Thursday, July 26, 2012

Student from Italy learns more than Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream

The cast of PCYT's A Midsummer Night's Dream, playing tomorrow at
the Patel Conservatory's TECO Theater.
Wrestling with the old English of a Shakespeare play is difficult for anyone. For Italian actor Lorenzo Tonelli, understanding the story was only half the problem.
Lorenzo plays the fun-loving Puck in tomorrow’s PCYT production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Patel Conservatory.
The 13-year-old from Bologna, Italy, speaks moderate English. So understanding the director and his fellow classmates for the past two weeks was as challenging as understanding the text.
“This is the first time I’ve done Shakespeare. I have some problems what I’m reading, but my father and the director help me to translate,” said Lorenzo.
The show will be the culmination of PCYT’s theater intensive program, during which students have learned vocal and acting techniques as well as an understanding of classic Shakespeare.
Lorenzo Tonelli, middle, joined us from Italy
to study theater this summer. Aaron Phillips,
left, plays Oberon, and Sasha Hollenbeck
plays Helena.
Lorenzo attends a performing arts school in Italy, where he has performed in many musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar. He sings, acts and plays piano, and recently had a role in a television movie to be broadcast in Italy.
His father Marco Tonelli works for an American company based out of Lakeland that manufactures commercial juice extractors for orange juice companies. He travels from Bologna to Lakeland about every other month.
Last summer, Lorenzo joined him in Lakeland and attended YMCA summer camps. This summer, in searching for some performing arts camps, a co-worker referred Marco to the Patel Conservatory.
“I visited in March, and found it extremely exciting,” said Marco. He says in Italy, when people think about the performing arts in America, they imagine the excitement of Broadway.
Marco finds the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center, “exactly matching with this ideal we have,” he explained.
Staying at the Howard Johnson’s across the street, Lorenzo goes to classes at the Conservatory while Marco goes to work in Lakeland.
“I tried all that Patel Conservatory has to offer,” said Lorenzo, who also took voice and piano lessons at the Conservatory during his stay in Tampa. “It has been a good’s fun.”
Lorenzo says his instructor and Midsummer director Giles Davies has helped him learn more about character.
“I feel my character inside of me,” said Lorenzo. “I am not so much of a jokester as Puck, but I love it because he’s my favorite character.”
As director, Davies has a keen instinct. “He finds the right movements in the right place... he can do that...few people can.”

See Tonelli and all the talented cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream tomorrow night, Fri., July 27, 2012 at 7 p.m. For tickets or more information, click here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Fantasy featured on national television

Daytime hosts Lindsay MacDonald and Cindi Edwards with brothers Ethan
and Colin Fuller, who will perform in NGB's Summer Fantasy on Friday.
Next Generation Ballet’s summer dance production, Summer Fantasy, will be featured on the national television morning show Daytime tomorrow.
Dancers Ethan and Colin Fuller joined NGB’s artistic director Peter Stark on the show to talk about the production and show off a preview.
Longtime students of Stark, Ethan and Colin are training at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa for four weeks this summer as part of NGB’s summer intensive program.
“It’s been great, very challenging,” said Colin, 18, who has trained with the School of American Ballet for the past two years and will attend Julliard this fall. Colin recently made it to the top 35 contestants on the popular television show So You Think You Can Dance.
His younger brother Ethan, 14, started dancing because he was always in tow for dance classes and competitions.
“We have an aunt who dances in New York City, so we both got into it because of her,” said Ethan.
Ethan toured last year from January through December with the Broadway musical Billy Elliot. He played the coveted lead role of Billy.
Playing the lead in a major Broadway musical was both fun, and emotionally and physically taxing, said Ethan.
“It was stressful on my body and mind, but I loved performing the show,” said Ethan.
Ethan’s background is predominantly in ballet and contemporary, so he hadn’t done any tapping or much acting or singing prior to being cast in the show.
“It amazed me what a good actor he was, it was a really dramatic role,” said Ethan’s mom Camille.
Though rehearsals were tough, and he toured six cities, including three months in San Francisco, CA, “I always had enough energy that it was still fun.”
The brothers are from Melbourne and have trained with Stark on and off for years, both in Orlando and at the Patel Conservatory. Ethan also trains with New Dimensions Dance Company in Titusville.
Both have enjoyed taking classes this summer with NGB’s guest instructors, including Jeremy Blanton, Dylan G-Bowley and siblings Jeff and Lia Cirio of the Boston Ballet, and look forward to performing in Friday’s Summer Fantasy.
For a preview of Friday night’s show, check out Colin performing a contemporary piece on Daytime this Wednesday morning, July 25, 2012, on WFLA Channel 8 at 10 a.m.
Summer Fantasy will be Fri., July 27, 2012 at 7 p.m. in Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa. For tickets, click here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

