Article by Adeline Van Buskirk, HHS Senior
Photos by Adeline Van Buskirk and Joshua Ross
Brian Cincotta was caught off guard by his students in a surprise drive-by parade in front of his Hingham home on May 12th.
The pandemic robbed the Hingham High School Seniors of many important moments. For those of us in the band, there was no moment more important than the spring concert, where we would don our concert black and perform with our favorite people for the last time. For seniors in the past, this concert honored the end of a high school band career, provided closure and reflection on the hard work behind them, and, most importantly, gave them the chance to demonstrate their appreciation for the man who made this whole experience possible: Mr. Cincotta, Hingham High School’s beloved band director.
Mr. Cincotta, for me at least, wasn’t just the band director. His true passion for his work, endlessly understanding outlook, and genuine care for the wellbeing of his students made him a significant influence on my life. Whenever things in school became overwhelming, I always had a place to go where I could feel safe and appreciated. Whenever I felt like making music was hard, he reminded me why I love doing it. He welcomed us into the band program as goofy seventh graders and magically turned us into accomplished musicians. Mr. Cincotta is a pillar of the HHS community and has shaped hundreds of kids’ lives.
Mr. Cincotta leading one of many bands throughout the district for both the Middle School and High School.
Music has been a gift for us, so when the school year ended unexpectedly in March, the Hingham Band seniors knew we still had to find a safe way to honor the rituals of the spring concert. “We had to find some way to say thank you,” clarinetist Raffi Alexander says, “to give appreciation for the last six years of joy he’s given us.”
We put our heads together, and in birthday parade fashion, we planned to have the HHS Band seniors drive by Mr. Cincotta’s home, with signs, a binder of letters, and a brand-new 17 string harp, on May 12th, the night for which the spring concert was originally planned.
“It was heartwarming,” says senior bass clarinet player Harriet Wiley, “seeing Mr. Cincotta fall to the ground in surprise.” “It was great for us, too, because it gave us closure on having our senior year in band end unexpectedly,” says flutist Sophie Spielberger.
Horn player Maja Nielsen wrote, “I’m glad that, despite our circumstances, we were still able to show Mr. Cincotta a small token of our endless appreciation.” Flutist Claire Fennelly added, “it was comforting to know, even in this difficult time, that we seniors could unite to thank our teacher of six years.”
Oboist Gwen Moyer summed up the experience nicely: “Although it wasn’t the ideal send-off we all wanted, I am so happy we got to show Mr. Cincotta how much he matters to us.”
Through quarantine, Mr. Cincotta continues to demonstrate his passion for the band and his care of his students, hosting bi-weekly recitals and concerts over Zoom. This last Thursday, he hosted another important event gone virtual: the Bandys (a la Grammys, Tonys, Emmys), an awards show with funny categories (like “Second Best Section,” and “I am my Instrument”) that the members of the band vote on. It’s efforts like these that keep this difficult time bearable and remind us what makes educators truly great.