By Maia DiFiglia & Sophie Grady
After one long awaited year, OBHS has built its new Fine and Performing Arts Wing.
Classes such as Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and
middle-level music programs now call the new wing home.
The new addition, which has doubled in size, has awed many with its new air
conditioning, bathrooms, water fountains, and automatic recording microphones. It also includes
storage for instruments, marching band equipment, and art supplies.
The community voted on the new wing during a budget vote two years ago, and
construction began in September 2017. Workers finished construction for the first day of school
On September 25th, there was an official ribbon-cutting ceremony where the Chamber
singers and Wind Ensemble performed. Mr. Sisia conducted the Wind Ensemble and Ms.
Dissinger led the Chamber Singers. To everyone's surprise, award-winning musician Billy Joel
even made a guest appearance at the opening.
Mr. Giannetta, middle school music teacher, and Mr. Sisia, high school music teacher, sat
down to answer a few questions about the new wing.
1.) How have your new students responded to the wing?
“I think they enjoy it a lot. It’s cool because they don't have prior knowledge of what the old
band room was. They just have a nice space to work in. I think they are really enjoying it.”
“Super excited. Students are down here more than usual. Kids are coming down after school,
during free periods, and before school. Plus the air conditioner is nice.”
2.) What’s your favorite addition to the wing?
“My favorite addition to the wing has to be the climate control. This feature is great for
personalized comfort and great for our instruments.”
“The students must really love the air conditioning, but I like the fact that we can spread out a lot
more. As players, our posture improves when we aren’t on top of one another.”
3.) What new technology is incorporated in the wing?
“New mics were built into the music rooms and offices to record and playback audio. This
allows us to record ourselves in rehearsal and see how we sound right away. This also helps kids
record for college auditions and to earn scholarships and opportunities. Another great feature is
the Qomo sliding screens that show videos and other educational features from the computer.”
“The ability to record. This is going to be a game changer in two ways. The first is that seniors
who are applying to college using the common application can now record their excerpts right
from these practice rooms, and put it onto a memory card. Also, we can now record rehearsal
instantly and play it right back to everybody. So that is immediate feedback. It’s one thing if a
teachers tells you, ‘You’re playing too loudly,’ but it’s another to hear the mistake yourself.’”
4.) What new challenges have you faced in the new band room?
“Getting used to the new space and understanding how to organize it correctly has been a
challenge. For example, there are tons of new lockers rather than the shelves that I was used to.
So now Mr. Sisia and I have been trying to figure out an operating system that will allow us to
make the music program run smoothly.”
“The only challenge was getting moved in on time. So this was finished literally right before the
first day of school. The challenge for us was getting everything moved back from the old spaces
into our new space. Even now, we aren’t completely done. I’d say we’re probably about 75%
moved in, and we just had a ribbon cutting ceremony. It was still a challenge starting the year
from a teaching perspective just like every other year, but now getting into the new space.”