NGB's Summer Fantasy features talent from around the country

When Tanner Bleck was little, he wanted to be on Blues Clues.
“I always wanted to be Steve from Blues Clues, it used to be my favorite show,” said Tanner.
So when he was six years old, he asked for acting lessons for his birthday. From then on, he’s loved performing.
Now an accomplished dancer, the 14-year old from Lexington, KY will perform this Friday along with nearly 150 advanced ballet students from around the globe in Next Generation Ballet’s Summer Fantasy.
The show will be a culmination of NGB’s summer intensive and will include performances from professional guest artists including Jeffrey Cirio and Lia Cirio of the Boston Ballet, and Dylan G-Bowley of Ballet Memphis.
When Tanner was seven years old, through his acting classes, he learned about the concept of the triple threat (an actor, singer and dancer), which piqued his interest in dance. A fan of the television show So You Think You Can Dance, he thought he'd take ballroom dance. But he couldn't find any local classes. He wasn’t immediately sold on the idea of ballet, but his mom told him that ballet was the basis for most other dance styles.

"She told me, 'if you can do that, you can do anything,'" he said.

So he decided to take the plunge and signed up for lessons at Bluegrass Youth Ballet.
“Every since I took my first ballet class, I fell in love with it,” said Tanner, who went on to the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Lexington, and continued lessons at Bluegrass Youth Ballet.

Now, instead of dreaming about being on TV, he dreams of becoming a professional dancer. 
Earlier this year, he took first place in the junior classical dance category at the Indianapolis regional Youth America Grand Prix competition.

"At competitions, I like that feeling of seeing other kids do really good, and I want to be as good as them."

He went on to the YAGP finals in New York in April and has since had invitations to study at some of the best ballet schools.
He has chosen to join us this fall at the Patel Conservatory to train full-time in NGB’s pre-professional program.
“I kept hearing everyone talk about how Peter [Stark] would be a good fit for me. I had this gut feeling to come here,” said Tanner. “Then I started working with Peter, and I knew this is the one [school] I wanted to go to...
“He’s helped me so much with my technique, and helping me build strength.”
In addition learning how to jump higher and land his double tours, Tanner’s also enjoyed getting to know dancers from around the country these past few weeks. And, he’s earned the privilege to perform a solo in this Friday’s show.
“No one’s really asked me to do anything like that before, my own solo,” he said.
He’s thrilled to be able “to dance with other amazing dancers from around the world.”
Other guest performers include NGB alumni Drew Nelson and Skyler Martin. Nelson currently attends Royal Ballet School (RBS), and Martin is a recent graduate of the RBS (2012) and new company member with Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.
Check out Tanner and 150 other talented dancers this Friday at Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa for Summer Fantasy at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spotlight on Caleb Quezon

Ever since Caleb Quezon saw Wicked on Broadway when he was six years old, he knew he wanted to perform.
The thirteen-year-old from South Tampa plays the debonair Lumière in this weekend’s PCYT production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr. at the Straz Center.
“This was probably one of the most difficult characters for me to play because he’s a ladies man and hits on all the girls, but it’s a fun character,” said Caleb.
As soon as Caleb began taking classes at the Patel Conservatory at the Straz shortly after he saw Wicked, he knew it was the place for him.
“The people here always accepted me and were always so nice,” said Caleb. “My first director was Miss Ami [Sallee] and she’s always fun to be around.”
Over the years, he’s been in several of our PCYT (Patel Conservatory Youth Theater) productions, from Music Man to last summer’s hit Seussical, the Musical, Jr. He even had the opportunity to perform in the 2008 Broadway tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the Morsani theater as an orphan.
“A hundred kids auditioned, and they only chose six,” said Caleb. “It was pretty difficult..we had three days to learn our lines and blocking and then it was the night of the show.”
Accustomed to putting a show together quickly, he and more than 50 cast members have been working for Beauty and the Beast, Jr. for nearly three weeks. In the first week, it was a crash course of lines and choreography, and they’ve been polishing and practicing ever since.
“Line learning has never been that much of a challenge for me, but choreography is hard for me,” he admits.
Today the group endured mic checks and sound checks as they went through technical rehearsal in Ferguson Hall. The incredible, professional sets and production team give the kids invaluable experience.
The long rehearsals and challenges are all part of the fun, says Caleb.
“It’s what I love doing. I want to be doing this my entire life,” he said. “Whenever I’m on stage...I’m what God made us to be, which is unique.”
Bring the kids out to see the wondrous Beauty and Beast, Jr. at 7 p.m. this Thurs., July 19 and Fri., July 20, 2012. Click here for tickets.

