Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fall Play 2013

On Friday evening, I had the wonderful opportunity to sit in the audience for a change and enjoy a program. 

Being a performing arts educator, I am usually in the "hot seat" on performance nights praying that all goes well with the technical side of things, no one faints under the lights and that everything we've worked so hard to accomplish comes together when it matters most!!

It was a stress-free evening for me as I sat and watched ten of my chorus students show off their versatility as actors.  I don't always get to see that side of them, except for Phillip, who is always very dramatic and quite entertaining.  The dynamic in our classroom will never again be the same once he graduates.

I've never been a fan of horror flicks.  They frighten me and I have nightmares, so I tend to steer clear of them.  However, this shtick was pretty funny.  I am certain that I would have understood the jokes and appreciated the nuances in the script more if I had seen the main characters - Dracula, Frankenstein and Swamp Thing -  in their various roles on the big screen.  Background knowledge is critical for a truly enriching artistic experience and I came up a little short on Friday night.

The set was very elaborate and so were the costumes.  Mrs. Fallon did a fantastic job with the costumes and make-up.  Just watching the show took me back to my days in college when I sang in the Opera Chorus at FSU.  Stage make-up, sets, costumes, lights, song....very sweet memories.  I was part of something bigger than myself and that's what made it so exciting!!  Matter of fact, I was a bit envious sitting out in the audience and would have loved to don a costume and make-up again.  Maybe Mr. Ming can work me into his next show.  I'd love it!!

My heartfelt congratulations to everyone who was involved in this production!! I can't wait to see what they drum up for the Spring musical.....

"The Return of Dracula's Return Part VII - Retirement Bites"
Written, Produced and Directed by our very own Thomas Ming

Until next time...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Roger Takes the Crown!!

Friday, November 8, 2013 is a day I will remember for many years to come.

We experienced an unusual temperature inversion yesterday.  The high temperature for the day was recorded at 12:05 a.m.  It was 71 degrees and balmy.  The low temperature for the day was recorded at 7:05 a.m.  It was 54 degrees with a wind chill factor that made it feel much colder.  Weather in Florida in the Fall and Spring is extremely unpredictable.  Voting for a school's Homecoming King and Queen can be just as unpredictable...

This was my first Homecoming as the Director of Choral Activities at Fletcher Senior High.  I graduated from Fletcher and have attended numerous Homecoming games over the years, but last night was very special.  Several years ago, I sat in the stands and witnessed something that touched me to the very core of my being.  A young lady was crowned Homecoming Queen.  The crowning of a queen is part of the pageantry, however, this young lady had Down's Syndrome.  I was deeply touched by the choice the students made that year and was extremely proud to have been part of Fletcher's legacy.  The students were able to look past this young lady's disability and honor her in this way.  It was a beautiful sight to behold.

Several weeks ago, a young man came to me and said, "Mrs. Tamburrino, you have to make sure that Roger gets on the Homecoming ballot.  He can win this thing and he deserves it."  I said to this young man (who was also a senior and I was fairly certain he would be running against Roger), "I am sorry, but your request is out of my control.  It is up to the chorus students to nominate our candidates." Needless to say, Roger was nominated to represent Chorus along with another very dear student, Maggie.  I taught Maggie in elementary school and she is one of the most hard-working and dedicated individuals you will ever meet.  I felt that they would represent our organization well and was pleased to place them on the ballot.  The part that not everyone knows is that both of these students have learning disabilities that they must work hard to overcome on a daily basis.  I admire their courage and I admire their tenacity.  They work so hard and are such an integral part of the Chorus, I am honored to be their teacher.

If you have attended a Fletcher football game in the past four years, you have seen Roger.  He positions himself on the outside of the track right in front of the Fletcher Dance Team.  He knows every routine and he dances the entire game.  Last week was his final opportunity to dance with the girls. With 5 minutes left in the game, I watched as the dance teacher made her way down to Roger, reached into her gig bag, gave him a pair of purple pom-poms and opened the gate for him to walk out onto the track and dance in the line with the dance team.  I burst into tears.  It was one of the most touching moments I have ever witnessed at a football game.  Roger was beaming with excitement and I thought nothing could top this.  I was wrong.

Last night, the students of Fletcher Senior High School did it again and Roger was crowned Homecoming King 2013.  Candidates are not allowed to campaign for this honor, so the outcome really lies in the hands of the student body.  I was so proud of Roger and so proud of the students at Fletcher.  Their ability to look outside themselves and choose to honor a peer in this way is something very special.  When they announced his name, the crowd went wild I was so grateful to have been a part of it!

Fletcher Homecoming King 2013

Roger with his trophy
(the young man who came to me and asked me
to make sure Roger made it on the ballot is 
standing in the background in his tuxedo 
with that HUGE grin on his face.)

Parade around the track

I would also like to honor several nominees who were placed on the ballot by other clubs and organizations. These students sing in my top vocal ensemble and deserve to be recognized here as well.
  • Phillip
  • Brad
  • Sara
  • Logan
  • Ellie (stand-in)
  • Jack (2nd Runner Up)
I am so proud of each of you!!!!!!

Until next time...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Veterans Day Ceremony at San Pablo

Today, my Vocal Ensemble traveled to San Pablo Elementary to participate in their Veterans Day Ceremony.  Principal Kim Bays shared her thoughts on why we should honor our Veterans and she included thoughts on the matter from several former presidents as well.  

The little guys, decked out in red-white and blue, were waving flags and singing patriotic songs.  The Fletcher Middle School Band played an Armed Forces medley and the Fletcher High Vocal Ensemble sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic."  Our very own James Lanier closed out the ceremony with the playing of TAPS.

Honored guests from the Navy were visibly moved by the presentation and my students shook their hands at the conclusion of the ceremony and thanked them for their service.

Thank you to Principal Bays and to Jarika Olberg (music teacher at San Pablo) for coordinating this event.

Vocal Ensemble performing "Battle Hymn of the Republic"

Thanking honorees for their service to America

Photo Op

Good times.....

Until next time....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

All-State Auditions 2013

On September 21, nine of my advanced chorus students spent most of their Saturday at La Villa School of the Arts auditioning for the 2014 All-State Chorus.  This was by choice.  They sat for a written exam, which was then graded on the spot.  If they scored enough points on the written exam, they were called in to sight-sing for an adjudicator.  If they read a certain number of measures correctly, they would then be asked to learn audition music and vocal exercises for a Vocal Quality audition on Saturday, October 26th.  The selection process is both complex and nerve-wracking (for student and teacher).  Of the nine that participated in the first audition, six made the cut.  I could not have been more proud of their efforts.

They spent the next four weeks learning music and practicing specific vocal exercises that would be used in the Vocal Quality Exam on October 26th.  Each student is competing against other high school students from across the State of Florida for a coveted spot in either the Mixed Chorus, the Women's Chorus, the Men's Chorus or the Sight-Reading Chorus.  Each chorus has approximately 200 participants and will perform at the Florida Music Educators convention in January, 2014,  in Tampa, Florida.

The Vocal Quality exam is recorded and then shipped out to choral music educators who will grade each audition.  We are hoping to have the results by mid-November.  Once the results are in, I will update that information in this blog post, so stay tuned...

Pre-audition rehearsal in the cafeteria

Working together on the men's part
Aren't they a good-looking bunch????

Until next time....