Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School Students Win Awards at Heritage Festival Competition

Led by director Michael Higgins, Saint Andrew’s choirs bring home gold awards for fourth consecutive year; receives second invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall
May 9, 2011 - PRLog -- Celebrating 50 years as a coeducational, Pre-K through Grade Eight day school serving over 15 communities in the South Bay and Peninsula Area, Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School ( today announced that both its Middle School Concert Choir and Jazz Pop Ensemble have received multiple awards including gold medal first place rankings at the 2011 Heritage Music Festival ( in Anaheim on April 29.

Out of the 36 schools from around the United States, including New Mexico, Alaska, Nevada, and California who attended this Festival, Saint Andrew’s earned the highest scores of any Middle School or Jr. High School and second highest score from among all the competitors, including High Schools.

The choir’s outstanding scores ranked them in the top three percent of schools competing nationwide and earned them their second consecutive invitation to participate in the prestigious Festivals of Gold event at Carnegie Hall.  This is also the fourth consecutive year that Saint Andrew’s students’ musical performances have achieved gold plaques.

“It has been thrilling to witness and experience the remarkable commitment, camaraderie, personal character, and musical proficiency that the students displayed in their preparation, performances, and interaction with others,” said Michael Higgins, music teacher and choir director at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School. “I feel so blessed to be able to work and play with such stellar pupils.”

Performing “Festival Gloria,” “He’s Gone Away,” and accompanied by the school’s Jazz Combo Instrumentalists “Special Flavah” for “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” the Concert Choir of 43 students earned first place in their category with 97 points out of a possible 100. Judged by professional choral conductors based on a national set of performance standards and criteria, the Concert Choir was also given the prestigious Adjudicators Award for earning 95 points or higher.

The Jazz Pop Ensemble, a group of 12 students, also accompanied by “Special Flavah” performed “Mr. Sandman,” “Summertime,” and “Lean on Me.”  They earned 93 points and were also invited to perform at the Festivals of Gold.

For his role in accompanying the choir, seventh grade student and gifted pianist Alex Chien was also selected to receive the coveted Maestro award, given to a one performer in the entire competition.  Alex has performed in venues around the world for his piano playing, and recently placed first in the Junior Solo Division of the 2011 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition.

“With his dedication, creativity, and a ‘rock to Bach’ teaching methodology that truly engages our students in the study of music, Mr. Higgins has helped create a Middle School music program that is not just among the best in our area, but among the very best in the nation,” said Head of School Harry V. McKay, Jr. “I am so impressed with our students, not just for their well-earned scores, but for displaying outstanding character and friendship while meeting others students from around the country.”

For more information about the music and arts program at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School, visit

About Heritage Festivals
Heritage Festivals specializes in life-changing music festivals where, through spirited competition, internationally-renowned adjudication, and top-notch venues, music transcends the ordinary to become art. What started 30 years ago with a goal to recognize, encourage, and celebrate musical artistry and excellence at the high school and middle school levels, has evolved into the country’s most prestigious high school music festivals.  For more information, visit

About Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School
Currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School is a coeducational, pre-K through 8th grade day school. Saint Andrew’s offers a traditional academic program with enrichment in the areas of the studio and performing arts, physical education, foreign languages, technology, character development, and community service. The school aims to educate the whole student, developing as fully as possible the intellectual, spiritual, physical, and social capacities of each student. For more information visit

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Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School is a coed, pre-K - 8th grade school in Saratoga, Calif. offering a traditional academic program with enrichment in arts, phys education, foreign languages, technology, character development and community service.
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