Saturday, January 25, 2014

All-State 2014

January has been a very busy month for me and my students!!  2.5 days after our return from Christmas break, I accompanied three of my students to Tampa where they participated in the 2014 All-State Chorus. Rehearsals began at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday morning and they performed with several hundred of the top singers from across the state of Florida on Saturday evening.  It was a whirlwind trip, but well worth it!

Five students represented Fletcher High School at All-State this year.  We had 1 student in the All-State Women's Chorus, 2 students in the All-State Concert Chorus, 1 student in the All-State Symphonic Band and 1 student in the All-State Symphonic Orchestra.

Mr. Maerkl and I are extremely proud of these individuals.  They are great kids who are dedicated to their craft and an absolute joy to teach.  Congratulations to each of you!!  You are so deserving of this honor!!

Dining in downtown Tampa
Ellie, Mrs. Tamburrino, Sara, Jack

After the concert

Mr. Maerkl (Director of Bands), Jack, Sara, DJ, Ellie
and Mrs. Tamburrino (Director of Choral Studies)
Until next time...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Time to Reflect

I am now 5 months into my first year as a high school choral director.  We reached the halfway point last Thursday.  Grades were due for 218 students by noon on Friday.  Semester exams had to be graded and posted and I was at FMEA and All-State the week prior.  I hit a wall trying to register students for Solo and Ensemble on Thursday with the deadline looming at midnight the following night. If you know me, you know that I am not a "last-minute Lucy."  I am very linear (a blessing and a curse) in my approach to life.  My linearality (is that a word?) is great for teaching because I am usually planned out for days, sometimes weeks in advance.  Since I'm not a conceptual girl, I have a hard time visualizing and focusing on the 'big picture.'  I tend to get lost in the minutae of the moment.

So...I would like to take a step back and reflect on the big picture for the first half of the school year. Much has been accomplished which really should be celebrated, at the very least, by my faithful readers.

  • In early September, I auditioned 12 soloists to sing the Star Spangled Banner at our home football games.  Five were chosen in a "blind audition" along with one alternate.  We enjoyed a "live" performance of our National Anthem at every home game during the season.  They did such a fine job, the basketball coach asked for our assistance as well as our ladies' soccer coach and we were happy to oblige.
  • 81 students auditioned for the Disney Candlelight Processional 2013.  We were one of four public high schools in Duval County that made the cut this year.  Because Thanksgiving was the last week in November instead of the third, Disney cancelled 7 days of performances which drastically reduced the number of choirs who were invited to perform.  On December 17th at 5:00 p.m., we performed at Candlelight and it was awesome!! My first field trip ever - 2 coach buses, 2 bus drivers, 55 students, 11 chaperones, 26 hotel rooms and me.  I told my students that I would travel with them any day, anywhere.  They did such a fine job representing our organization, our school and our community.
  • While we were waiting on the results of the Disney audition, I escorted 9 students to LaVilla School of the Arts to audition for the FMEA All-State Chorus.  Six made the first cut and three were left standing after the vocal quality audition. I spent 5 days in Tampa with them last week.  Their efforts over the past several months culminated in a fantastic performance with 200 of the top choral musicians from across the state of Florida. This experience brought back so many memories for me. I participated in the All-State Chorus from 8th through 12th grade.
  • In October, we programmed a Fall concert and collaborated with the Band and Dance departments for our annual "Holiday Extravaganza" concert on December 10th.  I heard nothing but wonderful comments from attendees, faculty and friends.
Music Performance Assessments (MPAs) are just around the corner.  I have 25 students participating in 17 events including 12 solos, 2 duets, 1 trio, an octet and an auditioned ensemble of 14 students.  We will begin our journey through this process upon our return to school this week.

The Annual Talent Show is one of our big fundraisers in the spring and we invite students to audition who would like to showcase their talent but are not necessarily a part of our Performing Arts Department.

The FHS Spring Choral Concert is scheduled for Tuesday, May 13th in the Fletcher High School auditorium at 7:00 pm. Our performance will include students who made "Superior" on their entry at MPA as well as musical selections sung by all three choirs.  Please save the date!

Baccalaureate/Graduation will take place in June.  Stay tuned....

Overall, it has been a great learning experience for all parties involved and I am looking forward to what lies ahead over the next several months.  I'm working with great kids and am eagerly supported by my colleagues in the Performing Arts Department.  What a great ride!!

Until next time...