Still hitting the right notes: 3 Dunkirk seniors earn honors

Nicholas Russell

Special to the OBSERVER

In a year like no other, 2020 has proven that the music students of Dunkirk High School can and will rise above the adversity and gain the highest New York state honors in music. Three DHS students will be participating in Conference All-State Honors Ensembles this fall. These students have earned their places in the ensembles through their top scores on their last New York State School Music Association solo.

¯ Makayla Pasierb, a senior at Dunkirk High School has earned a spot in the state Conference All-State Mixed Choir. She was selected as a Soprano 2 based on her NYSSMA solo scores from her sophomore year. This honors ensemble will be held virtually this year.

Makayla has been in the cast of at least 10 musicals where her two favorite roles were Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” and Golde in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Makayla sings with the DHS Chorus and Select Choir as well as with her church choir. In addition to her musical achievements, Makayla is on the school bowling team and has the incredible achievement of bowling a 300-point perfect game at sectionals this year. She is one of the top 10 students in the Class of 2021 and plans to pursue a career in music therapy.

Makayla Pasierb

¯ Nicholas Russell, a senior at Dunkirk High School, has been selected as the timpanist for the 2020 Conference All-State Symphony Orchestra.

Nick earned this position by scoring multiple 100’s on his NYSSMA solos in his Sophomore year. While the event will not be in person, Nick will have the opportunity to perform virtually with many other talented musicians across the State.

He is active in the High School Music Department performing in Concert Band on all things Percussion, a drum set musician in Jazz Ensemble and our Quad player for Marching Band. Nick was also slated to perform in the Pit Orchestra on Set for the musical Fiddler on the Roof in March of 2020. He has been selected for All-County ensembles since 5th grade, Zone I Junior and Senior High Area All-States in his freshman and junior years and was selected as the set player for the 2020 CCMTA Jazz Ensemble in February.

¯ Mia Piede, a senior at Dunkirk High School, was selected as a clarinetist for the 2020 NYSSMA Conference All-State Symphonic Band. Mia earned this placement based on her NYSSMA All-State score in her Sophomore year. All eight of NYSSMA’s Conference ensembles will include virtual performances with talented students from across New York State.

Mia is deeply engaged in the school’s Music Department playing clarinet in Concert Band, doubling on Tenor Saxophone in Jazz Ensemble and singing in both Chorus and Select Choir. She regularly performs and sings at church as well. Mia is also a scholar athlete who is currently ranked at the top of her class and has actively played on Dunkirk’s Soccer, Indoor Track and Softball teams. After high school, Mia plans on going to college to study psychology.

Mia Piede


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