There was music in the air on Friday, November 23, as the Tri-County Music Association held its 2nd annual concert at Tabor Academy. The concert featured a band of musicians who have directly benefited from the scholarships offered by the TCMA.
“All of the students you’ll see tonight have received a grant in one form or another,” said Music Director Philip Sanborn.
The TCMA gives out $12,000 in scholarships each year.
“Last year, our first year, we did a program called the ‘Great American Songbook.’ This year, the kids got to choose what they were going to play.”
To solidify the element of surprise for the evening, Sanborn opted not to print out a physical program, but rather encouraged the students to give a brief statement of thanks for the support of the TCMA and to explain what they were playing and why.
“It’s eclectic. It’s kind of a barometer of where they are at in their musical careers,” said Sanborn. “What you’re going to see tonight is the future of music. We have high school students, college kids.”
There were about a dozen performances; some were soloists but others played with piano accompaniment. For the record, the accompanist received scholarships from the TCMA from 1981 to 1985.
One musician eschewed traditional instruments in favor of consumer electronics and premiered an untitled original piece that used a laptop linked to special mixer board.
One of those collegiate musicians was Leah Voccio, a clarinet player since fifth grade with a rich musical background.
“Both of my parents are musicians so I just kind of brought up around it. Then I started playing an instrument and I really liked it,” she said.
The Seekonk High School graduate is a freshman at the University of Miami, studying music therapy. Her mother is also a member of the Tri-County Symphonic Band, which Sanborn conducts.
“She told me about the scholarship so I sent in an audition tape and I got one. It helps me pay for tuition,” said Voccio.
She opted to travel the classical route and performed a solo piece called “Rhapsody for Clarinet in B-flat.”
Whether studying music therapy, composition, musical theory, or international relations, music plays a central, immutable role in the lives of all the performers. Making music is as natural as taking breath.
“It was never a question whether or not I would pursue music. I’d never thought of doing anything else,” said Voccio.
By Eric Tripoli