Sara Swanson

MHS student & bassoonist, Cozette Cecconie to bring unique concert to Manchester

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Cozette Cecconie and Blue Lake conductor, John Heath, in the town of Figeac, France. Photo courtesy of John Woodford.

submitted by John Woodford, Washtenaw Community College Band

Thanks to Manchester High School senior Cozette Cecconie, two prominent musical ensembles will present a joint free concert in the high school auditorium, 20500 Dutch Dr., at 7:30 pm, Thursday, July 27.

“I play bassoon in the Washtenaw Community Concert Band in Ann Arbor,” Cozette says, “and this summer I also traveled to Europe with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp’s Southern Winds. So I thought, wouldn’t it be great if the two groups could perform together?”

Although her first name was inspired by a heroine in Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables, Cozette’s family is not French. “A lot of people in France recognized my name, of course,” she says, “and I automatically felt a connection with them because of it. And although I hadn’t studied French prior to this trip, I did learn quite a bit.”

Before embarking on her month in France and Italy, Cozette, who is 17 years old, knew that the Southern Winds always present local concerts around the state upon their return. “I thought Manchester would be a natural for the Southern Winds,” she says, “but then I thought, why not add the WCCB to the program, too?” She took her idea to Southern Winds director John Heath and to Dr. Christopher Heidenreich, director of the Washtenaw Community Concert Band (WCCB).

“We have combined forces with other youth ensembles,” Heidenreich says, “but our usual venue can’t hold 80 of us and 40 of them. Thanks to Cozette, we got access to Manchester High.” Heath saw the joint concert as totally in keeping with the young Blue Lake musicians’ role as “goodwill ambassadors” on both sides of the Atlantic. “Cozette’s group is one of six Blue Lake ensembles of 13- to 18-year-olds who have returned from touring abroad to present mini-tours throughout Michigan,” he says.

While in Europe, Cozette visited several towns in southern France, staying with host families while participating in a series of concerts in which 30 or so French students joined the Blue Lake contingent.

“In Espalion,” she says, “my host sister Zoe’s family had sheep. They brought a bunch of different cheeses out at a meal. I could have eaten all of it. And I climbed a hill behind their house with Zoe, and there was a statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the town.”

Her last host family, in Figeac (pop. 9,000), lived about nine miles outside the city, she says. “We went to a little village nearby and saw an old church from the 1100s still mostly intact. The whole village was beautiful.”

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp is based in the town of Twin Lake in the Manistee National Forest near Muskegon. For more information about the camp, go to https://bluelake.org/ For more information about the WCCB, go to http://www.wccband.org/

Blue Lake Southern Winds. Photo courtesy of John Woodford.

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