Sunday, December 14, 2014

'Tis the Season to Make Music

O.K, Folks....It's December and with the onset of December comes much music-making.  The Fletcher High Chorus has certainly enjoyed their share of it!!

Actually, it all began back in November on Veteran's Day and has morphed into the holiday season.  We sang on Veteran's Day at Beaches Veteran's Memorial Park, at a fundraising event at the American Legion Post 129, and at "Holidays in the Village," a fundraiser for the Beaches Historical Museum.  The following weekend, we performed at "Christmas in the Park" for the City of Neptune Beach and supported Interact's fundraiser for "K-9s for Wounded Warriors" at Slider's.  Our Holiday Extravaganza concert with the band and dance team at Fletcher was last Thursday and tonight is "Deck the Chairs" - a fundraiser for the Volunteer Lifesaving Corps of Jacksonville Beach.  We will be spreading cheer to holiday travelers on the 18th at Jacksonville International Airport.  And so it goes....

It is a busy time of year for a musician.  I was a charter member of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in my early 20's and I recall December being extremely busy with  performances of Handel's "Messiah."  In my former life, I was a church musician (worship team, children's choir director, adult choir director, soloist, etc.) Three to four services on Christmas Eve, "Holiday Hallelujah" performances, "A Bethlehem Visit" live nativity, midnight mass, candlelight service - you name it - I sang in it!

As I reflect on this aspect of my life, it makes me tired...but it also makes me happy to know that my musical gift has brought so much joy to thousands of people in our community.  My hope is that my students will one day look back on the madness and say, "I sacrificed my time and my energy to bless others" and it was worth it!

I will be planted in the crowd tonight at "Deck the Chairs" to encourage others to join in with the Christmas Carol Sing-Along at the end of the show.  I hope to see you there!!

"Deck the Chairs" - 2014

BEAM food collection station

My peeps!

Boys from the 'hood
 Until next time...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holidays in the Village

Back in the day, our little town was affectionately known as "Pablo Village."  I guess that's where the organizer of this particular fundraiser for the Beaches Historical Museum got the idea for "Holidays in the Village."  Interior Designers from around the community decorated holiday tables and the Singing Senators were asked to perform along with the Sharkapellas of Ponte Vedra High School.  The organizer wanted the beaches communities represented, and represent, we did!

True to form, my students rose to the occasion and attended after-school rehearsals to prepare for this event.  We had no idea a polar vortex would drop down on NE Florida this particular evening.  I must give credit where credit it due - this event was scheduled over our Thanksgiving holiday from school, it was 36 degrees outside on November 28th and we were standing in wet grass singing Christmas Carols for an hour.  Brrrrrrrr..........

Love these students...they were such good sports!
Thank you, Noah, for being the only male in our midst!

December is one of our busiest months during the school year. You can catch the Singing Senators at the following community events over the next several weeks:

Friday, December 5th - Christmas in the Park at Jarboe Park in Neptune Beach - event begins at 6 pm

Sunday, December 7th - Interact Fundraiser for K-9s for Wounded Warriors - Slider's - 5 to 7 p.m.

Thursday, December 11th - Holiday Extravaganza featuring the FHS Band, the FHS Chorus and the FHS Dance Ensemble.  7:00 p.m. in the Fletcher High Auditorium.  Tickets are $5.00 at the door.

Sunday, December 14th - Deck the Chairs at the Sea Walk Pavilion - free.  Performance begins at 7:00 p.m.  Nancy Dance Studio, a string quartet and a mass choir composed of singers from area churches, Fletcher Middle School and Fletcher High School will perform.

Thursday, December 18th - Jacksonville International Airport - 10:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Ya'll

It's Thanksgiving Day, 2014.  My eyes popped open at 3:00 a.m.  It would be hours before I needed to start cooking.  What was I to do?

Well....I decided to grade papers.  I brought a crate full of music theory books home, several concert reflections my Honors students had written and Christmas music on which my beginning piano students had to "write in the counts, letter names and fingering numbers" so we could learn it more quickly upon our return.

