Bellingham Concert Band Wins Gold Medal
The Bellingham Concert Band won its second-ever gold medal at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) Festival this year.
By Sydney Keane
On Friday, March 31, 2023, the Bellingham High Concert Band won a gold medal at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) festival. This is the second time in history Bellingham High School has received this honor, the first time being in 2004.
Under the strong leadership of band director Marie Forte, the Bellingham Concert Band performed a selection of three pieces, including “Hands Across the Sea” by John Philip Sousa, “As Summer Was Just Beginning” by Larry Daehn, and “Trail of Tears” by James Barnes. The statewide MICCA festival was held the weekend of March 31- April 2, with performances divided among six Massachusetts high schools. In addition to performing, Bellingham High School was also one of the host locations, with about 1,000 students performing at Bellingham alone.
Of 152 concert bands that participated in the MICCA festival, only 13 received gold medals. Recipients of the gold medals were then invited to then perform at the 23rd annual MICCA Gold Medal Showcase. The Bellingham Concert Band performed on Saturday, April, 15 at the Groton Hill Music Center.
Despite the fact this year’s concert band of 38 students is the smallest group she has worked with thus far, Forte praises the resilience and determination of the concert band. As a non-audition band, all students are welcomed to join. Additionally, the band has faced a number of obstacles over the past few years related to COVID interruptions.
In the face of all obstacles, Marie Forte found her students, especially the younger and newer band members, rose to the challenge with ambition and delight, allowing the music program to rebound. Forte herself was also inducted into the MICCA Hall of Fame this year for her inspirational leadership and teaching style as a music conductor and educator.
In response to this year’s successes, Forte wishes to extend a large thank you to the parents and volunteers comprising Bellingham Friends of Music. The Bellingham Concert Band owes a great deal to this group’s endless support.
A big congratulations to the Bellingham Concert Band for their unparalleled performances and for making history with their second MICCA festival gold medal in history!