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May  11

Fourth Perfect Score in 25 Years!

MozartsingingrequiemTonight, Bloomfield High School's choral ensembles will present their Annual Spring Concert with a total of 139 students performing. The centerpiece of the concert is Mozart's last, unfinished work, his Requiem, which will be performed with complete orchestration as well as four professional vocal soloists. The orchestra for the Requiem is comprised of students, professional players, college students, Bloomfield music faculty and staff, and parents.

So why is this concert a must-see? This past Friday, when the choirs participated in a choral festival in Holmdel, each of the three ensembles received a rating of Superior, the highest rating, for their performances. The concert choir received perfect scores from both judges. One judge (perhaps the Simon Cowell of choir judges?) commented that it was only the fourth perfect score he had given to a choir in 25 years of adjudication.   

“As their director, I would like to say that I am very impressed with what the kids in the high school are able to do with all of the construction, mudslinging (however deserved or undeserved) and negative energy that seems to float around this building and its inhabitants,” says Jack Bender, BHS choir director.

In the past year, chorus members Becky Tarantino, Douglas Bender, and Keaun Guy performed in All-State Chorus. Also, Becky Tarantino, Douglas Bender, Gabe Martinez, Jeff Simsiman, and Elaina Frissell were selected to sing in the All-North Jersey All-State Chorus.

The choral ensembles include a Treble Choir, a Madrigal Chorus, and a Concert Choir. In addition to Mozart’s Requim, tonight’s concert will feature music ranging in genre from classical to folk to gospel: Cantique de Jean Racine by Faure, Loch Lomond and The Turtle Dove by Vaughan Williams, Elijah Rock by the great Spiritual arranger Moses Hogan, as well as many other pieces in several languages, including Zulu, Brazilian and French.

The concert is in the Bloomfield High School Auditorium at 8pm. Admission is free.

May 11, 2005 in Music | Permalink


Shit! I wish I knew about this earlier! I was in the choir in my day and most people quit after a year or two because of an insanely cruel and militant Director and as a result we pretty much sucked.

Now a guy from my class, Jack Bender, a truly brilliant musician has taken over the reigns as Director, and from what I hear the kids love him, and how great is it that the choir is now being rated "Superior?!"

Posted by: Meghan | May 11, 2005 9:46:00 PM

We just got home from the concert. It was fabulous. I have to admit that, as a music mom, I am more than biased, but I love those kids (especially a particular senior soprano 1)and Jack Bender is an incredible director. Their combined efforts really paid off with another superior performance.

They presented the Requiem in the middle of the program, and it left many of us wondering, "Well what do you do next?" However the concert choir and combined choirs came back with several more pieces such as She Walks in Beauty, Loch Lomond (just the men), Elijah Rock, and Amazing Grace, arranged by Mr. Bender.

Everyone is to be congratulated. As the BHS choirs like to say, "Signor! Bender!"

Meghan ... sorry you had a less than desirable time with the previous director, but he did do some good things (at least in our experience). When our kid started in the high school, she was mostly an instrumentalist, but by the time Mr. W. retired, she had been cultivated enough through his efforts (and hers, too) to make All State and Regions. Jack has really brought out more in the choirs in the last two years, though. Choir directors shouldn't feel the need to be popular, just benevolent dictators. There were plenty of alums on stage for the alma mater!

Posted by: Nancy | May 11, 2005 11:22:38 PM

Although I was unable to attend, I have absolutely no doubt that it was spectacular. Jack Bender, as an alumni of BHS, has a gift in that he is able to inspire, cultivate, and showcase what is truly Bloomfield. A great opportunity to excel in spite of our warts. I'm proud! And I especially think it's great that Mr. Bender came home to BHS.

I remember when he was a student at the high school and often played Mrs. Oakes' 1911 Steinway piano for Oakeside events - even as a teenager he was fabulous.

Posted by: linda sercus | May 12, 2005 8:53:51 AM


I'm glad your daughter had a positive experience under Mr. White's reign, but I just have to say that I witnessed the man behave so innapropriately towards students over the 4 years that I was there that I will forever regret not speaking to someone about it at the time. He would throw chairs across the room when people sang off tune and when enraged because a piece was not perfect, he once threatened to the group that he would "stomp all over you with my combat boots," which incidentally he was never wearing. I've never seen a teacher bring more students to tears and turn them OFF from music.

But anyway, I'm glad that things are different now and that the choirs and Mr. Bender are having so much success.

Posted by: Meghan | May 12, 2005 1:42:57 PM

I left the concert last night, like many others, in a nearly speechless state. Words seem a paltry way to describe the transcendent musical experience that was our privilege as an audience to enjoy. But I’ll try. These students were challenged by a mega-talented director to heights that they seemed thrilled to attain; they performed with confidence and precision, and with a beauty that prompted tears. Mozart's REQUIEM was an astounding feat; 'Cantique de Jean Racine' and 'Loch Lomand' were particularly affecting. Mr. Bender is a gift to the Bloomfield High School community, and his students are hard-working examples of our youth at its best.

Posted by: Terry | May 12, 2005 4:44:08 PM

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