Musicians Record Virtual Solo & Ensemble Performances

Novi, MI - Our Catholic Central Music Director, Mr. Greg Normandin ’78, has been serving as the President of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association over the last year and working diligently with educators across the state to keep musicians engaged during the COVID era.

Typically students are performing at an in-person Solo and Ensemble Festival around this time of the year, with Catholic Central musicians performing their best to earn First State rankings.

This year, the students were anticipating a missed chance to perform and showcase their hard work.

However, Mr. Normandin and the MSBOA were able to find a way to make it work, with students recording themselves using a specialized software and uploading performances for the panel of judges to review.

Sam Gomez ’21, a trumpet player from Howell, was very happy to hear that he’d still have an opportunity for his senior year. 

“I was stunned, but in the best way,” Gomez said. “I honestly didn’t think that we’d be having the festival this year, so to hear that Mr. Normandin and the MSBOA had figured out a way for us to do it, I was thrilled. Looking back on it, I’m not too surprised. I can’t see Mr. Normandin letting such a great opportunity for students to perform go without a fight.”

The opportunity to perform is a new one for the freshmen, including Dominic Apap ’24 from St. Edith in Livonia.

“Honestly, I had mixed emotions,” said Apap. “While I wanted to have the experience of performing a solo, it is also a daunting task since you are the only one playing. The hardest part of recording was probably actually pushing myself to do it.”

Mr. Normandin’s drive to allow the students to perform is setting a fantastic example for them, and our students are working through everything with a maturity beyond their years. Stephen DiFranco ’22, from Plymouth, acknowledged that fact. 

“I, along with many other people, want nothing more than for things to go back to normal,” said DiFranco. “Although that is not possible yet, people are trying their best to make sure things still happen within reasonable measures. It was refreshing to know that despite the lockdowns, Solo and Ensemble was still going to take place. Things may not be perfect, but we can do our best to get close.”

About 10% of Catholic Central’s student body is involved in the music program, and the group helps steer the school spirit every year.

“CC has so many opportunities to find your place in the brotherhood, and for me, it was the band,” said Gomez. “Mr. Normandin and the other bandsmen are arguably the best parts of my time at CC, and that is saying a lot. I can’t imagine my high school career without them.”

Andy Schenk ’24, a freshman snare drum player from Wixom, summed up a common feeling with his response to what his favorite thing about being in the CC band is: “The Brotherhood.”

We wish all of the musicians the best of luck in their performances!
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“Teach Me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge” is the motto of the Basilian Fathers and the sacred mission of Catholic Central High School. For ninety years, the graduates of Catholic Central have made a positive impact locally, nationally, and around the world.