March 14, 2023 – Story and photos by Joshua Ross
One of the most anticipated nights of the year did not disappoint. The annual all-town band concert took place last week with more than 300 5th-12th graders rocking out to Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin and Queen. The night was wrapped up with all musicians playing “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles.
In between sets, a few speakers talked about the music department and what it means for students and families.
Former elementary school band teacher and current Hingham Fine Arts Director Joann Bellis talked about how the night shows the evolution of a student’s path in band throughout their time in HPS.
“Our annual All-Town concert series aims to welcome fifth and sixth-grade beginning ensemble students into our performing arts community and show them a vision for why they should continue participating in music,” said Bellis. “These events are thoughtfully designed to reflect our shared HPS Arts Department belief that the arts can help students feel connected to peers, their community, and the world around them. The All-Town Concerts are always among my favorite events of the year. Seeing seniors work together with fifth graders is a powerful reminder of the incredible growth that our students accomplish together throughout their journey in Hingham Public Schools.”
Hingham High School senior Chris Rulli addressed the audience with a heartfelt, passionate speech about what being part of the music department meant to him.
“I’ve made memories, friends, and found life-long values within my eight years playing in this second family of mine,” Rulli said. “I can’t stress enough how different I would be without it.”
HMS and HHS band director Brian Cincotta spoke throughout the performances and touched on a few important themes, including inclusion, self purpose, and time management. He asked those seniors to stand if they took an honors or AP class. If they were captains of a varsity sport or played a varsity sport. If they led an extracurricular club or participated in a club, or if they had an after school job. Most seniors stood for at least one and many for multiple activities. He stressed how there is enough time to do many things, including band.
“What we do here in special,” Cincotta went on to say. “We’re welcoming and inclusive, community-minded and community-driven, but also celebrate and seek to develop individual creative expression in our students. We have students in our ensembles who are academic powerhouses, yet still flock to us for the challenges that music provides. We have students who struggle in all other parts of their school day but in our room are able to find success. I also know for a fact that there are students who wouldn’t make it into the building if it wasn’t for our class waiting for them on the other side.”
He also differentiated band from other activities by pointing out that everyone “plays.”
“I’ve often said that what makes band unique is that it’s a group activity where no one ever sits on the bench.” he explained. “The continued work of each member is essential to our success. We foster a climate of collaboration without competition, and when our concerts are over and everyone leaves the venue, each student has accomplished something and no one has lost.”
Donna MacLellan, President of the Hingham Music Parents Association also spoke about how HMPA supports all musician in HPS by funding accompanist for concerts, music enrichment events, fees for festivals, facility equipment requests and instrument repairs, and other items not covered under the HPS budget. Every parent of a musician is part of the HPA and she asked parents to make an annual $20 donation to the program. More info on HPMA can be found here.