Only one eldest son is home from college and is sleeping in one room, my youngest son has the flu and is crashed out on the sofa in the living room, my husband is snoring in our bedroom and my 91-year old father-in-law has taken up residence in another room.  The only place I could find to work was in the bathroom.  The garage wasn't even a consideration; it's too cold outside this time of year.

It is now 5:47 a.m. and I am very happy to report that my work is done (at least for today).  I wish I were the type that could return to the bed, hunker down under the covers and go back to sleep, but I've never been able to do that.  I was trying to figure out how to make a cup of coffee in the kitchen without waking my sick child in the living room, but haven't figured that out yet either.  Lord knows, I could use one.  It's cold on the bathroom floor and my feet are numb from lack of circulation.  Time to get up, move around and greet the dawn with a grateful heart.  I have life, breath, a job, a family that loves me, a roof over my head, an old car that gets me where I need to go - and lots of sunshine!!

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.  There is much for which to be thankful today.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Proud to Be an American!

Last week was filled with patriotism, pride and community performances!

On Tuesday, the Singing Senators performed at the Veteran's Day Ceremony at Beaches Veteran's Memorial Park in Atlantic Beach.  It was a lovely day to celebrate our veterans - past, present and future.  Local ROTC commands were part of the experience and our very own FHS Brass Ensemble performed pre-show music for the audience.  Several hundred locals from around the Beaches community were there to pay their respects and honor those who had served and are currently serving to protect our freedom. 

Last night, an ensemble sang at the American Legion #129 as part of a patriotic program that was written by a former classmate of mine.  Candace asked if we would be part of her production when we bumped into each other at our 35th reunion last summer.  I told her I would be happy to support her efforts and thus our collaboration was born.  Funds raised last night will allow the American Legion to adopt a naval ship for the holidays at Mayport Naval Base and also to help send students to "Girls State" in Tallahassee next spring.  My favorite part of the program was when the wives of the men who are carved into Mt. Rushmore spoke about their husband's individual quirks.  It was quite humorous from the women's vantage point.

My students served food, dessert and sang
in the production.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fall Choral Festival 2014

On November 6, 2014, the Duncan U. Fletcher Senior High School Beginning Mixed Chorus traveled to Atlantic Coast High School to perform in the annual Fall Choral Festival.  This festival provides an opportunity for a chorus to perform in a non-adjudicated setting and for their peers from around the district.

Last year, we were unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, but after experiencing the festival this year, I feel it is a valuable tool for my beginners to get a taste of what it is like at District Music Performance Assessments in the Spring.  Although there is no sight-reading component, the students begin in the auditorium, move to the warm-up room, walk out onstage, perform two songs and exit to the auditorium.  The process is very similar at MPA.  It is not my practice to take the beginning chorus to District MPA, but after the positive experience we had at this festival, it may be a consideration this year.

My students did well.  We only had 34 make the trip out of 48 in the class, but the group was very well-behaved and represented our school well.

Many thanks to Shelli Long for sight-reading our music onstage during the performance.  We only had 3 minutes in the warm-up room for her to look at it.

 Duncan U. Fletcher Senior High Beginning Mixed Chorus

Until next time...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Miss High School Pageant

On Saturday evening, I had the unique privilege of sitting in the audience and enjoying the Miss High School Pageant at the University of North Florida.  Our very own Rachel S. has been in chorus at Fletcher High School for the past four years.  Last year, she was crowned "Miss Fletcher" which provided her with the opportunity to compete in the pageant for the "Miss High School" crown.

Rachel is a charming and talented young lady who is poised, articulate and enjoys sharing her "gift of song" with others.  She is engaging in a dramatic presentation, a musical setting, or chorus concert and it's hard to miss her flaming red curls. She comes alive onstage and I was so glad to learn that she is going to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree after graduation in the spring.

Rachel was selected 2nd Runner-Up in the Miss High School pageant and we are very proud of her accomplishments.  She will be the featured soloist in our fall concert on Tuesday, October 14th.  She will also perform in the Drama department's fall show in November.  Congratulations, Rachel!!

