Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Join us for dinner at the 1st Annual Spotlight Awards!

Help us celebrate an outstanding year of classes, outreaches and performances! Bring your friends to the 1st Annual Spotlight Awards and dinner!

Get a glimpse of all that Patel Conservatory has to offer, with an evening of food, fun and performances from music, theater and dance. The evening will feature highlights of our 2010/2011 season, including pieces from our Patel Conservatory Youth Theater, Jazz Ensemble and Next Generation Ballet!

Join us for dinner and a show this Wednesday, May 18, 2011.
6 p.m.  Dinner, TECO Theater
Smoked chicken and sausage from Uncle John's Pride, pasta from Carrabba's, and treats from Kalupa's Bakery!

7:30 p.m. Spotlight Awards, Ferguson Hall
You can also enter to win 4 tickets to a Broadway show at the Straz Center, a fragrance basket from Dillard's, specialty foods from Fresh Market, and more!
The dinner is hosted by the new Patel Conservatory Booster Club, and all proceeds from the event will go towards the classes, scholarships and outreach programs of the Patel Conservatory.

Tickets are $20 and includes dinnerFree child ticket with paid adult admission!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jazz student deals with unique challenge

When Billy Gensel was 18 months old, he put his lip to a peanut butter cracker. He wrinkled his nose and gave it back to his mother. He didn’t taste it or swallow any of it, but within five minutes his face puffed up, his eyes swelled and he broke out in hives all over his body.
At age 2 1/2, his mother, Karen, spoke to an allergist who said peanuts could kill him if he came in contact with them. Ever since, she's been vigilant about keeping them away from him.
Now 11, Billy plays piano with the Intro to Jazz Ensemble class with James Crumbly. He’ll perform with other jazz students in the upcoming Jazz Jam on May 10.
“We’re grateful to any facility who takes extra precautions for us to keep him safe,” said Karen. “The consideration and sensitivity of the class is just awesome.”
The vending machines are shut off during Billy’s classes, and, Karen said, other students are mindful of not eating anything with peanuts prior to class, and antibacterial wipes are kept on hand.
“You just don’t find that attention to detail any place else,” she said.

Billy has played piano since the age of three, and started at the Patel Conservatory two years ago. He was looking to play in a group environment and found the Intro to Jazz Ensemble.

“When you play with others, it’s more energetic,” said Billy, who says he's learned a lot about ragtime and other styles of music in the class.
“I have learned a lot in the two years I’ve been there,” he said, “Mr. Crumbly tells us where stuff came from.”
In addition to the repertoire of songs he’s learned, he’s gotten the history behind the music.
Other classes performing in the Jazz Jam concert include Advanced Jazz Combo and Adult Jazz Voice Ensemble.
Join us for a fun evening of jazz music! The concert will be at 7 p.m. in the TECO Theater.

Friday, April 22, 2011

PCYO concert and auditions

May is the month to discover the Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra (PCYO).
Spring Concert
Enjoy the beautiful music of Hanson’s lush and romantic Symphony No. 2 performed by our highly talented Youth Symphony at the PCYO spring concert on Sun., May 8.
Other PCYO groups performing include Concert Strings, String Sinfonia and Junior Philharmonic.
The concert is the perfect opportunity for all to experience the exceptional talent of our nationally-acclaimed youth orchestra, directed by Dr. William Wiedrich, who also serves as the director of orchestral activities at the University of South Florida.
Placement auditions for PCYO are coming up in May. Auditions are open to all students in grades 2 - college. Mark your calendar for one of the following dates:

May 21, 1 - 3 p.m.
May 23, 5 - 8 p.m.
May 24, 5 - 8 p.m.
Aug. 22, 5 - 8 p.m.

To schedule your audition, please call 222-1002.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Midsummer Night's Dream welcomes guest artist from National Ballet of Cuba

The guest artist for Next Generation Ballet’s upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream hails to us from the National Ballet of Cuba.
Hoping to make a better life for himself here, Nieser Zambranan recently defected to the United States while on tour with the Cuban ballet company in Canada. Staying with relatives in Tampa, he came to the Patel Conservatory to train.
He will perform the lead role of Puck in the full-length adaptation of Shakespeare’s fantasy set to the music of Felix Mendelssohn, with choreography by Richard Cook.
“Nieser is a huge young talent and we are thrilled to help him with his transition from Cuba including him in our amazing production,” said director Peter Stark.
Zambranan studied ballet at the National Ballet of Cuba School where he won a silver medal at the National Competition in Havana. He joined the National Ballet of Cuba in 2007 where he danced in many classical ballets including Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia and Don Quixote. Zambrana was also a principal guest artist with the National Ballet of Venezuela where he danced the Cavalier in Nutcracker and the Torero in Carmen.

