The FTHS Music Department and Its Distinct Sound


Edward Stuart, Staff Writer

It comes with no question that the Freehold Township High School music department lies within the talents of the most precocious students and staff. One may find a charming quality to the sounds FTHS has to offer- something that can draw even the most casual listeners into the remarkable, conspicuous depths of sound and mood. Being that I am a proud member of the music department’s symphonic band, I would like to share with you these unspoken components that ensure a thriving musical performance.  

First and foremost, the musical medium and instrumentation extend beyond the piece as the composer intended it to be. To put it bluntly, the symphonic band’s director, Mr. Gattsek, employs a variety of techniques that are distinct and unthought of. In this light, his creativity and willingness to experiment with all forms of sound during rehearsal time are displayed within the amazing final result. Some may say that a composer wants the players of his composition to tinker with whatever they wish, but Mr. Gattsek exceeds this in all boundaries. He has a high sense of trustworthiness in his symphonic band due to their unparalleled skills, which are rather unbeknownst to most people. 

In March 2022, eighteen FTHS students were accepted into the All-Shore Symphonic Band or ASIBDA. This quantity was a great outlier among those accepted in other schools in the Freehold Regional High School District! The second-highest number of students accepted hailed from Howell High School, which were only six. Those who are accepted into All-Shore also have an opportunity to venture into the highly competitive All-State band. 

Another great contribution to the sound of the FTHS symphonic band and the select ensemble is the choir, which is led by Mrs. Conners. With further adieu, Mrs. Conners can bring listeners into a grand cathedral, or even transport them into a ballroom from numerous decades ago. This is made possible by the benevolent ranges each of the choir’s vocalists possesses.

Considering these components, numerous possibilities can come to light. On this past winter concert’s performances, songs such as Elijah and Joshua and what may be considered a modernization of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 in D minor had the proper components to control the listener- soothe them, rouse them, and even rock and roll them. Not to mention, fifteen students have been accepted into 2022’s chorus battery of the ASIBDA!

When these two sounds are conjoined, the result is impeccable and anything can occur. This is especially exemplified in the music department’s production of Alan Billingsley’s Five Favorite Holiday Songs, which represents five notable decades of music. From the slow, moody swing of the 1940s, up to the thriving and fervid rocks of the 1980s, the FTHS music department has the ability to blow any listener away. 

To our music students- all of your contributions, past and present, are appreciated by the school community as much as they are the general listener! In short, your talents are more than exceptional.