Enter our scholarship contest!

Have you ever thought about being on stage? Have you ever dreamed about performing in front of an audience?

Now is your chance to get free training in the performing arts with the Patel Conservatory’s scholarship contest!

In the hopes of inspiring talent and motivating young artists to find their inner performer, the Patel Conservatory is awarding scholarships for classes in dancetheater and  music*

As part of the Straz Center in downtown Tampa, the Patel Conservatory offers classes for adults and children of all ages, from beginning to advanced pre-professional training in the arts. We offer acting classes, musical theater, dance, vocal arts, and instrumental lessons in rock and classical music. Most of our classes include a final performance in one of the Straz theaters, so you can live that dream!

To enter to win, all you have to do is submit a two-minute video showing us your talent in dance, theater or music. Perform a monologue or favorite scene from a play or movie... show us your dance an instrument or sing a song!

Here is your opportunity to show us what you've got!

The deadline for video submissions will be August 17th, 2012.

Winners will receive a scholarship for a class at the Patel Conservatory for the 2012-13 school year!*

For details and instructions on how to enter the scholarship contest, please visit our website.

Break a leg!

*A limited number of scholarships will be awarded at the discretion of the Patel Conservatory faculty. See website for details and contest rules.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Students show off our summer camps on Good Day Tampa Bay

Next Generation Ballet students with Fox TV's Charley
Belcher (top middle)

Charlie Belcher with Fox TV's Good Day Tampa Bay visited the Patel Conservatory this morning to feature some of the amazing talent in our summer camps.
Students from Next Generation Ballet's summer intensive, Beauty and the Beast, Classical Voice Intensive and Making a Short Film camp represented our dance, music and theater programs.
Ballet intensive student Ethan Fuller performed a soulful contemporary solo, How He Loves, which recently won him a second place title at the Starbound National Talent Competition in Orlando. Fuller, who played Billy last year in the national Broadway tour of Billy Elliot, performs in the upcoming production of Summer Fantasy on July 27 in Ferguson Hall.
Students in our PCYT production of Beauty and the Beast showed off “Be Our Guest”. After only a week and a half in rehearsal, they were fantastic! The show will be July 19 and 20, 2012 in Ferguson Hall.
The incredible vocals of Carlos Santelli gave us a preview of what’s to come in the Classical Voice intensive concert on July 20, 2012.
Finally, students working in front of and behind the camera gave us a glimpse of what kids can look forward to in the upcoming Making a Short Film Camp.
To check out this morning’s performances, click here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Placement for fall Youth Orchestra

The Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra (PCYO) will soon have placements for its 2012/13 season.
Our youth orchestra features the Patel Conservatory Chamber Orchestra (PCCO) for advanced string, woodwind, brass and percussion players, the Intermezzo Orchestra for intermediate violin, viola, cello or bass players, and an extensive Chamber Music program.
Through PCYO, students learn to apply skills from private lessons or school music programs as they gain orchestral ensemble experience.

PCYO has performed twice at Carnegie Hall in New York City and at other prestigious institutions such as the New World Symphony in Miami.

PCYO performs both the classics as well as original music. Last season, PCCO premiered an original work by London-based composer Martin Gaughan.

All auditions will be heard by Gregory Ruffer, Music Department Chair, Stephen P. Brown, Principal Conductor, and Catherine Michelsen, Associate Conductor.