Come see Zambranan alongside Next Generation Ballet dancers and students from the Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet in A Midsummer Night's Dream on May 14, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center in Tampa.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tampa Prep students contribute to Alice set

The musical chairs in the Mad Hatter scene of PCYT's Alice in Wonderland, Jr. are characters in their own right, says Gigi Jennewein, theater director of the Patel Conservatory.
The twelve chairs used throughout the show were designed and painted by the Studio Art class and middle schoolers in Martha DeAmbrose’ art classes at Tampa Preparatory School.

“Ms. Ambrose embraced the idea enthusiastically and within one short week of dropping the chairs off at Tampa Prep, they were completed and back to us for technical rehearsals,” said Jennewein.
“Each chair tells an individual story,” said DeAmbrose. Each represents a scene in the show: the tea party, the rabbit, the drinks that make Alice grow, etc.

The students came up with the designs on their own, making each one an artistic expression.
“Just watching the middle schoolers and upper classes come together was wonderful,” said DeAmbrose. Some students are interested in pursuing set design, so this was a nice introduction for them, she said.
 “I love when [the chairs] make their entrance on stage, not just because they are so fitting for the scene, but because of the partnership that went into creating them,” said Jennewein.
Alice in Wonderland, Jr. continues this weekend at the Patel Conservatory, with shows Thursday through Saturday.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Booster club news

The next meeting of the new Patel Conservatory Booster Club will be Tues., April 19 at 6 p.m.
Anyone interested in joining this volunteer organization to support and promote Patel Conservatory programs and classes is welcome to attend.
T-Shirt sales
In anticipation of the upcoming Spotlight Awards, the Booster Club is selling Patel Conservatory t-shirts! Wear them to rehearsals, volunteering backstage or just hanging out! They are $10 each and order forms are available in the library. Once ordered, they usually only take a few days to arrive.
Program Ads (due April 25)
Support arts education by purchasing an ad in the event program for the upcoming Spotlight Awards. All proceeds from the event go directly to the programs, outreaches and classes at the Patel Conservatory.
If you know of anyone interested in supporting the Spotlight Awards with a donation or program ad, please contact Beth Miller at
Booster Club events
If you have ideas for future events and activities, please email Beth Miller at

Free tickets for current students

Patel Conservatory is offering tickets to current students for two events this weekend:
Master Class with Sherrill Milnes and the Opera Tampa New Artists- Fri., April 15, 7:30 p.m. in the Jaeb Theater. Get a chance to watch new artists train with renowned opera star Sherrill Milnes.
Opera Tampa Prelude concert for La Traviata - Sun., April 17, 2 p.m. in the TECO Theater. This prelude concert is an eclectic mix of music from our Opera Tampa New Artists and will give a peek at La Traviata.
Three tickets per ID badge are available at the box office.
(Discounts do not apply to prior sales and cannot be combined with any other offer. Subject to availability. No rain checks. No cash value. Additional fees may apply.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Free ballet master classes June 4

The Patel Conservatory in Tampa will host free dance classes on Sat., June 4, 2011.

The following ballet master classes are your chance to receive free training from our instructors. It's also the perfect opportunity to check out the dance program at the Patel Conservatory, located at the Straz Center in Tampa. We offer dance classes for adults and children of all ages and skill levels.

The Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet (PCYB) program is the official school of Next Generation Ballet. Next Generation Ballet and the PCYB recently won “Outstanding School” at the New York finals of the Youth America Grand Prix.

These master classes are free, but pre-registration is required.

Intro. to Ballet Master Class
Age 3-K
9-9:45 a.m. Explore the joy of dance with Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet’s faculty! No previous training is required, but all students must be at least 3 years old by Sept. 1, 2011 in order to participate. This class offers the opportunity to be placed in young children’s cance classes starting on June 6, as well as the 2011-2012 school year program with PCYB.
Current PCYB students who have completed Dress Up & Dance and Creative Movement 1 are welcome to take this class as part of their training program.

Beginning Ballet Master Class
Gr. 1-8
10:15-11:15 a.m. Learn the fundamentals of ballet technique with Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet’s faculty! No previous training is required, but students with some prior experience may participate. This class offers the opportunity to be placed in Young Children’s Dance Classes, the Junior Intensive and the Intro Intensive this summer, as well as the 2011-2012 school year program with PCYB.
Current PCYB students who have completed Creative Movement 2, Primary, and Preparatory are welcome to take this class as part of their training program.

Elementary/Intermediate Ballet Master Class
Gr. 4-12
1-2:15 p.m. Take a class with Next Generation Ballet’s award-winning faculty! This class is designed for students with at least two years of consistent ballet training. Students have the opportunity to be placed in the Junior Intensive and the Intro Intensive this summer, as well as the 2011-2012 school year program with PCYB.
Current PCYB students who have completed Levels 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B are encouraged to take this class as part of their training program.

