MORRISTOWN — Students from Parsippany, Mendham, Pompton Plains, Boonton, Kinnelon, East Hanover, Budd Lake, Oak Ridge, Chester and Morristown were honored as Mayo Performing Arts Center’s October Music Students of the Month – Outstanding Vocalists — prior to the Wednesday, October 17 performance by The Tenors.
The students were recognized for their achievements on stage prior to the concert and had the opportunity to meet the performers.
Students were nominated by their teachers and were chosen by the Theatre’s Education Department based on their commitment to and excellence in the performing arts. The Theatre will honor a group of students every month throughout the season and invites area teachers to nominate students for this honor. Students will be invited to perform at a year-end recital in June.
The 2018-2019 Music Student of the Month program is supported by The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Foundation, Inc.
Music Students of the Month are:
Grade 8, Brooklawn Middle School; Parsippany; Nominated by Tiffany Schifano
Avery is one of the most talented vocalists that I have had the pleasure of teaching in my fifteen years in the classroom. She has told me numerous times that music is her life and her love of music comes across when she sings. In addition to being an accomplished vocalist, she plays the flute, guitar, and piano. Avery was accepted into NJ Region Choir this past year as soprano 1. She was Ariel in our school production of The Little Mermaid and gave such an inspiring performance of the iconic role. Avery is also a singer songwriter and often performs her original songs at the school talent shows. Even though Avery is immensely talented, she is a team player and is motivating and respectful towards her peers.
Grade 12, West Morris Mendham High School; Mendham; Nominated by Patricia Danner
Saira Alam is one of the most unique singers I have taught at Mendham High School. She has a beautiful mezzo-soprano quality, and is particularly talented in the area of Jazz music. She is the leader of our jazz club at Mendham High School and is a great role model for her peers. She has a natural ability for improvisation, but also encourages her peers at all levels and helps them to feel comfortable trying new things. This year, Saira was asked to be a member of our top Jazz Ensemble as a vocalist. This is the first time we have had a vocalist as a permanent member of the ensemble. She also has been part of New Jersey Honors Jazz Choir for two years, and participated in Rider University’s Contemporary Vocal Camp this summer. Outside of the Jazz world, Saira has also found much success in our traditional choral programs at Mendham High School, as well as Morris Area Honor Choir, Region Choir, and All-State Choir. Saira is an outstanding music student, and a leader in all of our ensembles
Grade 7, Pequannock Valley Middle School; Pompton Plains; Nominated by Janelle Heise
Mollie goes above and beyond as a singer. She is an excellent leader in our school choir, but goes further as a member of the church choir, and as a cast member of our school musicals. She also tries out for whatever special choirs she can. She makes the time to meet with me before or after school to work on scales and her audition solos. Last year Mollie had the best audition scores for her voice part for both the Morris Area Middle School Choir and New Jersey Elementary Honor Choir. In addition to that, Mollie is friendly and an excellent student.
Grade 8, Rockaway Valley School; Boonton; Nominated by Sara Bartel
Ava has a true talent for music. She has earned solos in the Chorus concerts the past couple of years. As well as a major role in our school musicals and is a leader within the ensembles. She works hard in practices to become a better vocalist. In our small school setting, she truly shines and I sincerely hope you will consider her for this honor.
Grade 12, Kinnelon High School; Kinnelon; Nominated by Charles Linnell
Caitlin is in her fourth year as a member of the KHS Advanced Choir, the Chamber Singers. Since her first days in high school choir, she has always set herself apart as a leader with consistently excellent choral skills. That leadership was formalized when she was elected to the choir council as a junior (which rarely occurs) and again as a senior. Caitlin was also recently appointed a co-director of the student-directed contemporary acapella ensemble at Kinnelon High School.
Grade 8, John Hill School; Boonton; Nominated by Yvonne Manca
Cassidy has been part of the school choir for a few years. She has auditioned for solos and has received numerous solos throughout her years at John Hill. Cassidy loves to sing and it is evident to those around her. She has also sung in Gateway to the Arts and has been an asset to the group. She never misses practices and always comes to sing with a smile on her face.
Grade 8, Ridgedale Middle School; Boonton; Nominated by Sondra Paulson
In addition to being a consistent and talented member of both the Ridgedale Middle School Chorus and Select Choir, Isabella has a fantastic attitude towards her peers and teachers. Isabella had been taking piano lessons for 4 years, and has been taking voice lessons for over a year now. She has always been interested in performing, and loves being on stage, singing and acting. She has twice taken acting and improv lessons at the Papermill Playhouse, as well as acting classes at the Mayo Performing Arts Center this past summer. She is also a member of the RMS chorus and select choir. While she was at Brooklake, Isabella took part in the productions of “The Little Mermaid” (she was one of Ariel’s sisters), “Peter Pan” (Indian Princess), and “The Wizard of Oz” (Wicked Witch). She has participated in all of the productions at Ridgedale, her most recent role being Sebastian in “The Little Mermaid”. She is currently rehearsing for the drama, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, and was cast as Snow White. Isabella also took part in a voice competition at the Calderone School of Music where she placed second.
