Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Buy one, get one for White Christmas tomorrow night only!

Want to get in the holiday spirit? Give your kids the gift of Broadway tomorrow night!

Tomorrow night is Broadway Family Night at the Straz Center. Purchase one full-price adult ticket to Irving Berlin's White Christmas for Wed., Dec. 1, and get one free child's ticket. What a perfect way to kick off your family's holiday season.

Come early for family-friendly activities from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m., including mini-workshops from Patel Conservatory theater and dance instructors.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Join us in Hyde Park on Friday

Look for the Patel Conservatory table this Friday at the Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony in Hyde Park.

A favorite activity to kick off the holiday season in Tampa, this family-friendly event includes activities for the kids, entertainment, free cookies and cocoa and the lighting of the 30-foot Christmas tree. There'll also be a visit from Santa.

Don't miss the fun, and stop by our table to say hello and enjoy a free craft activity for the kids. See you there!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Visit us at the show!

So much happening this week at the Straz Center. Tonight, with Dreamgirls in Carol Morsani Hall and the Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra concert in Ferguson Hall, make sure you arrive to your events early and give yourself plenty of time to park.
Tuesday’s opening night of Dreamgirls looked like a lot of folks were rushing in from the office to the Straz Center. What better way to end the work day than with singing and dancing? Clutching their tickets and doing their own dance against the clock, a big crowd made it just in time.
If you arrive early, be sure to stop by our table in the lobby for information about classes and the upcoming season at the Straz Center. A lot patrons are looking forward to Billy Elliot next spring. In the meantime, get in the holiday spirit in December with Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and the Nutcracker
Don’t forget, you can sign up for classes at the Patel Conservatory any time with our open enrollement.

At Tuesday’s Dreamgirls, there was some interest in the adult classes offered by Patel Conservatory.  One woman commented that she has always wanted to learn to dance and needs a true beginner class. I told her beginners are always welcome at Patel and that we'll save a spot on the dance floor for her.  Another woman was all smiles when I told her you are never too old to learn how to dance. The stage is set, she just has to make her entrance!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Music students rock The Wall

Represent! [Say it with a cool, hip attitude]
That’s right, students from the Patel Conservatory represented students everywhere Tuesday night when they rocked with Roger Waters for a crowd of Pink Floyd fans at the Forum, singing “We don’t need no education...”
They started with a sound check with Waters and a backup singer. The crew was really nice to the kids and stopped by their dressing room a few times to joke around and talk to them about their performance.
For the show, the chaperones got to stand with the media in the pit. The students, from Patel Conservatory music classes, joined Waters on stage to help sing the group’s infamous song The Wall.
They did a great job! After their performance, they each got a personalized autograph picture from Roger Waters and took pictures backstage. While walking to their seats to meet their parents, they got high-fived and audience members yelled “you guys were awesome!”
“It was a jaw dropping experience,” said Ami Corley, Patel Conservatory instructor and administrator. “It was more mind blowing than when I saw the movie for the first time in high school. The kids being exposed to this masterwork, especially the Rock School students, was priceless.”

Nutcracker guest artist Jeffrey Cirio

The Nutcracker is right around the corner, and we are thrilled that Jeffrey Cirio of the Boston Ballet will be among the guest artists to appear in this exquisite production.
Cirio, who trained with Patel Conservatory dance department chair and Nutcracker director Peter Stark, had wonderful things to say of him in a recent interview for The Barre.
“I try to always go back and work with Peter Stark when I can. Taking class with someone who really knows you and wants you to excel is important,” he said. (Click here for full interview.)
Brian Mengini, the Barre
Stark coached Cirio to six international medals in one year, an incredible feat. Cirio’s accomplishments include Silver Medal in the Seoul International Ballet Competition; Grand Prix (best in competition) at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals ; Silver Medal in the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts; Gold Medal at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition; Gold Medal at the World Ballet Competition; and the Princess Grace Award.

“I have never had a student more disciplined and determined,” said Stark. “To be a soloist at age 18 with a major ballet company is a testament to Jeffrey’s drive to perfection and desire to inspire his audiences.”
In the interview, Cirio also mentions the Straz Center's new apprentice ballet company Next Generation Ballet and his guest appearance.

Cirio will appear in the The Nutcracker as the Snow King. Other guest artists include New York City Ballet principal dancers Abi Stafford and Jonathan Stafford.
“Cirio’s participation in The Imperial Nutcracker at the Straz Center will anchor the first act and, I have no doubt, ignite the stage with fireworks and excite the audiences,” said Stark.
The Nutcracker will be Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, 2010 in Carol Morsani Hall and promises to be one of the highlights of your holiday season!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Free Rock School concert this Saturday

