It’s competition season for Trottier music ensembles, and as they have in past years, the groups are earning accolade after accolade: honorable mention at the University of New Hampshire’s prestigious Jazz Festival in March. Silver at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductor’s Association last month.
But Trottier Music Director Jamie Clark says for his student musicians, it’s never been about the medals. And that’s particularly true this year after the death of band member Eric Green in January.
“We did not want to go in there and ‘win this for Eric’,” Clark said of the school’s recent performance at MICCA. “We wanted to go in and do our best, which is exactly how Eric approached things…We felt we honored Eric and his memory and the way he lived his life.”
Clark said music has helped his students cope with the loss of their classmate. A seventh grader at Trottier and trumpet player in the school’s Big Band and concert band, Eric passed away suddenly after a seizure at home in January.
“We’re a very close-knit group. It was devastating in January,” Clark said. “The way they have rallied around each other has been phenomenal.”
Clark said Eric was a popular student among his peers. “He was quiet until he laughed. He had one of those laughs that made you laugh.”
In honor of Eric, the Trottier musicians donned small bits of green when they took the stage at MICCA: green ties gracing concert attire, green ribbons woven in hair and around instruments.
Clark said all three Trottier ensembles that performed at MICCA – the 7th and 8th Grade Concert Band, 6th Grade Concert Band, and Orchestra – performed incredibly well. Each ensemble earned a silver medal from the judges.
“It wasn’t about getting the gold. They felt they were doing this one for us, and Eric was part of us,” Clark said. “They’re proud of themselves and of us as a family. They’re just remarkable people.”
The Trottier Big Band will perform this afternoon, and the Stage Band tomorrow, in the Massachusetts Association of Jazz Educators festival. Both performances start at 3:00 pm in the Trottier auditorium and are open to the public.