Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Give back. Check out the Conservatory's holiday Wish List!

As the holidays approach, we’re reminded of the giving spirit of the season. Caring for others is as much a part of the season as turkey and presents under the tree.

This holiday season, you can give back to the Patel Conservatory by choosing an ornament on our Wish Tree in TECO Lobby.

From iTunes and Home Depot gift cards to hand sanitizer, the Conservatory’s wish list items will directly benefit the teachers in our classrooms.

Consider giving an item from our Wish Tree in lieu of holiday gifts for the teacher this year.

Help our teachers purchase songs for classes with an iTunes gift card. Help our production department purchase materials for sets and classroom supplies, including lumber, spike tape and Marley tape with Visa or Home Depot gift cards. Or, support our outreach program by contributing to the cost of ballet shoes for students in the dance classes at Metropolitan Ministries.

You can also help a student’s dreams come true by contributing to our Scholarship Stars!

Every gift, no matter the amount, contributes to the Conservatory’s ability to keep excellent performing arts education accessible for all.

As you do your holiday shopping, add one of the following items to your list:

iTunes gift card (all teachers)
Visa gift card (Marley tape for dance floors, spike tape, etc.)
Home Depot gift cards (building sets and classroom maintenance)
Gift card for Sam Ash or Paragon Music (Rock School supplies)
$20 donation (to underwrite cost of ballet shoes for Metropolitan Ministries students)
$25 - $250 donation for our Scholarship Stars (to help underwrite our financial assistance and scholarship program)
Macbook batteries (4) and power cords (4) (model #: A1185 10.8V) 
New MacBook (for video editing and production needs)
Expo markers (all classrooms)
Tissues, ice packs and band-aids (all classrooms)

All gifts directly support the Patel Conservatory's efforts in our classrooms, on our stages and throughout the community.

When you contribute an item on our Wish Tree, we’ll put your name, or your student’s name, on the tree!

Simply choose an item on our Wish Tree in TECO Lobby, purchase the gift, then turn it in to the registrar in the Chairmen’s Library or Student Life office by Dec. 21, 2013.

For questions or more information, contact us at 813.222.1002 or patelconservatory@strazcenter.org.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Save the date for the 2014 Spotlight Awards

Mark your calendars now for the 2014 Spotlight Awards!

May 20, 2014
6:30 Performance
8 p.m. Dinner and dancing

This end-of-the year show will recognize outstanding students and feature the best performances from the Patel Conservatory’s 2013/14 season.

After the performance, enjoy dinner and dancing for the entire family.

This year, the evening will include a silent auction, and a drawing for the chance to win a trip for four to New York City!

Proceeds from the Spotlight Awards supports our classes, scholarships and outreach programs.

The Conservatory provides more than $250,000 in scholarships and financial aid each year. In addition, we provide performing arts classes for deserving schools and organizations throughout the community. Tuition and ticket sales only cover 65% of our overall costs. We rely on the generosity of individuals, companies and private foundations to bridge the gap.

Help us continue to enrich the lives of thousands of children, both in our classrooms and throughout Tampa Bay.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, program ads, and silent auction donations, or to volunteer for the event, contact Beth Miller at 813-222-6425 or elizabeth.miller@strazcenter.org.

Give the gift to dream, reach, discover and create. Support the Patel Conservatory’s 2014 Spotlight Awards.

Spotlight on Julia Powell

Julia Powell, left, performs at a Rock School Blowout concert.
Fourteen-year-old Julia Powell is a longtime student at the Patel Conservatory.

"My favorite thing about the Patel Conservatory is the music program...I think it's individualized to the person, plus there are a lot of classes," said Julia.

She started in the theater program when she was young, and has participated in Rock School for the past two years as a guitarist and a vocalist. 

“I like Rock School because I want to be a musician and it’s given me an image of what it’s going to be like,” she said.

This year, she’s also taking the new Voice Rocks! (VOX) class. The class has given her the opportunity to focus on vocal training in the style of music she enjoys.

“The vocals are my favorite part of performing. I enjoy the VOX program because it allows me to have more individualized attention.”

VOX teacher Deborah Lynch enjoys having Julia in her class. Dee teaches a number of classes at the Patel Conservatory and helps coordinate our Rock School Program. 

“Julia is soft-spoken, gracious and attentive,” said Lynch. “She possesses a thirst for knowledge that is reflected in her participation in the Conservatory's Rock music programs. She brings a lovely spirit to her classes!”

