January was quite a month…we are all just catching our breath from a whirlwind of cultural activities…all funded by the Bay Shore Schools Arts Education Fund (BSSAEF).
From Broadway to Bay Shore: Musical Theater Residency
On Monday, January 9 over 100 choir and drama students listened to visiting musical theater pros Bill Daugherty and Deborah Tranelli explain in story and song how the issues of race and racism have been dealt with in musicals. The hour-long program featured songs spanning the entire 20th century including numbers from The George White Scandals, Showboat, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret and Avenue Q.
The singers were accompanied by pianist, Doyle Newmyer. The afternoon Q&A session gave students the opportunity to discuss vocal technique with these seasoned performers. Daugherty and Tranelli will return to Bay Shore in February for an afternoon of vocal coaching. Students who are preparing for the spring musical, and/ or NYSSMA are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.
Electrify Your Strings: Mark Wood Rocks the House
January 9 was also the first day of a week-long residency by the “Pied Piper” of electric strings, the charismatic Mark Wood. Wood performed assemblies in both Gardiner Manor and South Country and worked closely with string players from the Middle and High Schools. The residency was capped off by an extraordinary concert the evening of Jan. 12, 2012. With string players ranging from ages 9 to 18 on the stage, in front of the stage and filling the aisles, one would have thought that Bay Shore had become a school of performing arts. The auditorium was packed with parents, siblings and friends of the performers…all cheering wildly after each number.
First Annual BSSAEF Dance Benefit and Choreography Contest
Finally, on Saturday January 21, Bay Shore’s talented dancers took the stage for the first annual BSSAEF Dance Benefit, featuring the District’s first student choreography contest, performance by the High School Dance Team, the Fosse Project, coached by guest artist David Bushman, himself the former Dance Captain of the National Tour of the hit musical Chicago, the virtuosic break dance troupe IVANROCKS, and even a number performed by a brave and enthusiastic group of teachers.
Providing a bit of historical context, BSSAEF chair Susan Barbash presented a selection of film clips from Hollywood’s greatest Movie Musicals. The audience delighted in the performances of Bill Bojangles Robinson, Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. But the gasps of amazement and loudest cheers went to the incomparable Nicholas Brothers who were featured in two film clips. Following the film portion of the evening, all eyes were on the five finalists of the first annual BSSAEF Choreography Contest. Every number was unique….and when it came time for the audience members to text in their votes, the choice was difficult.
First Prize was awarded to duo, Arje Brothers and Remington Peters – who are actually aunt and nephew. Second Prize went to another family act, sister and brother Joy and Jordan Norris. Soloist Boris Diaz went home with Third Prize. All finalist including break dancers Moses Narvate, Chester Costales, and Allen Iracuente and merengue dancers Cindy Flores, Nicole Stahler, Sebastian Guzman and Andres Cabrera were awarded membership to the Great South Bay YMCA.
Choreography contest winners and the talented performers shared the stage for the final bows…an exciting end to an amazing month….
Please consider this….the Bay Shore School District has a long history of supporting the arts. However, in these times of economic stress, every school district has to watch every penny it spends. This is why groups like the BSSAEF, Music Sponsors and Theater Sponsors are so important to the cultural life of our students. You do not have to be as rich as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to be a benefactor. Any contribution you make…whatever the amount…will benefit our children and our district. Please support the organizations that support cultural arts in the Bay Shore Schools!