Ellie, Rachel and Thea
Until next time...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Off and Running

It is true.  The school year has officially begun.  I worked most of the summer and found myself in teacher trainings during the months of June, July and August.  Most folks think teachers get an 8-week "break" from their daily routine.  Maybe that's true for some, but not for me.  I spent the summer shuttling my boys to and from work and to and from football practice.  I was an assistant swim coach from May through July and celebrated with family during our annual family reunion.  It blew by so quickly, I am still having a difficult time adjusting to the idea that school has officially begun.

I have 116 chorus students this year. We are currently preparing for several things - All-State auditions, the Disney Candlelight Processional audition and our Fall Concert.  Next week we begin our first fundraiser of the year - Enjoy the City coupon books.  The new "Smart Snack" law has put the kabosh on any candy sales during the school day (one of our biggest money-makers!) so we are looking for other ideas to re-build our operating budget.

I am also teaching two sections of Keyboard 1 and one section of World Music this year.  I have 236 students attached to me.  It is a good thing that I am neurotically organized.  If that weren't enough responsibility, I was called upon to mentor a new teacher this year.  Folks must think I am "Super Teacher."  As the Bible says, "To those to whom much is given, much will be required."  God help me.

Several weeks ago, I did a blind audition for soloists to sing the National Anthem at the varsity football games.  Seven singers made the cut and three of them have represented our program very well under the Friday night lights.  I was at the game last night to conduct the singer in the press box.  Just as I sat down in the bleachers to watch the game, the "heavens declared the glory of God" and it began to rain.  I didn't have an umbrella and neither did my sister.  Needless to day, we were soaked to the bone.

Not only did we get soaked, First Coast High
kicked our tails 18-6. 

My sister is such a gracious person and had agreed to help me prepare the materials for the fundraiser which begins on Monday.  Our plan was to go to the game, sit through the first quarter and then go back to the school and stuff envelopes.  We finally closed up shop at 8:30 p.m. and took our soaking-wet selves home for the night.

Life is always an adventure with me.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

River City Women's Chorus

I have always believed that "actions speak louder than words" and that one should "practice what you preach."  That being said, I auditioned for the River City Women's Chorus back in April and have been working diligently for the past 8 weeks preparing for several concerts that will be taking place this week and next.

This is the first year that there has been an option for women.  The River City Men's Chorus is in their 5th season.  We are raising money for a local charity called "Dreams Come True."  This non-profit organization grants wishes to terminally ill children and we are privileged to donate our time and talent for such a worthy cause.

River City Women's Chorus - R. Wayne Bailey, Director
(I'm the tanned one in the center of the back row)

If you would like to enjoy an evening of quality choral music and support Dreams Come True, you may do so at one of the following concert venues:

Tuesday, July 15th
Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church
4001 Hendricks Avenue

Friday, July 18th
Lakewood Presbyterian Church
2001 University Boulevard West

Tuesday, July 22
St. John's Episcopal Cathedral
256 East Church Street

Friday, July 25
Riverside Presbyterian Church
849 Park Street

All concerts are in Jacksonville, Florida and begin at 7:30 p.m.  A donation will be collected during the concert.  All proceeds will be given to Dreams Come True.

Until next time...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What Teachers Do During Summer Break

So many people ask me what I do with my "free time" in the summer.  I don't really have free time in the summer.  Summertime is when teachers take care of everything around their house that they couldn't take care of during the school year.  Summertime is when you make every doctors appointment you were unable to make during the school year.  Summertime is when you get a crown on a tooth that has 3 cracks in it because there is not enough time to sit in the dentist chair during the school year.  Summertime is when you trade the "tools of your trade" for an automobile and chauffeur your own children to and from their respective jobs.  Summertime is when you attend teacher trainings so you can earn points for "continuing education" and re-certify every five years. Summertime is.....well, almost as busy as the school year, but not quite.

I decided to spend what free time I had this summer on several things.  My greatest priority was to get back to the gym on a regular basis.  I have succeeded my own expectations in that area over the past several weeks.  I've run on the treadmill, run intervals between the telephone poles on the boulevard, swam laps, lifted weights, taken spinning classes and Zumba classes.  My body is responding in a positive way and I am grateful.