To pre-register for any of the above classes, call 813.222.1263 or email

Kids of all ages will enjoy Alice in Wonderland, Jr.

Take your children on a magical adventure into Wonderland with Alice in Wonderland, Jr.

The Patel Conservatory Youth Theater production opens Thursday and plays this weekend and next weekend. It's a wonderful opportunity for parents to introduce little ones to live theater. It's also a great way for any child interested in acting/performing to check out our youth theater program.

With colorful costumes, choreography and all the classic songs like Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, kids of all ages will enjoy this fun adventure into the fantasy world of Wonderland.

Registration is now open for our summer youth theater classes. If you love Alice in Wonderland, Jr., come be a part of Seussical the Musical!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Alice in Wonderland, Jr. cast makes special appearance

The cast of Alice in Wonderland, Jr. had a great time yesterday performing at the Children’s Museum.
The kids performed excerpts from the show for the museum’s monthly Target Free Tuesday.
Caileigh Potter, 12, of Hyde Park, plays Violet, and enjoys being part of the Patel Conservatory Youth Theater program.
“It gives people our age an idea of what it feels like to be in a big production,” said Potter. “I just love being [at the Patel Conservatory]. Whenever I leave, I can’t wait to come back.”
The kids in PCYT agree that the program allows kids the full experience of being in a professional show, from the beginning of the year when they begin their theatrical training to the choreography and sets of the stage production.
“It really gives me the chance to progress and enhance my skills,” said Lauren Lehner, 12, of Davis Island. Lehner plays Daisy, and has been involved with PCYT for a few years. She was in PCYT’s School House Rock and Annie. “I love the people. Working with these people every day, you become great friends.”
Marisa Pettet, 12, of Riverview, who plays Petunia, also enjoys being with people who have the same interests and goals.
“You meet a lot of friends who like to do the same thing,” said Pettet. This is Pettet’s first year with PCYT, Jr. She’s done many plays through school and other groups, but says she’s learned a lot at the Patel Conservatory.
“I learned a lot in the acting class, and in dance, too, now I want to take dance,” she said.
PCYT includes acting, dance and vocal training to prepare students for the world of musical theater. “It gets you ready for professional theater,” said Pettet.
During the year, the kids also got the opportunity to see shows at the Straz Center, and to work with cast members of Wonderland and Billy Elliott.
“I learned to keep trying,” said Lehner of having Broadway actors visit her class. “You can go to an audition, and not get the part and it may have nothing to do with you. You just have to keep trying.”
If you’re interested in being involved with youth theater, come check out Alice in Wonderland, Jr. playing April 14-16, and April 21-23.

Register now for PCYT's summer production of Seussical Jr.!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Improve your on-camera skills

Actors who hope to work in “the biz” know that constant training is a must.

Anyone who wants to learn how to be more believable on camera, or gain confidence in front of an audience, should check out the upcoming on-camera acting workshop.
Taught by certified Meisner teachers who are professionals in the industry, the on-camera workshop series takes on scene study in April. Learn how to approach cold readings, script memorization and character preparation.
You’ll be more confident walking into your next audition, and be ready for bookings for television and film. And skills acquired in the class can help you in real-life situations like interviews and business presentations.
The Scene Study workshop for grades 6 - 12 runs April 9 - April 30, and the on-camera workshop for  adults runs April 28 - May 19.

A great day for rockin' out!

Last Saturday, the bands of Rock School and Rock School Jr. classes at the Patel Conservatory performed in front of a crowd of about 200 outside overlooking the river. It was a fabulous, sunny day on Tampa's Riverwalk, and the bands were awesome!
T.J. Couch on keyboards, with his band Broken Tom
“From the auditions, to the first day of practice and naming of the band, to the fine tuning of our songs as we led up to the performance, [instructor] Lee [Ahlin] was a talented professional through-and-through,” said T.J. Couch.
Couch is a member of the Straz Center’s Board of Trustees and the co-chair of the Straz Center’s Education Committee. A longtime piano player, he joined Rock School for the fun of playing with a band.
“The program was an extraordinary experience,” he said.
So whether you’re a kid, or a kid at heart, Rock School gets everyone jamming.
“It’s always different and exciting to go from playing an instrument by yourself in your home, to making music with other people and then performing it in front of a crowd,” said Wendy Leigh, the Straz Center’s director of education, who has also performed in Rock School.
Come see for yourself! Our next Rock School session starts the first week of June. Placement auditions for the summer program will be Sat., May 21 at 1 p.m. and Tues., May 24 at 6 p.m.
The auditions help instructors place students in a band according to their playing level. All levels are welcome, from beginners to advanced, and at the end of the class, you’ll be rocking out in concert!