Members of the Ridgefield High School music department participated in Western Regional High School Music Festival last month.  Musicians from all over western Connecticut representing 37 cities and towns auditioned to participate in the All Western Region Orchestra, Band, Jazz Band, and Choir.

There were a total of over 1,300 auditions for participation. Of the 24 RHS students that auditioned, 13 were selected for participation after passing a rigorous audition process.

The participating students reported to Darien High School on Friday, Jan. 11, and got to work with renowned conductors and educators from across the country. After five hours of rehearsal on Friday and another six hours on Saturday, the weekend culminated with a final performance to a packed auditorium.

"The experience is valuable to these high achieving musicians," said Michael McNamara, Ridgefield High School's instrumental music director. "It's really how professional groups function.  You audition to be a part of the ensemble, are given the music to prepare ahead of time, and you show up to the gig ready to rehearse intensely for a short period and are expected to put on an amazing performance.  It takes our high school groups months of daily rehearsals to achieve comparable results on similar repertoire, and we're a relatively high achieving program by public school standards.  What they're able to do in such a short time as kids is always inspiring to me."

These students are also qualified to audition for All State ensembles, where the competition is even more fierce for entry. For more information on the high school music program, visit