Another idea I had was to eat my way through the produce section at my local Publix.  I put on a few pounds last year and needed to regroup with diet and exercise.  I started with weird stuff like kale.  I hear it's really good for you.  From kale, I moved on to Red Swiss Chard.  From there, it was Bok Choy, etc.  I wanted to experience new flavors and I have time to cook during the summer, so this has worked out pretty well.  My diet is very clean now and I am feeling much better these days.  Stress really takes a toll on your body and your outlook on life after so many months of it.

One of my famous salads

For fun, my sister and I went on a dolphin safari.  We didn't see any dolphins, but there were lots of jelly fish, a couple of sea turtles and a manatee.  We capped off our day at Cap's Seafood and it was most enjoyable being out on the water and breathing fresh air.  I live in a cave 10 months out of the year and it could not have been a better day for dolphin-hunting.  Tip from the captain....never book a dolphin safari after June 1st.  Shrimping season opens that day and they all leave the inlet to follow the shrimp boats out in the open ocean where they can eat their fill of by-catch.  Who knew?

Dolphin Safari in St. Augustine

Castillo de San Marco from the inlet side

I love reading novels in the summertime too.  I visit my local library and load up on books.  My goal is to finish one a week before they must be returned.  That means I have three weeks to "git r done."  I love reading anything set in the Victorian Period and 300-400 pages suits me just fine.

Next week is the annual Abdullah Family Reunion.  Folks are flying in from CA and driving down from NY.  We will eat together, laugh together, fish together, ski, play mini-golf on Anastasia Island, do a water park, hang out -- all in honor of my dad who passed away in 2000.  It is the highlight of our summer each year.

Once we get past that point, it will be time for me to focus my attention on the upcoming school year.  I will be in Orlando at the end of the month for Choral Panorama and the Florida Vocal Association's summer conference.  The first week of August is the Teacher Academy for all secondary music teachers in my district.  On August 11th, teachers report to school and students are back in gear on August 18th.  School is just around the corner.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Fat Lady Has Sung

The school year is over.  I conducted my final performance of my inaugural year as a high school choral director on Thursday, June 5th at the Duncan U. Fletcher Senior High School Commencement which was held at the Jacksonville Memorial Arena.

First of all....I had never stepped foot on the floor of the Arena.  (I am a teacher.  We can only afford seats in the nose-bleed section when we go to events at that venue.)  Not only did I step foot on the floor, but I conducted the choir in front of thousands of people.  One of the graduating seniors captured 26 seconds of the National Anthem as it was being broadcast via the Jumbotron.  She was not supposed to have her cell phone on her person, but I'm glad she did.  Now I have 26 seconds of a rather big deal in my little life.

Secondly, we were required to dress in full academic regalia.  I have blogged about this hood-thing before, but let me say it again.  I waited 22 years for my Master's hood and finally got it this year.  Had I not left elementary music and made the switch to high school, I would still be waiting on the elusive hood.

I was getting married 3 months after graduating from my Master's program in 1992.  I did not have $250 to purchase the hood so I could walk in the graduation ceremony.  I apologized to my mom who was very disappointed (but understood my predicament) and moved on.  I told her it would just be a dust-collector in a bottom drawer somewhere and closed that chapter of my life.  There were many times that I regretted that decision, but I really had no choice in the matter.

Earlier this year, my principal informed us that every faculty member was expected to attend graduation in their full regalia.  The same thought crossed my mind again.  How would I pay for the hood the second time around? Long story short...Herff-Jones supplied each of us with our regalia "up to the highest degree conferred" and I proudly swagged my way out onto the floor of the Arena and conducted in it! It was one of the greatest moments of my life.  I waited 22 years for that moment and it didn't cost me a dime.  I don't know who paid for my regalia, but I am forever indebted to them.  Thank you!!

Fletcher Senior High School Chorus
Commencement - 2014

Until next time...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Senior Moment

Another first....and possibly our last.  This celebration was student created, student led and student directed.

