Friday, February 19, 2016

Birthday Blessings

Yesterday was my birthday.  I had an awesome day!!

Lots of FB posts, text messages, e-mails, telephone calls, cards, flowers and gifts.  AND the Dean's secretary (who also happens to be my cousin) sang to me over the intercom.  It just doesn't get any better than that.

Even the band honored me by writing my name on their monthly calendar!!

I love bulb flowers of any variety.  My sister sent me a brimming bouquet of irises and tulips!!

I am blessed beyond measure and I'm "feeling the love."  Thank you everyone!! 

Until next time....

Friday, February 12, 2016


We are very fortunate to have an organization in our area known to all as the Beaches Fine Arts Series.  This organization brings in top-tier performers from around the world to share their musical gifts in our community.  EVERY concert is free.  Many of the artists do masterclasses and workshops with local elementary school children and concert choirs at the high school level.  Last year, we were invited to a masterclass with Chanticleer and it was an awesome experience. 

This year, my Ladies Chamber Chorus was invited to participate in a masterclass with a trio from the United Kingdom.  This group calls themselves "VOICE" and boy, do they each have one!!

The trio worked with my treble choir for over an hour today.  They sing all of their music a cappella, which means that there are no instruments involved in the process.  They establish the key with tuning forks and have incredibly good pitch and tone production.  Their sound is bell-like with very little vibrato.  My students had never heard anything like that before and the trio's sound was enhanced by the "live" acoustics at St. Paul's By-the-Sea Episcopal Church which is made of coquina (sea shells and mortar). 

By the end of the hour, my girls had learned several canons, sung in 3-parts, worked on "floating the sound," practiced proper breathing techniques and enjoyed a musical adventure from three lovely ladies from another country.  I don't think the girls realized the gift that was given to them today.  We will de-brief on Wednesday when we return to school.  I am anxious to hear what they have to say about the experience.  Big "THANK YOU!!" to Kathy Wallis and the Beaches Fine Arts Series.

 Ladies Chamber Chorus with VOICE

 Mrs. Tamburrino with VOICE

 VOICE Trio (United Kingdom)
Until next time...

Conductors in Training

It's that time of year...

Music Performance Assessment season is upon us!  I have 11 entries this year at Solo and Ensemble - 3 music theatre entries, 6 vocal solos and 2 student conductors. This is the first year I've taken student conductors. 

When I asked the Executive Director of the Florida Vocal Association how many I could take, his response was "As many as you can handle."  I now know why. 

We had to find willing hearts among us who would put in the extra effort in an ensemble, so that my students had someone TO conduct.  We had to give up class time to work on the music so that I could coach the guys through the process.  We had to hold additional after school rehearsals with the ensemble and the accompanist to make this happen for these fledgling conductors.  I had forgotten what it was like to watch a beginner try to conduct an ensemble.  Truth be told, these young men have a newly acquired appreciation for the person on the podium. 

It has been a pleasure watching these young men develop over the past several months and my hope is that they both make a "Superior" rating and we all get to go to STATE!! Fingers crossed... 

 Jacob - "Je le vous Diray"

Noah - "Shenandoah"

Until next time...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Brandon J. Lesando

I have been blessed through the years to work with incredible people.  Some of these folks are artists, musicians, media specialists, drama teachers and dance teachers.  All of us are known as resource teachers.  It is our job to enlighten young minds in all things artistic.  I have worked with some of the most creative, innovative teachers who are masterful at their craft.  It is a gift I do not take for granted.  One of my dear friends told me that she "loved zinging with me!"  That is artistic-speak for creating beauty all around us - whether it is heard, seen or experienced - someone has to create it.  I have learned so much from my colleagues and my newest colleague, Brandon J. Lesando, is a musical force with which to be reckoned.

This young man (he is 25 years my junior) is one of the most talented, insightful first-year teachers I have ever met.  He has more energy than anyone in our department.  He is the new band director at my high school.  I live next door in the chorus room and I was assigned to mentor Mr. Lesando through his first year as a professional educator.

It is my job to make sure he understands how to function within our Performing Arts Department.  It is my job to make sure he meets deadlines placed upon him by the school and by the district.  It is my job to make sure that he is well-supported through his first year of teaching.  Statistics show that most teachers entering the workforce these days leave within their first three years.  They can't handle the demands placed upon beginning teachers.  They are easily overwhelmed.

Teaching is not for the faint-of-heart.  It requires a great deal of patience as you learn to navigate the system.  It also requires a passion that runs deep, so that when you are at your wits-end, you can remind yourself of the reason you chose this profession in the first place.

I have mentored many "teacherlings" over the past 12 years.  Some were pre-interns who were just there to observe my teaching.  Others were interns in their final year of teacher training at college.  I have also worked with elementary education majors who were learning how to incorporate visual art and music into their curriculum.  I LOVE working with "teacherlings."  I love to watch them grow and learn as they navigate through their first year in the classroom.  I love to watch the students grow to love them over time.  I love to watch them teach, teach and re-teach so that everyone is successful.  It is like watching a flower doesn't happen overnight.

Because Mr. Lesando is a rookie in the classroom, I am required to do two observations on him this year.  We completed the first one in early November and his final observation yesterday.  He is masterful at classroom management - the best I've ever seen.  He has good teacher instincts.  He scaffolds well.  He teaches "in the moment."  If something does not go according to plan, he makes adjustments and repeats the process.  He plans, prepares and executes with great precision.  Some of that is his naval training; some of it is just how he's wired.

It has been such a pleasure working with Mr. Lesando this year.  My former band director told me before he left that I would love this guy.  I do!!

Until next time...