On a recent Friday afternoon when most school students were wrapping up their usual routines for the day, Mattituck High School juniors Joe Kelly and Sascha Rosin were taking part in something never done before.
In fact, the two music students and band teacher Melanie Malusa were accomplishing a feat so rare it may land them in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The trio was among 277 musicians who assembled at Northport High School Jan. 29 to join the largest French horn ensemble ever put together. The event, which featured players ranging from fourth grade to the professional level, was staged to set the record.
They ended up shattering the previous standard, set in 2007 by the Fox Hollow Horn Club of Wisconsin with an 85-member group.
Ms. Malusa, 25, from Huntington said she heard of the event when Joe and Sascha approached her about attending.
“I thought that was really nice of them that they instigated the whole thing,” Ms. Malusa said, adding that because it’s her first year as Mattituck’s high school band teacher, she was thrilled to see the students showing so much interest. “They were both really excited to go.”
Ms. Malusa said the Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association previously briefly held a record for largest horn ensemble before being eclipsed by the Art of Living Foundation from India in 2013. This time they set their sights specifically on the French horn standard.
In order to be considered an official Guinness World Record a representative from Guinness had to be present at the concert. The representative, along with a SCMEA volunteer, stood at the door and counted each member who walked in. The doors were shut and blocked off to ensure no one left, Ms. Malusa said.
Additionally, each participant was given a number they had to repeat into a camera. During the performance, which consisted of four songs learned earlier that day, Guinness said there was close-up video taken to ensure that everyone was actually playing, rather than just sitting idly on stage.
Ms. Malusa said the footage is now being reviewed, but once the record is verified each member of the band who requested a certificate from Guinness World Records will receive one with their name on it.
“It’s really cool,” said Ms. Malusa, who’s been playing the French horn since ninth grade. “It’s just something so specific. Sitting in there with 277 horns, the sound is just unreal. It just feels like it’s all around you.”
Photo Caption: The view of the record breaking French horn ensemble from Ms. Malusa’s seat at SCMEA day of horn. (Credit: Courtesy)