Class of 2014 - Duncan U. Fletcher Senior High School Chorus

The next time these beautiful students will sing together will be at their graduation ceremony on Thursday.  This will be their final performance of the year.  Bring the Kleenex....

Until next time...

Saturday, May 31, 2014

DCPS P.E.P Rally

Today, I made a choice.  I could have run the "Never Quit" 5K which supports stroke awareness. My dad passed away from complications after a stroke.  However, I decided to hit the asphalt downtown in support of Duval County Public School's 150th birthday and "Read it Forward Jax!!"  After all, I am a teacher in the public school system and I am about to wrap up my first year teaching high school chorus and my tenth year teaching music in Duval County.

It was a beautiful morning in downtown Jacksonville!

There were approximately 800 runners and it was a bit hotter than we like it, but it was nice to be part of something bigger than ourselves today.  An ensemble from First Coast High set the tone by singing our National Anthem at the start of the race.  The Ed White H.S. Drum Line helped us rev up our engines at the starting line and step teams cheered us on to the finish line where the Cathedral Arts Project's "CAP Kids" were playing their violins! Being a music teacher, I greatly appreciated all of it!!

My sister and I had a great day!! She was running on behalf of her daughter's principal who is retiring from La Villa School of the Arts.  We hadn't run together in such a long time and it was for a good cause.

Ms. Janelle Wagoner

Curious George made an appearance

Mrs. Waterman and Mrs. Tamburrino

Silliness in the VIP tent for Teachers

Thanks, Dr. Vitti, for a great family fun day!! And to the folks at Chartwells - THANKS FOR THE FRUIT! It was extremely refreshing after a 3.1 mile run on such a hot day.

Until next time....

Friday, May 16, 2014

"Moe's In May" Fundraiser

We had a great night at Moe's Southwest Grill last night!! Thanks to everyone who came out to support our efforts during our final fundraiser of the year.  This was by far one of the most lively events of our year!!

Thank you, Chorus, for showing up to sing!! The manager loved it!!  Mike, Charlie and the entire staff were so grateful, they said we could come back anytime and do it again.  Mrs. Waterman - you are one of the most talented event planners I know!! Plan on October AND May next year!!

Kenya and Madison

Drawing in the crowd

Trained "wait staff" - we earned every dime we made!

You guys rock!!
Until next time...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

In Honor of My Father

My Daddy passed away 14 years ago this month.  Although I am a chorus girl, he was a band guy.  He played the cymbals in the Andrew Jackson High School Marching Band and today a childhood dream was fulfilled in his honor.

My family has a long history with bands.  My dad's brother played the clarinet at Jackson, my aunt played the flute in the Fletcher High School band, my sister was first chair flute/piccolo during her tenure with the FHS band, my cousin's daughter performed with the Color Guard  and my baby sister was captain of the Color Guard (flag corps) at Fletcher High.

...And then there was me.  Singing Senator all the way....until today.

Today was the "Opening of the Beaches Parade" in Jacksonville Beach.  (I find that humorous, because the beach is never closed here.)  In honor of my father, I marched in the parade today while attempting to play the cymbals.

About a month ago, I asked my band director if I could chaperone and walk along the edge with the band parents.  I told him I had never marched in a parade and it was an item on my "bucket list" that I would like to check off.  He said he could do better than that.  He would let me come to rehearsal and learn to play the cymbals. He assigned a percussionist to me who taught me how to hold them, crash them, swizzle them and even injure myself with them!

Somehow, I pinched the inside of my forearm while trying to play them.
I told the band director I took a trophy home with me!

We practiced in the parking lot at school.  It was 85 degrees and we were doing "figure eights" in the parking lot so we could nail our turns during the parade.  I had no clue what I was doing, but the students were so helpful.  I didn't know any of the commands.  I had no idea what "parade rest" meant.  We practiced starting and stopping, rolling our feet, marking time, singing/dancing, hand signaling and chanting the words to "Cheeseburger in Paradise" - all while trying to march in formation.  I have a much higher regard for band students now.  They're an amazing bunch of kids!!

