The sounds of show tunes, pianos and even a percussion ensemble using recycled instruments filled the Roxborough High School auditorium last Tuesday, as students from four schools joined forces to create the Roxborough Regional Choral Music Festival.
Approximately 200 students performed songs ranging from classics like “Home on the Range” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to modern hits by Rihanna and Bruno Mars.
For Nicholas D’Orsaneo, director of the Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School Choir, the festival marked another step for the program he has spent four years building from the ground up.
For his students, the show capped a year that included winning first place at the Hershey Park choral festival and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a Temple basketball game.
I wanted them to hear one another and join together in the art of making music”, said D’Orsaneo of the concert. “
Cook-Wissahickon was represented by both the school choir and the bucket drumming ensemble that featured students playing instruments made from trash cans, tires and buckets, tying in with the schools mission to teach the importance of recycling.
Ron Coles, director of the Roxborough High choir, said the program was important because it gave students a chance to showcase the skills they have learned. He noted that two performers – Daniel McCullagh and Chau Leau – learned to play the piano exclusively through their classes at the high school because they “didn’t have the opportunity to get the lessons outside of school.” McCullagh performed a sonatina by Clementi and Chau played “Prelude in C Major” by Bach.
Students from the Shawmont Elementary School Choir and Jenks Elementary performed in the festival as well.
There was, however, a dark cloud hanging over festival: the prospect of losing the funding needed to maintain music programs. The festival program had a message printed on the cover urging supporters to “call or e-mail your congressman and state representatives to save our programs from extinction.”