Are you ready to rock?
Paul and Timothy Santora are pumped for this Saturday’s Rock School Blowout. These brothers from Pinellas Point will get the chance to rock the stage together.
“They’ve taken music lessons for a while, but they weren’t pushing them to the next level,” said their mom, Yvette Sequino. “I can’t believe how they’ve just exploded in the past six months.”
They’ve been making the trek from Pinellas Point every week to the Patel Conservatory to not only improve their own skills, but also learn the nuances of playing in a group. Paul, 13, is the lead singer and plays guitar, and Timothy, 9, plays drums. Their band also includes Nathan Miller, 14, on guitar.
At this weekend’s blowout, they’ll perform The Beatles’ Day Tripper and Fire by Jimmy Hendrix.
“It’s cool to learn a bunch of new songs,” says Timothy. “Paul [Stoddart] is awesome. He pushes you, but he’s funny.”
Led by Rock School instructors Lee Ahlin and Paul Stoddart, nine bands from the Patel Conservatory Rock School program will perform modern and classic rock tunes from artists such as Cream, Green Day and the Rolling Stones.
The concert is this Sat., Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. and will be outside on the Riverwalk at the Straz Center. Admission is free and open to the public. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
So bring your blankets and enjoy a great afternoon overlooking the Hillsborough River with live music that will, in the words of Jack Black, “blow your mind!”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Youth chorus takes on Glee!

Got Glee fever? A group of local middle schoolers have come together for their own Glee experience.
Students in the Patel Conservatory Youth Chorus will get the chance to strut their stuff Glee-style this weekend.
“It’s really fun,” said Ellie Bass, a seventh grade student in the class, “We’ve worked really hard to bring it together, and now we get to perform it.”
Ellie joined the Patel Conservatory this summer, trying a couple of different camps, including rock and roll camp. She enjoyed it so much, she signed up for the Youth Chorus, a new class in the Patel Conservatory music program.
“We’ve learned different vocal warm-ups, songs and dances,” said Ellie.
“The goal of the class is to give students performing arts experience by being a student outreach group,” said instructor Liz Stewart.
The group will perform various songs, including the girls’ sing-off from an episode of the popular television show Glee, this Saturday at Novemberfest at Nativity Church.
Their line-up also includes What a Wonderful World and Dust in the Wind.
“I’m trying to expose them to many styles of singing and performance styles,” said Stewart. “They’re working on their craft and learning how to prepare a show.”
By performing at local events like Novemberfest throughout the year, students gain valuable performance experience and serve the community at the same time.
The group may perform at the Florida State Fair and the Strawberry Festival.

“Performing at a carnival or state fair plants the seed for their talent,” said Stewart. “They learn to embrace being in front of an audience so they have no fear.”
She points out that that many high school choral programs can be quite competitive. Participating in a class like show chorus can help middle schoolers gain experience and be more prepared for a high school program.
Stewart has taught performing arts in the Tampa area for several years, and has been the choral director at Riverview High School for the past six years. Many of her former students are now professional performers.
“It’s easy to learn from her [Stewart] because she’s really experienced and she makes it fun,” said Ellie.
You can check out the Patel Conservatory Youth Chorus this Saturday at noon at Nativity Church in Brandon.
Or check out the class for yourself, every Monday at 6 p.m., and you can be part of the fun!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Learn to play the blues!

A group of middle school band players enjoyed workshops with local jazz musicians today.
The group started the day with the field trip series performance of Blues, Bop and Hip Hop. The audience enjoyed listening to popular jazz pieces and learned about the history of jazz music. 
Inverness Middle School students get tips at a workshop.
Following the performance, the musicians led students from the Inverness Middle School band through workshops where they learned how to improve their own playing skills.

“There are three things unique to blues music,” explained Ron Delp, a pianist and leader of the Ron Delp Trio, a jazz band based in St. Petersburg. “While most music is written in 8 bars, blues is 12 bars long.”
He continued to explain what a blues scale is, and dominant chords. Most students had never played the blues before.
Students broke into three groups, brass, rhythm and winds, and learned a new blues piece, and then came together and performed it as a group.
Students get tips from pianist Ron Delp
They also performed pieces they’re currently working on at school and received invaluable feedback from the professional musicians, including Delp. Other musicians were Patel Conservatory Jazz Instructor Tom Ziegelhofer, Jim Burge of the Ken Loomer Big Band and the Jazz Cellar Underground Orchestra, and Mike Ruven and Jeff Henson of the Ron Delp Trio.
It was amazing to see the students’ progression and improvement in the short amount of time they spent with the musicians. Even small tips like learning how to hold the instrument correctly made a big difference.
“I had a great time,” said Ziegelhofer. “I didn’t know what to expect with the different age groups we had, but they picked it up pretty well.”
If you know of a group interested in spending a Day at the Center to learn more about the Performing Arts, or, to learn more about music classes including private lessons or our Jazz Ensemble, call 222-1002 or visit www.patelconservatory.org.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Financial aid applications due Dec. 6

Did you know that the Patel Conservatory offers financial assistance? Perhaps those music, voice or dance lessons aren’t out of your reach after all.
We offer two types of assistance: merit-based scholarships and need-based financial assistance. About 10 percent of our students attend classes on scholarships. 
“We feel so strongly that performing arts education has so many benefits, for people of all ages, that we offer financial assistance. We don’t want finances to prevent anyone from attending the high-quality, unique arts classes that we provide,” said Wendy Leigh, vice president of education at the Straz Center. “While aid is based on our funding availability, we make every effort to assist as many students as possible.”
Applications for financial aid for our spring 2011 classes are due no later than Monday, Dec. 6. (Spring classes begin in January.) So don’t delay!
Financial aid applications can be found online at www.patelconservatory.org (go to the "Outreach Tab", then "Access Arts") or call 813.222.1002.