My heartfelt thanks go out to the Duncan U. Fletcher Senior High School Marching Band!! Thanks for teaching me the basics and for giving up your playing time in the parade today so I could fulfill a dream.  I appreciate you!!

Until next time...

Choral State MPA 2014

Yesterday, I took 23 students, 3 chaperones and a flute player on a chartered bus to Tallahassee to perform at the Florida Vocal Association's Music Performance Assessment.  An overall "Superior" at District was our ticket into the festival yesterday.

I am blessed to have a great bunch of kids this year who show up (even when the odds are stacked against us) and give their best effort.  Although I was down 6 kids and most of my seniors had been up all night at Grad Bash the previous night, we made a strong showing.  Three of my students were also band members and had to march in the Opening of the Beaches Parade today.  My "combo kids" are the most dedicated kids I have ever met!!  Somehow they manage to balance their commitments between band and chorus and do it with a smile on their faces.  They have a strong work ethic that most kids these days just do not possess.

We held our own against some rather stiff competition.  The clinician that worked with the students after we performed was very complimentary.  He approved of my repertoire choices, loved the nuance and musicality in our performance, gave us some good pointers to make it even better and applauded my kids on how well they worked together.  There were no divas in the bunch yesterday!! It was truly a team-effort on everyone's part and I am extremely proud of my singers for what they accomplished as a group.

Our final rating was an overall "Excellent" which was a little less than we had hoped, but knowing what it took to get us there, I was grateful.  It was a pleasure to work with our accompanist as well.  Ms. Oberlin was so gracious to travel to Tallahassee and play for us.  It was my first time working with her and she is such an asset at the keyboard.  We will definitely make music together again!

Rock on, Singing Senators!!  I am so proud of you!!

As we move into the final stretch, I am grateful for the successes we have enjoyed this year.  This group of students will always hold a special place in my heart.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

The Drama department's Spring Musical - "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" was a smashing success!!

I saw the production Friday evening and our students did such a fine job.  Most of them were my chorus students (it's a musical, after all) which made it even more fun for me to watch! The casting director did a phenomenal job and the technical direction was outstanding as well.  A handful of band members played "in the pit" and were a lovely addition to the show.  It was really nice to get to sit in the audience for a change and relax.
Chorus Kids - Left to Right standing:  John Michael, Tylor, Maggie,
Phillip, Eve, Jacob, Jesse, Savannah, Samantha, Logan, Sarah S., Jeff.
Down in Front:  Rachel, Thea, Sarah D. and Sara G.
Not pictured:  Rebecca (she was handing out programs)

Seniors - AGAIN!

My son's handiwork.  He's in the stagecraft class.

Until next time...

Senior Picture During a Nor'easter

With end-of-year deadlines quickly approaching, I thought it best to schedule a Senior picture (which has traditionally been taken at the beach) on the last early dismissal day in April.  I put the word out two weeks prior and the day we were scheduled for the photo shoot, a cold front blew through Jacksonville along with Northeast winds that made your hair stand straight up!!  Not exactly ideal conditions for a photo op.

In the words of Winnie-the-Pooh, "It was a blustery, blustery day..."

This photo is usually taken with the ocean in the background,
but the wind was unmerciful that day.

We took one in the chorus room, just in case.

Until next time...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sweet Frog Fundraiser

Take a break from FCAT and tax prep on Tuesday, April 15th and refresh yourself with some Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt.  Sweet Frog is located behind Mellow Mushroom (10th Avenue North) in Jacksonville Beach.  Mention the FHS CHORUS and Sweet Frog will donate 20% of the day's receipts to the chorus.  

Hop in from NOON to NINE on Tuesday and help us get to State!!  Thanks!!

Cute little logo character - love the pink and green theme!

Keisha was awesome!!

Rebecca and Kenya - they were awesome too!!

Until next time...

Salut Salon Quartet

All I can say is "WOW!!!!!