This weekend, Julia will perform in the Rock School Blowout concert. She’ll play two songs with her Rock School band, the Mellow Strawberries, as well as Green Day’s hit Time of Your Life, which will be her first solo performance.

The concert will be Sat., Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. in the Jaeb Theater. Tickets are still $5 through today, and $7 on the day of the show.

For more information about the Rock School Blowout or the VOX class, contact us at 813-222-1002 or visit our website.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Auditions for spring musicals

by Paige Strott, Patel Conservatory Marketing Assistant

The Patel Conservatory Theater (PCT) is gearing up for auditions for their spring shows!

The shows are performance-based production classes, in which students can put into practice the skills they gain in the classroom. They’ll build theater, music and dance skills while participating in a nurturing yet demanding rehearsal process that culminate in ticketed performances, which are open to the public.

Joust! A Mighty Medieval Musical

On Nov. 23, PCT will have auditions for students in grades 2-4 for the performance of Joust! A Mighty Medieval Musical.

Directed by Patel Conservatory theater instructor Audrey Siegler, the show is the tale of medieval knights who decide to put down their weapons and pick up instruments instead.

Rehearsals begin in January and performance dates are Feb. 27 through Mar. 8. 

Auditions will be held on this Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 from 10 a.m. to noon. Students should prepare 16 bars of a song and a 30- to 60-second monologue, or use the ones provided here: audition sample song audition sample monologue

Oklahoma! auditions are also coming up and are sure to bring in some fantastic talent.

This Rogers and Hammerstein musical classic will be put on in the spring. Rehearsals begin in January, with performance in May.

Auditions are open to students in grade five through adult, and will take place Wed., Dec. 11 and Tues., Jan. 7, at 5:30 p.m.

Please prepare 16 bars of a song from a traditional musical in your range. 

For both auditions remember to dress ready to dance!

For more information or to schedule an audition or for either show, please contact the theater department at 813.222.6414 or pateltheater@strazcenter.org.

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New cafe opens at the Straz Center!

Exciting news for Patel Conservatory families in need of sustenance or a caffeine fix... a new coffee shop on site!

SteamHeat Cafe opens today at the Straz Center, just in time for the first performance of The Book of Mormon.

The former retail space near the ticket sales office is now a sleek coffee shop featuring coffee by Tampa’s Buddy Brew Coffee.

SteamHeat Cafe offers a menu of light fare such as Panini, salads and desserts, as well as a full menu of coffee beverages.

The cafe is open from 5 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tell us what you think of the new digs!

A Little Princess inspires hope

When A Little Princess director Jessica Scruggs asked her cast to describe the play in one word, the most resounding word was hope.

Jessica Scruggs
“This is a timeless classic that is not your average princess story,” said Scruggs.

Scruggs grew up watching the film version starring Shirley Temple with her grandmother. “I have an emotional connection to the show,” she said. 

So when asked to direct, she felt it must be fate that finally brought her to the Patel Conservatory.

This is her first show with the Conservatory. A native of New York City, she moved to Tampa last year when her husband accepted a job here.

A longtime performer, director and choreographer, she had her first acting role when she was seven years old on Sesame Street.

“After that, I decided, I’m going to be an actress. There was no question,” she said.

Scruggs attended the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City, then received a B.A. in theatre arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Her television credits include 30 Rock, AMC’s Rubicon and One Life to Live and her theater experience ranges from Off-Broadway to independent theater festivals.

She is currently the director of musical theater at Blake High School.

“I like working at Blake and the Patel Conservatory because the kids take it seriously,” said Scruggs.

A Little Princess is a musical that tells the story of Sara Crewe, a little girl with a big imagination. To Sara, everyone at Miss Minchin's boarding school is a story: cold Miss Minchin; her timid sister, Miss Amelia; pupils such as spiteful Lavinia or plodding Ermengarde. Imagination sustains Sara when she is orphaned and banished to the attic.
“It’s a really challenging play because it was written for adults actors. But the students have risen to the occasion. The kids in the show are all very passionate about the story they are telling. It’s very genuine,” said Scruggs.
Ultimately, the play lets kids know that anyone can be a princess, even if they are going through hard times, as long as they are kind to others.

“That’s what really resonates with me about this story. It is full of hope.”

A Little Princess plays Nov. 14 through Nov. 23, 2013. For tickets, click here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spotlight on Hannah Stanford

The role of the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker typically goes to seasoned professionals of the most elite dance companies.

Hannah Stanford. Photo by Kathy Schmitt.
Yet, Hannah Stanford brings grace and maturity to this principle role at only age 15, for the second time.