String, wind and percussion students will receive feedback on their performance from music faculty and placed in the ensemble that best suits their skill level.
Placement auditions will be:

August 13, 14 and 15
5:30-8 p.m.
To schedule an audition appointment, please e-mail or call 813.222.1002.

Making movie magic

Due to popular demand, the Patel Conservatory in Tampa has added another session of our popular camp, Making a Short Film.
“Working with a whole team of people was pretty interesting,” said Jacob Ulintz, who took the Short Film camp in June.  
Fourteen-year old Jacob is a longtime Patel Conservatory theater student who has taken on-camera acting and musical theater classes since he was in the fifth grade.
“No matter what he’s taken [at the Conservatory], it has been quality,” said Angela Ulintz, Jacob’s mom. “I’m very impressed with the level of commitment, and expertise and knowledge of the instructors.”

“It’s more professional than any other theater group that I’ve been in,” said Jacob, who recently played Prince Dauntless in PCYT’s Once Upon a Mattress.

Jacob Ulintz, third from left, in Patel Conservatory's recent
production of Once Upon a Mattress
Recently, Ulintz took an interest in being behind the camera. He started making his own movies with his father’s video camera a couple of years ago, at first creating stop-action films using legos, and then editing them on his home computer.

“I started getting into watching films and wanting to know how they’re made. Steven Spielberg has been my inspiration,” said Jacob. He and a couple of friends made their own film, and Jacob taught himself to use editing and special effects computer programs (Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects).

He enjoys watching how-to filmmaking videos on You Tube, and said he learned more techniques about creating emotion through camera angles in the Making a Short Film camp. 

During the Short Film camp, students formed production teams. Then they collaborated to create a film from start to finish. They learned about the entire filmmaking process, from concept through story boarding, screenwriting, pre-production design, shooting and editing.

Ulintz was a co-writer, director and editor for his group. He said he enjoyed the collaborative process of having a film crew, from the writers to the set designers and make-artists.
His team’s finished film, Love After Life, will be shown along with others from all of the film camps in the Short Film Festival on August 10 in the TECO Theater.
Jacob will also perform along with 60 other kids in PCYT’s upcoming production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr.
“You learn something every day from that class,” said Jacob of the three-week camp. “I just love it all in general, [the Conservatory] is like my home away from home.”
The next Making a Short Film Camp, for grades 5 through 12, will be from July 30 through August 10, 2012. No previous film experience is necessary.
The classic Beauty and the Beast, Jr., with its lively costumes and musical numbers, is a great show to bring the kids. The show will be Thurs., July 19 and Fri., July 20, 2012 in Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Master voice classes open for observation

Some of the country’s most renowned opera singers will soon be visiting the Patel Conservatory in Tampa as part of our Classical Voice Intensive.
Elite voice instructors like Salvatore Champagne and Beverly Rinaldi will conduct master classes for Patel Conservatory music students.
The public is invited to observe these classes at no charge.
“The Classical Voice Intensive brings master teachers from around the U.S. together with the rising stars of classical music to share their expertise and experience. It is a rare treat to have so many amazing teachers in one place,” said Gregory Ruffer, Patel Conservatory music department chair.
Anyone interested in classical singing will thoroughly enjoy these evenings.
The following master classes are open for observation in the TECO Theater at the Patel Conservatory:
Salvatore Champagne
Tues., July 10, 7 to 9 p.m.
A graduate of Oberlin College and the Juilliard School, Champagne made his debut touring Europe as a soloist with Leonard Bernstein. He sang leading tenor roles with Badisches Staatstheater in Germany and in many of Europe’s opera houses.

Mark Lubas is among the guest
artists offering master classes.
Wed., July 11, 7 to 9 p.m.
Lubas holds degrees from the New England Conservatory. He has appeared as a tenor soloist with Nashville Symphony and sung roles with Boston Lyric Opera, Mobile Opera and Opera Carolina.

Stella Zambalis

Thurs., July 12, 7 to 9 p.m.
A soprano, Zambalis has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera and La Scala in Milan, among others. Her concert appearances have included Houston Symphony, Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin and the Moscow Radio and Television Orchestra.

Beverley Rinaldi

Fri., July 13, 7 to 9 p.m.
A master teacher of great singers, Rinaldi began as a Broadway performer and later moved into opera, performing at Avery Fisher and Carnegie Halls.
David Friedman
Mon., July 16, 7 to 9 p.m.
Composer, conductor, author and singer, Friedman is known for conducting Broadway musicals and recently, writing Broadway musicals. His Chasing Nicolette is slated to open on Broadway next season.

