alzheimer’s patients.
Reisert wasn’t necessarily ready to delve into the link between math and music, but he wouldn’t dismiss the impact music can have on overall achievement and success. “I would say students who pursue music learn discipline and commitment because the gratification isn’t immediate. So musicians learn that you have to work toward something over a long period of time,” he said.