Chesterton Music has Great Success at ISSMA!

Chesterton Music has Great Success at ISSMA!

Gigi Hanner

On April 24th, the Chesterton Music Department competed at the annual ISSMA Organizational Contest virtually. Every group that participated earned at least a Gold rating. The Wind Ensemble earned Gold with distinction after competing in Group 1, the most difficult level of the competition. Symphonic band earned a Gold rating as well. The unified Bel Canto and Drifters earned Solid Gold, or a Gold rating from all of their judges. Camerata and the Sandpipers together earned a solid Gold as well. Intermediate Orchestra also brought home a solid Gold. The Advanced Orchestra also earned a solid Gold. Each ensemble performed a series of two or three selections, and a list of the music used can be found below, as well as four videos of the groups performing. 

Despite the excellent showing at ISSMA, the experience itself was still very different for those participating. Sophomore Bridget Wisdom, a member of the Wind Ensemble, notes the differences the band experienced, saying, “As a band, we had to practice sounding best on a recording, rather than live in front of judges. Since we didn’t perform in front of judges, I felt less anxious than I did in years prior. The recording process just felt like a usual, low-stress concert to me.” But Wisdom is still proud of their performance, saying “Despite the challenges, I thought that recording for ISSMA was a great experience! I’m super proud of my band for getting a Gold with Distinction.”

Sophomore Gretta Burke, with the Intermediate Orchestra, was incredibly impressed with her group’s performance. She says “Going into ISSMA I did not expect us to be able to play very well. Participation was literally so weird, because half the orchestra is remote.” Nonetheless, Burke acknowledges the role of the orchestra teacher, Mr. Grenier, saying “Mr. Grenier did a fantastic job preparing us for ISSMA this year. He’s very patient, but also strict enough to keep us focused, and it’s a really good balance.” 

Sophomore Abby Atrosh, who performed with the Univoice choir, echoes similar statements as Burke and Wisdom, saying “I’d say I get a lot less nervous when I’m not actually in front of judges, it takes a lot of the pressure away. I always have high expectations for ISSMA because I’ve always been in really good choirs, so I expected to do well despite the situation.”

The Music Department did an amazing job despite all the obstacles, and everyone can watch the choir and bands perform at the links below. Congratulations to all those involved, it was an excellent day to be a Trojan!


Wind Ensemble: Second Suite in F for Military Band (Gustav Holst), Rest (Frank Tichelli).

Wind Ensemble Performance

 Symphonic Band: Reverberations (Brian Balmages), Heaven’s Light (Steven Reineke), Encanto (Robert W. Smith).

Symphonic Band Performance 

Univoice Choir (Bel Canto & Drifters): Under the Greenwood Tree (Robert Boyd), Wake Me a Song (Andrea Ramsey), and Zion’s Walls (Aaron Copland).

Univoice Choir Performance  

Mixed Choir (Camerata & Sandpipers): MLK (U2/Bob Chilcott), I Am In Need of Music (David L. Brunner), and Musick’s Empire (Llyod Pfautsch).

Mixed Choir Performance

Intermediate Orchestra: Mystical Towers (Jerry Woolstenhume), Textures (Robert Calhoun).

Advanced Orchestra: Sarabande from Holberg Suite (Edvard Grieg) and Allegro and Minuet from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (WA Mozart).