Gregory Ruffer and Robyn Frey-Monell

Tues., July 17, 7 to 9 p.m.
Conductor and noted voice teacher, Ruffer is the music department chair at the Patel Conservatory and chorus master for Opera Tampa. He was conductor of The Orlando Chorale and has sung with The Washington Chorus and Paul Hill Chorale.
A soprano, Frey-Monell holds degrees from Westminster Choir College and Columbia University. She has appeared as soloist with Carmel Bach Festival and The Orlando Chorale and has sung with Opera Pacific and Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Brad Diamond
Wed., July 18, 7 to 9 p.m.
Diamond holds degrees from Westminster Choir College and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory and teaches voice at the University of South Florida. A tenor, he has appeared with Lyric Opera Cleveland, Opera Pacific and Florentine Opera Company of Milwaukee.

Ruth Golden

Thurs., July 19, 7 to 9 p.m.
Golden was a leading soprano with New York City Opera from 1985-1991 under Beverly Sills. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Symphony Space and with Live from Lincoln Center.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Spotlight on Carlos Santelli

From Jerry Lee Lewis to Mozart, Carlos Santelli has come a long way.
Santelli is a music intern at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa, and a tenor who’ll be training in our upcoming Classical Voice Intensive.
But he wasn’t always a classical singer. When Santelli was younger, he wanted to rock the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis.
“I wanted to play rockabilly, and thought I wanted to be a pianist,” said Santelli, 20, of Orlando.
Having been a part of his school choirs since he was in the fourth grade, Santelli joined the Orlando Chorale when he was a junior in high school. There he met Gregory Ruffer, now the music chair at the Patel Conservatory, and began private voice lessons.
“Working with Greg was amazing. He was the reason I realized I could sing in the classical music world,” said Santelli. “He helped improve my singing by light years.”
That was also the year Santelli saw his first opera online, La Sonnambula.
“The staging was new. The characters were in street clothes, and the stage was set up to look like a rehearsal hall,” said Santelli.
His impression of opera had always been that it was very formal. This new staging caught his attention and got him thinking about singing opera. “It was really cool to see it that way,” he said.
Having decided to study classical voice, Santelli auditioned and got into the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, where he studies with renowned opera tenor Salvatore Champagne.
“My freshman year, I got to sing in an opera for the first time...I was actually in an opera before I got to see one live.”
Last summer, he was among an elite group of young artists from around the country chosen for the Oberlin in Italy program, a language and music intensive in Tuscany.
There, he had the unique experience of playing Paolino in il Matrimonio Segreto by Domenico Cimarosa “in the round.” Unlike traditional opera, it was an outdoor production, with the stage set in the middle of the audience.
“It was a really personal and intimate experience with the audience,” said Santelli.
This summer, he’s helped teach the Patel Conservatory’s Instrumental Petting Zoo camp and the Junior Vocal Arts Intensive. Working with the younger students reminded him of the wonder of discovering a new instrument and learning to sing for the first time.
“It was cool to see the beginning of the music process, I'd forgotten what that’s like,” said Santelli.
He says working at the Conservatory has also been rewarding because Ruffer and other staff always present him with new challenges and believe in his success. “It’s nice having people around to really push me in a direciton I might not have been comfortable with.”
Next week, he looks forward to delving into some of his own work as well as being challenged with new material during the Classical Voice Intensive (CVI).
As part of the CVI, he’ll participate in master classes with renowned vocal instructors from around the country including Champagne, Stella Zambalis, David Friedman, Ruth Golden, Beverly Rinaldi, Robyn Frey-Monell, Brad Diamond and Mark Lubas. All master classes are open for observation. Click here for a complete schedule.
Santelli will perform in the Classical Voice Intensive concert on Fri., July 20, 2012 at 7 p.m. in TECO Theater. Don't miss this opportunity to see Santelli and other exceptional up-and-coming classical singers!
“People have this idea of opera being such a high society thing,” said Santelli. “A lot of the social issues and comedy in opera are still relevant, so interpretation and performance practice is still evolving and adapting to modern day... it's morals and humor are timeless.”