For the second year in a row, Stanford will perform as the Snow Queen in an upcoming performance of Next Generation Ballet’s The Nutcracker, the Great Imperial Ballet at the Straz Center.

“In a company, you start in the corp. You don’t start as a principle dancer,” said Stanford. “It’s really exciting. It’s amazing to have this role at 15.”

Stanford was recently named as one of Creative Loafing’s annual 25 and Under, which features the Tampa Bay area’s most promising up and coming artists under the age of 25.

She moved from Port Orange, Fla. to the Tampa area nearly three years ago to study dance full-time at the Patel Conservatory. As a Next Generation Ballet (NGB) New Artist, she trains five to six days a week, squeezing in academics in the mornings through Florida Virtual School. A year ahead academically, she’ll graduate before turning 17.

She’s also a year ahead in the dance world. She was accepted at age 14 to the Royal Ballet School in London, but had to wait meet their age requirement. She’ll attend in the fall of 2014.

“I’m very excited to go to London. It’s coming closer every day,” she said.

For Stanford, it’s all dance, all the time, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love dancing, and I love being at the Conservatory, just to see my friends and to dance.”

In addition to the Snow Queen, she’ll also perform in the Snow Corps and the Flower Corps.

“I love this production of The Nutcracker because the costumes are very authentic and the set is just beautiful. And the choreography is amazing.”

Don’t miss Stanford and all of the award-winner NGB dancers in The Great Imperial Ballet, Dec. 7 and 8 at the Straz Center.

From the exquisite sets and costumes to the extraordinary talent of the NGB dancers, this holiday favorite is bound to be the highlight of your season.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Free theater workshop with TE'A

Join us for a FREE TE’A Insight Theatre master class this Sunday!

TE’A (Theatre, Engagement & Action) is a group of artists who dedicate their time and talent to creating Insight Theatre. Insight Theatre is an interactive, documentary-style performance that is undergirded by the Insight approach to conflict transformation that builds and strengthens communities on the key issues that threaten to divide or polarize them.

TE’A is pioneering Insight Theatre to foster the kind of curiosity, insight and self-reflection that enables audiences to transcend the barriers of experience, identity and culture that disconnect them from each other, or that lock them into conflict.

For more information on TE’A and Insight Theatre, click here.

The free master class will be Sun., Nov. 10 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Patel Conservatory.

Space is limited. Please RSVP by Wed., Nov. 6, 2013.

To register, call 813.222.1002 or email patelconservatory@strazcenter.org (include student’s name, age, phone and email).

October was full of exciting guest artist appearances

Owen Thorne, of the Scottish Ballet, works with
NGB students at the Patel Conservatory.
When visiting artists perform at the Straz Center, students at the Patel Conservatory and our partnership schools often reap the benefits.

Last month, guest artists offered some exciting master classes and performances.

Scottish Ballet
Artists from the Scottish Ballet recently offered master classes to our Next Generation Ballet (NGB) students at the Conservatory, as well as our partnerships schools.

The Scottish Ballet is Scotland's national dance company, presenting a wide range of high-quality dance to audiences across Scotland, the UK and abroad. They brought their production of A Street Car Named Desire to only three locations in the U.S., and the Straz Center was one of them.

During their time in Tampa, artists from the company spent time in the community by providing dance master classes for students at Blake High School, Metropolitan Ministries Partnership School and NGB.

Students at the Metropolitan Ministries Partnership School enjoyed a
master class with the Scottish Ballet.

Scottish Ballet master class at Blake High School

Improvised Shakespeare Company
Back by popular demand, The Improvised Shakespeare Company (ISC) returned to the Straz Center in October. Based on one audience suggestion, ISC creates a fully improvised play in Elizabethan style.

While in town for their two performances, ISC spent time in residence with some of our great partnership organizations. They had the opportunity to visit Academy Prep Center of Tampa, Tampa Preparatory School, Orange Grove Middle Magnet School, as well as our Conservatory students. Each workshop was different and unique. Why? Because it’s improv! Students thoroughly enjoyed the interactive performances created on the spot!

Students at Orange Grove Middle Magnet School enjoyed a workshop with
the Improvised Shakespeare company (back row).
More guest artist appearances and workshops are always on the horizon at the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center.

Join us this Sun., Nov. 10, 2013 for a free theater workshop with the theater troupe, TE’A (Theatre, Engagement & Action).

To keep up with master classes, workshops and events offered throughout the year at the Conservatory, make sure to like us on Facebook!