John Monfredo: Burncoat Arts Program- Showplace for the Stars!
Saturday, November 23, 2013
It was an evening of talented students showcasing their abilities to a very captive audience. If you didn’t know that these students were all part of the Worcester Public Schools you really would have thought that you were at Broadway. The show began with students of Worcester Arts Magnet string ensemble led by conductor Chrysanthe Manuel performing music from Deliverance, the 1972 Academy Award Nominee followed by Drama Club students at the same school combining their acting skills with a historical presentation of “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” This presentation was directed by Tina Pugliese-Savage. This blend of history and drama certainly made for a clever delivery. A snappy rendition of songs from the Special Chorus from “Newsies” another Broadway Musical was sensational. Again the presentation was conducted by Chrysanthe Manuel with the choreography by Cathy Taylor. The costumes worn by the students for these musical songs were dazzling and eye catching.
Then came our star-studded Middle School and High School students from Burncoat and they started with their rendition of an excerpt from the “Christmas Story” directed by Amee Kewley and Jeremy Woloski. This was followed by the Middle School Chorus singing a medley of Disney songs and conducted by Betty Anne Perez. To the audiences delight out came the Burncoat Concert Band performing favorite songs from “The Sound of Music,” conducted by Peter Levesque.
The audience was then star struck by the incredible dancers from the high school and middle school who could have passed for Broadway professionals as they danced to the music of “Annie” and also did a “Tribute to Michael Jackson… From this is it.” This was followed by the Middle School Dancers doing “OOH! La La and From “Smurfs 2.” Special recognition goes to their choreographers Joan Sheary and Kellie Shea.
The audience was amazed by the High School School String Orchestra led by students Garrett Levesque and Matthew Abraham on the violins and directed by Dani Rimoni. The orchestra played songs from the “Sound of Music.” Not to be out done, the High School Select Chorus award winning Quadrivium conducted by Dave Twiss came out to sing three winning Oscar songs.. “Man or Muppet”, “Could We Start Again, Please,” and “Skyfall.”
Topping off the evening was the High School symphony Orchestra led by conductor, Deborah Cole. Their performance brought the audience to their feet with songs from Superman Returns. A special thank you should also go out to Melanie Donergan, Fine Arts Consultant from Wachusett Regional High School, for her splendid work as Mistress of Ceremonies. In addition, the movement from one performance to another throughout the night without missing a beat was remarkable.
The Worcester Public Schools can be extremely proud of these amazing students who “reached for the stars” as they performed such an incredible show for the community. This event was “billed” as a fund raiser by the “S.O.F.A.” committee… Save Our Fine Arts committee. A special thank you goes out to this committee whose mission is to provide and enhance fine arts offerings at the Burncoat Quadrant Fine Arts Magnet Program through fundraising endeavors, increasing public awareness and community involvement.
Over the past several years S.O.F.A. has worked diligently in its fund raising efforts to maintain consultants and programs so that all students could have the level of programming that has been synonymous with the magnet program in the Burncoat Quadrant. This year an increase in district support will allow the group to shift their focus, somewhat, from one of support to enrichment. Plans are being made for the students to take part in a variety of field trips in and out of Massachusetts.
We can be proud that the Worcester Public Schools, for unlike many districts across the nation, has continued their support for the arts. We are currently living in an area of testing, accountability and budget cuts for that has been norm for many districts and consequently the arts have been severally dismantled. No one should have to choose between reading and math support or the arts. These things are basics of a students’ education and we as a society need to support the “whole child.”
If any individual or corporate sponsor wishes to donate to S.O.F.A., its treasurer and Assistant Principal at Burncoat Middle School Cheryl St. Onge suggested that a donation can be made payable to S.O.F.A. at 135 Burncoat Street, Worcester, Ma. 01606. Believe me it’s an investment well worth it.
Let’s continue to keep the arts thriving in the Worcester Public Schools.
Related Slideshow: AP Opportunities at Worcester’s High Schools
According to ProPublica, studies have shown that students who take advanced classes have increased chances of attending and finishing college. However, with the number of advanced placement (AP) courses offered at Worcester's public high schools varying significantly, not every student is given the same chance. The slides, below, show the Worcester public high schools whose students have the most and least AP opportunities to help them get into - and graduate from - college.
The below data were collected from the Civil Rights Data Set, released by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Right, and refers to the 2009-10 school year. The data were analyzed by ProPublica.
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