Grade 11, Hanover Park High School; East Hanover; Nominated by Helen Ferrante de Britez
Kevin has sung Baritone in my choirs for three years, but has recently decided to pursue a career as a Countertenor. This summer he started immersing himself in Mezzo Soprano arias (pants roles) in addition to his impeccable work as a baritone. He is a three-year member of the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Atlantic City Crew (a super-select pop a cappella group), and Men’s Choir. He is also a two-year cast member in our Spring Musicals. He is an accomplished dancer as well. He currently serves as Choir Secretary and Baritone Section Leader, but will actually sing Alto in one of our groups this year. This is an incredibly brave endeavor by a wonderfully gifted musician.
Grade 8, Mendham Township Middle School; Mendham; Nominated by Ronald Bergamotto
Catherine has worked hard and devoted her talents at Mendham Township Middle School since the 5th grade. While at MTMS she has been active in chorus, string orchestra and composer’s club. Catherine has participated in over a dozen musicals in both principal role and cast member at Mendham as well as local community. Each and every year at Mendham Township Middle School, Catherine was awarded solos in both the winter and spring concerts. Her performance on and off the state has been exemplary. It has been an honor and pleasure to work with a student of this caliber.
Grade 8, Mt Olive Middle School; Budd Lake; Nominated by Joanna Scarangello
Kayla is the most passionate, conscientious student that I have ever taught. She has reached high levels of achievement in her singing, being accepted in to County, Region, All State and All Eastern Honor Choirs in the last two years of her middle school singing career. Kayla’s enthusiasm is contagious as she pushes her fellow classmates to achieve higher every day in choir class. She recently auditioned for the ACDA National Honor Choir and continues to push herself to new challenges and heights. Kayla is a strong leader, supportive classmate, and possesses a beautiful gift in her singing voice.
Grade 11, Morristown Beard School; Morristown; Nominated by Ben Krauss
Whitney is an exemplary member of the choral program at Morristown-Beard School. She is a strong member of our Soprano section who not only sings beautifully, but is also an excellent musician. The kindness she shows outside of the classroom is evident inside as well, as she is always willing to help out her less experienced section mates with their music. Whitney is active in every aspect of singing life at our school, be it our curricular chorus, our student-run acapella group, or our musical theatre program.
Grade 12, Jefferson Township High School; Oak Ridge; Nominated by Chad Flynn
Casey has a great Tenor singing voice and a wonderful personality for singing. He is always smiling and has a great attitude about how he leads himself during rehearsals. Case leads by example during class and during after-school rehearsals. He is President of the Chamber Choir and a member of the Madrigal Singers, Chamber Choir, and Men’s Ensemble. In addition to vocal ensembles, Casey was a lead role in last year’s musical and this year’s fall drama.
Grade 11, West Morris Central School; Chester; Nominated by Mark Stingle
Lars Olsen has been a stalwart in the West Morris Central choral program for the past 2 years and will continue to be so for the next two years. Besides his obvious skill, Lars has been involved in many honors groups at all levels – Morris Area Honors Choir (2), Region 1 Honors Choir (2), All-State Choir (2), where is currently the 9th ranked Tenor 2 this year in NJ. He has also been involved in acapella and SATB choirs every year since being at WMC. As an actor, Lars was voted best Actor in a drama last year for the FOXY Awards and he has been a featured role as Donnal in West Morris Central’s production of The Pirate Queen in 2018. Besides all of the accolades, Lars is a brilliant young musician with a passion to perform at every turn
Grade 8, Black River Middle School; Chester; Nominated by Kathleen Vespignani
Emma has been a member of the chorus at Black River for three years, as well as a member of our Select Chorus since the sixth grade. As this is her third year in both vocal ensembles, I have seen Emma blossom into a magnificent musician and performer. Emma is also often a soloist and is a part of the Drama Club’s musicals each year. She comes to rehearsals and performances with the utmost professionalism, enthusiasm, and respect for the art. Emma continues her musical endeavors outside of school, as well. She takes both voice and guitar lessons and performs at community venues, including coffee houses and the 4-H Fair. Emma truly exemplifies what a great musician is!
Mayo Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich, and educate the diverse population of the region and enhance the economic vitality of Northern New Jersey. The 2018-2019 season is made possible, in part, by a grant the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support received from the F.M. Kirby Foundation and numerous corporations, foundations and individuals. The Mayo Performing Arts Center has been designated a Major Presenting Organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Mayo Performing Arts Center was named 2016 Outstanding Historic Theatre by the League of Historic American Theatres, and is ranked in the top 50 mid-sized performing arts centers by Pollstar Magazine.
Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South Street, Morristown. Box office (973) 539-8008. For more information click here.