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Zumba Fitness Fundraiser

We did it! The first-ever FHS Chorus Zumba Fitness Fundraiser!!  I am so grateful to the following people who made this event possible:

Jonathan Maerkl, Tom Ming, Kelly Salls, Martha Padgett, DuJuanna Samuels AND my favorite Zumba instructor - Paulette Waterman.  Paulette ROCKED-THE-HOUSE tonight and we had a ton of fun!!

Paulette working the crowd

DuJuanna and Martha - FHS Choral Boosters

Rock on, Ladies!!

Auntie Anne won a door prize!

Hydration required...

Chorus Girls

If you missed the Zumba fundraiser tonight, make sure you join us for Spirit Night at Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt on Tuesday, April 15th from "NOON to NINE" at the beach location (behind Mellow Mushroom).  20% of the day's receipts will be donated to the Singing Senators.  Please mention us and help us get to State!!

Until next time...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fletcher's Got Talent 2014

What do you get when you throw two ticket-takers, one policeman, 18 acts, a full tech crew, a fabulous technical director, a stage director and 3 emcees into a high school auditorium on a Thursday night?


That's what!!

In years' past, the annual school-wide talent show has showcased lots of singers.  Not this year.  We had such a diverse group of talent - and they were good too!  We enjoyed singers, dancers, instrumentalists, skits, slam poetry, hula - you name it.  The energy in the house was fabulous because our audience was so into it.  They were a great crowd and very supportive of our talented students.

The annual talent show is a 'labor of love' put on by the Student Officers of the Chorus.  They were responsible for setting audition dates, scheduling a technical rehearsal, scheduling the show, choosing the acts (under my watchful eye), designing the program, writing the script and making sure everything came off without a hitch.  My students did such an outstanding job, I could not have been more proud of them.  My principal attended the show he was quite impressed.  I could not have been more pleased.

A HUGE thank-you to Mr. Tom Ming, (Drama, Stagecraft and Technical Director).  This guy works harder than anyone in our building and it is a privilege to call him my colleague. Ming -- we could not have done this without your help and we greatly appreciate your talents and your willingness to share them with us!!

Emcees - Samantha, Sara and Phillip

Audra - My favorite Polynesian princess

Cast of 'Fletcher's Got Talent' - 2014
Big BRAVO to all!!

Until Next time...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel

Creating with technology is not one of my strengths, but I bet I could handle this.  If only I had an iPad...

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fundraising Season

You've heard of "Hunting Season?" "Open Season?" Vivaldi's "Four Seasons?" Well....Spring has arrived and it is "fundraising season" for the Duncan U. Fletcher High "Singing Senators!"

I am doing my best to make sure that we finish the year with money in the bank and all of our expenses paid for the 2013-14 school year.  We are currently fundraising so that everyone who made Superior ratings at District MPAs can compete at the state level this month.

North State Solo and Ensemble Music Performance Assessment will take place on Friday, April 11 at the University of North Florida. We have 6 soloists and one ensemble competing at this event.  On Saturday, April 26, my Vocal ensemble will head to Tallahassee to compete at the Choral Music Performance Assessment.  In order for us to compete, we must pay registration fees to the Florida Vocal Association and provide transportation to and from these events.  We must also pay for an accompanist to travel with us.

I hope you will join us for the following fundraisers this season.  Your contributions of time and financial support help us meet our performance goals for the year and we are grateful.

1.  "Fletcher's Got Talent" Talent Show - Thursday, April 3rd in the school's auditorium.  Tickets are $5.00 at the door.  Tickets will go on sale at 6:00 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show is at 7:00 p.m.

2.  "Zumba Fitness Fundraiser" - Wednesday, April 9th in the school's gymnasium.  $10 entry fee for each participant.  Class will be taught by Paulette Waterman, a Fletcher grad and certified Zumba instructor.  Each participant will receive a water bottle and a chance to win a door prize.  Come "move your groove" with us and bring a friend!!

3.  "Spirit Night at Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt" - Take a break from your tax preparations and join us on Tuesday, April 15th for Spirit Night at Sweet Frog located behind Mellow Mushroom in Jacksonville Beach.  20% of the day's receipts will be donated to the Fletcher High Choral Booster organization.  This is an easy way to be refreshed and support a worthy cause at the same time.  Noon to Nine.

