Who says raining days can get you down? That was not the mood of the 97 seventh- and eighth-grade students from Camden Rockport Middle School as members of the Vocal Ensemble/Symphonic Band in Derry, N.H., at the Great East Music Festival May 24.

These vocal and band events are the two oldest and most accomplished groups out of the six music groups at the middle school. Certainly a group of students who work hard and take their talents very seriously.

The Great East Festival is an opportunity for music students to grow by performing in front of adjudicators, receiving formative evaluation and feedback. Clinicians will offer students suggestions, for growth and improvement as well as foster a feeling of accomplishment and well-being. This festival provides students exposure to other ensembles from around New England. They had the chance to listen and watch other ensembles perform and share experiences with different schools and states.

This is how the morning at CRMS started May 24: We met, in the pouring rain, at the school by 6 a.m., loaded instruments and students with an organized check list done by the wonderful team of 15 parent chaperones, Allysa Anderson, the chorus director and  Jason Ward, the band director. Once all the instruments and students were accounted for and dried off, everyone loaded onto the buses.

As the buses traveled with a convoy of parents following, there was an unexpected stop. One of the buses needed a windshield wiper repair, and so they took a brief stop in Wiscasset to wait for a new bus to carry on. Not, a problem, once the group arrived in New Hampshire, the chorus was whisked into a practice room to warm up for about 15 minutes, and they were ready. They entered the gymnasium and the performance of three songs, was amazing and brought tears to the eyes of the parents lucky enough to be there. The judge came over and applauded the group and then handed the chorus and the director, Anderson, a gold plaque. Very impressive and proud were the words that came to mind.

Directly following the chorus was the band. The trombones were complemented on how well they sounded and held their instruments; the judge asked if they could do a few stanzas for him, and it was a complement to the band and the director, they were also awarded a gold plaque. Not a bad finale to the musical event.

Once, the group packed up the buses and vehicles with the instruments and students, they wasted no time to invade Canobie Amusement Park to celebrate their collaborative musical success. The kids managed to get soaked, as their favorite ride was the super soaker roller coaster. Everyone stayed together, they were all such wonderful representatives of the school, with good manners, will behaved, and respectful to everyone they encountered. The students are still talking about their adventure and their favorite rides. Everyone made it home safe and sound and tired, especially the chaperones.

This week the students will meet in their classrooms to listen to their performances and the judges’ commentaries, over the audiotapes provided. Then they will be asked to critique themselves and look for places to celebrate as well as places to improve musically.