JJMS Chamber Orchestra and Select 6th Grade Chorus Receive Silver Awards at NYSSMA Festival

  John Jay Middle School’s Chamber Orchestra and Select 6th Grade Chorus both achieved a Silver Award at NYSSMA Major Festival, demonstrating an excellent level of technical and artistic skill. The Orchestra performed on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, the Chorus on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Both groups are conducted by Jacquelyn Stroffolino. The festival was hosted by Fox Lane High School of the Bedford Central School District. 

The JJMS Chamber Orchestra is an after school club comprised of talented string students in grades six, seven, and eight. The group performed as a Level II ensemble (Level VI being the highest level). The selections they performed at the NYSSMA Festival were: 

  • A Gypsy Tale, by Soon Hee Newbold

  • Micro Fugue, by Edmund J. Siennicki

  • Hey Fiddle Fiddle!, by Brian Balmages

Adjudicators commended the JJMS Chamber Orchestra group for their appearance and discipline. “Some musical strengths noted in the comments include our groups' tone, sound quality, rhythmic skill, and musical accuracy,” said Stroffolino. “Some areas for improvement include our intonation, adding more dynamics, and working together as a group to be balanced and create deeper music.”

 The JJMS Select 6th Grade Chorus is comprised of students who volunteered to be in the ensemble specifically for the purpose of attending the NYSSMA Major Organization Festival. They performed as a Level II chorus (again, the highest being Level VI). The selections performed were: 

  • Shake the Papaya Down, arranged by Ruth E. Dwyer and Judith M. Waller

  • The Black Snake Wind, by Mary Goetze

  • Tres Canciones de los Elementos, by Victor C. Johnson

  Adjudicators commended Select 6th Grade Chorus for their appearance and discipline. “Some musical strengths noted in the comments include our beautiful singing sound, musical accuracy, and song selection,” said Stroffolino. “Some areas for improvement include making our tall vowel sounds consistent, adding more dynamics, and using more facial expression to tell each song's story.”

"John Jay Middle School students represented themselves impeccably at Fox Lane High School. They were polite and professional young musicians throughout the trip,” said Stroffolino. "I am so proud of these students and they should be proud of themselves!"

Read more about the JJMS Chamber Orchestra

JJMS Chamber Orchestra



Violet Alterio, Claire Ceremuga, Jeremy Cisneros, Madison Edwards, Kiera Ellison, Haley Fiderer, Sofia Gil, Carly Grizzaffi, Sophie Guo, Claire Jahaly, Ellie Kaplowitz, Anton Klettner, Joseph Klettner, Claire Lasota, Sasha Lovitz, Ruby Lichtman, Lindsay MacDonald, Grace Mango, Jessica Martin, Lawrence Martin, Katie McLean, Juliet Mingle, Michael O’Donnell Joelle Sacks, Eliza Wein.

JJMS Select 6th Grade Chorus



Abby Andrew, Madelyn Browning, Lily Colaco-Curry, Olivia DiLeo, Brenna Doherty, Arianna Gioffre, Abby Gryzmala, Mia Holbrook, Rachel Lewis, Kalen Mogil, Ethan O’Mealia, Serenity Orbe, Suzie Orlovitz, Paige Phillips, Cassidy Rubin, Alexa Tuchman, Elizabeth Valdes.


New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Major Organization Festivals are opportunities for music teachers to bring an exceptional ensemble (band, chorus, orchestra, or jazz ensemble) to perform for two specially trained adjudicators. Music must be selected from the NYSSMA Manual. The ensemble is given taped and written comments on their performance, and awarded a rating such as Gold, Silver, or Bronze.