4.  Attend our Spring Concert and celebrate our graduating seniors! The date of our Spring concert is Tuesday, May 13th in the school's auditorium.  Tickets are $5.00 at the door.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m.  All Chorus alumni are invited to join us on stage and sing John Rutter's "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" with the chorus.

5.  "Moe's in May" - Moe's Southwest Grille in south Jacksonville Beach is hosting a Spirit Night for the FHS Chorus on Thursday, May 15th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Bring the family and support the Chorus by dining at Moe's.

If you would like to make a donation to our organization, you may do so by writing a check payable to the Fletcher High Choral Boosters and mailing it to the following address:

Mrs. Dee Dee Tamburrino
Director of Choral Studies
Duncan U. Fletcher Senior High School
700 Seagate Avenue
Neptune Beach, Florida 32266

Fundraising Season has gotten off to a great start! I would like to thank the Jacksonville Beach Woman's Club for their generous donation to our program this year.  We are extremely grateful for your continued support of our organization.

Jacksonville Beach Woman's Club Philanthropic Day
(That's me on the far right)
Until next time...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


My mother always told me that "dynamite comes in small packages" and she was right.  Of course, my mom was barely 5'2" on a good day.  

Meet Lois.  She's barely 5 feet tall, but packs a powerful punch.  Had it not been for Lois, I would not have survived the first six weeks of my new job.  Lois was "praying me through" on a daily basis.  I was at the top of her prayer list for many months.  Maybe I still am, although, she could probably move me down a notch or two these days.

Dee Dee and Lois

For the past 11 years, Lois lived down the street from me.  She was in the neighborhood before I arrived.  I would walk down the street on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 pm. for a cup of coffee and a "prayer list update" for the upcoming week.  She never turned me away.

Lois and her husband had to move out of the neighborhood last month.  I promised I would come visit her in her new place as soon as we got to Spring Break.  I made good on my promise today.  She gave me a tour of the place and introduced me to several of her new neighbors.  She made me a cup of coffee and I updated my prayer list.  We caught up on things since our last visit while her husband napped in the living room.  It was beautiful.  She is beautiful (inside and out).  I promised her I would return, but it may be June before I make it back.  Fortunately, I can e-mail her when I need to update my prayer list and even though she is no longer down the street, she is just a phone call away.

Everyone needs a Lois in their life!! She radiates love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control and I am so grateful to have her in my life.  Thank you, Lois!! You are loved and adored!!

Until next time... 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Martin Gui

Last week, I had the privilege of hosting a lovely young man from Shanghai, China.  His name is Martin Gui.

Martin Gui, Conductor

He is the Resident Conductor of the Shanghai Children's Radio Chorus and was in Jacksonville to attend the American Choral Director Association's "Southern Division" conference.  Martin was in the audience on Friday, February 28th when my choirs performed at Mandarin High School for the Florida Vocal Association's Music Performance Assessment.  He enjoyed listening to choirs from Duval and St. John's County and was impressed with their professionalism and musicality.

Martin was part of a "Conductor's Exchange" through ACDA and visited several area schools including La Villa School of the Arts, Mandarin High School, Fletcher High School and the Jacksonville Children's Chorus.  He taught a simple song in Chinese to my Ladies' Chamber Chorus and did a presentation for my World Music students on ethnic Chinese instruments.

Martin with Ladies' Chamber Chorus

Chinese sheet music - notice text is in Chinese characters

Mrs. Tamburrino and Martin Gui

My students greatly enjoyed this cross cultural experience and learned a lot about Chinese schools, food and culture during his visit.  Maybe one day I can return the favor in Shanghai.

3/17/14 - I heard from Martin today.

Hi Dee Dee,
I got the photos, I still looked for you at those days [ACDA conference]. Now I'm in Shanghai, start my works. Thank you for your kindness , I got very nice time in your class, hope we can meet again.
Best Wishes

Until next time...