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Director of orchestras chosen as a top conductor for national ensembles

Jean+Mont%C3%A8s%2C+associate+professor+of+music+and+director+of+orchestras%2C+has+been+chosen+as+one+of+five+conductors+to+lead+more+than+500+high+school+students+in+Orlando%2C+Florida+for+the+All+National+Honor+Ensembles+next+Thanksgiving.
Jean Montès, associate professor of music and director of orchestras, has been chosen as one of five conductors to lead more than 500 high school students in Orlando, Florida for the All National Honor Ensembles next Thanksgiving.

Jean Montès, associate professor of music and director of orchestras, has been chosen as one of five conductors to lead more than 500 high school students in Orlando, Florida for the All National Honor Ensembles next Thanksgiving.

Erin Snodgrass

Erin Snodgrass

Jean Montès, associate professor of music and director of orchestras, has been chosen as one of five conductors to lead more than 500 high school students in Orlando, Florida for the All National Honor Ensembles next Thanksgiving.

Erin Snodgrass

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Jean Montès, associate professor of music and director of orchestras, has been chosen as one of five conductors to lead more than 500 high school students in Orlando, Florida for the All National Honor Ensembles next Thanksgiving.

At the event, singers and instrumentalists will be trained by some of the top musicians in their fields.

Montès found out he had been chosen as one of five conductors over December break, but the news was made public in January.

Montès, who plays piano, violin, viola, bass, percussion and, primarily, cello will conduct the symphony orchestra made up of 120 students who have qualified for their state’s All-State Festival and who have received a high ranking according to their state’s criteria.

“It’s usually three to five days. Students arrive and they undergo very intense rehearsals, and then there is a performance at the end by each of the ensembles,” he said.

Montès said he is excited to develop students’ musical understanding and refinement during the event.

“I’m always interested in the connections that are created with those musicians that are coming from different places and do not know each other,” he said. “I like to find ways to get them to open up to one another.”

In addition to the symphony orchestra, there is also a mixed choir, concert band, jazz ensemble and guitar ensemble, according to Kristen Rencher, director of member and student programs for the National Association for Music Education, which is the organization that hosts the event.

Montès and his fellow conductors were selected by the organization’s All-National Honor ensemble committee and the national executive board, according to Rencher.

“Dr. Montès is an outstanding musician and conductor with an international reputation,” Rencher said. “His passion, not only for traditional orchestral repertoire but also for music from a variety of cultures, has been an inspiration to those who have worked with him during past events.”

Although the event is in November, Montès’ preparation begins right away. He is in charge of selecting engaging and challenging repertoire for the students to perform in a 45-minute program.

“There are national standards that have to be targeted in each of the pieces that are set forward by the association,” Montès said.

Once the association approves his repertoire choices, Montès must prepare and mark the different musical parts and send the music out to participating students.

Montès also brings something unique to the position: his Haitian heritage and expertise. He describes himself as a Haitian conductor.

“In my case, they requested one or two pieces that are part of my background, so they wanted something that is sort of international, but preferably reflects the culture of Haiti,” Montès said, “something that no other director would have in their repertoire.”

“NAfME (the National Association for Music Education) is honored that he accepted the invitation to share his time and talents with the students who will be performing in the 2018 All-National Honors Orchestra,” Rencher said.

In addition to his Loyola duties, Montès is also the music director of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra. Despite the busy schedule, he said he doesn’t think of any of it as work, but as a calling.

“It is an honor and a service to be an educator,” Montès said.

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About the Contributor
Erin Snodgrass, Managing Editor for Electronic Proporties

Erin Snodgrass is a Mass Communication sophomore. She is incredibly excited to be the Managing Editor for Electronic Properties this semester. She has also worked as the News Editor, Assistant Religion Editor and a Contributing Writer for The Maroon. In her spare time she enjoys binge watching Netflix and listening to classic rock.

Contact: [email protected] or @erinsnod

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