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Medina High School Students Make Video Music Debut

When Medina High School orchestra students walked into class after winter break, they were presented with a unique and selective volunteer opportunity. A Cleveland-based band named RECESS would film a professional music video for their single “Leaving Home” on the stage of the Medina Performing Arts Center in late January and wanted to feature the sounds of orchestral strings from talented students in the local area. Director Brad Golowin-- known for working with notable bands Red Sun Rising and Sleeping with Sirens-- was one of several music professionals producing the video. After careful consideration by Shelly Jansen, Medina High School orchestra director, seniors Claire Johnson and Elizabeth (“Zizi”) Toth were chosen as two students among many of the area high school performers who would participate.


“When I found out that I was selected, I was thrilled!” said Elizabeth Toth on hearing the news. “I knew it was going to be an exciting experience and I couldn’t wait.” She felt prepared and eager to play after discovering RECESS’s alternative rock style. “I wasn’t expecting such a sophisticated sound of the strings in addition to the other instruments… I was very surprised and impressed.” Tracy Fondale, RECESS band manager, felt the mixture of string instruments with the band’s distinct, alternative rock sound would turn out to be “a fantastic piece of art.”


On Thursday, January 31st, that ‘fantastic piece of art’ would come to life on the Medina Performing Arts Center stage. Once on set, Elizabeth and Claire quickly mingled with other local orchestra students with anxious excitement. Meeting the band, directors, and students involved helped ease the nerves before filming began. “I met a girl named Alex, who played the violin,” noted Elizabeth, “and I met most of the viola players. I also met the drummer, Arslan, and the guitarist, Alex.” As everyone settled into their roles and began practicing together, a collaborative atmosphere was imminent. “During the shoot, the sheet music actually had a couple of mistakes in the bridge of ‘Leaving Home,’” mentioned RECESS band manager Tracy Fondale. “It was really inspiring to see the orchestra collude with the band and fix these mistakes all amongst each other before the shoot began.”


Working alongside fellow orchestra students throughout the film session made the experience unforgettable. “The lighting, the cameras, the way the band members jumped around... everything was incredible,” describes Elizabeth. “To be playing all together with an orchestra gave us all so much energy and allowed us to express ourselves through the music.” It became clear the music video would be a major success as Fondale noticed the band and students began playing together as a team in beautiful synchronicity. “In my experience,” Fondale observed of the fading nervous tension, “music tends to do that to people.” Filled with wonder by the end of the night, Elizabeth knew she had been lucky to be part of something larger than herself. “It was amazing to gather together with people I didn’t even know to make music… it was one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life.”

The video can be viewed at