Tampa, FL (Wed., April 22, 2015) - The Hillel Academy student body performed at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Tues., April 21, 2015. The school-wide concert was comprised of musical performances the students mastered during the 2014 - 15 school year. The first annual concert took place in Ferguson Hall and was attended by more than 500 family members and friends.
Amy Wasser, Head of School, said of the concert, "The history of the Jewish spirit is written in its songs. The intentions do not change, but each generation needs its own messages and melodies. Through our cultural music and instruction program we enable our students to create their own connection to people, language and culture through their musical expression and experience. The Isaac B Solomon Music and Cultural Initiative and our partnership with the Patel Conservatory-to-Go has made a major impact on our school and the culminating opportunity to perform on a professional stage was electrifying."
The lower grades, TK through second grade, entertained the audience with numbers designed to demonstrate their general music skills. The young students sang and performed ribbon dances and a rhythmic rondo. Their classes focused on developing skills which ensure readiness for future musical experiences.
Third and fourth graders played string instruments. They learned to read music and follow a conducting pattern. Each grade level performed one number and then the two grades performed four numbers as a large group.
Hillel Academy’s Isaac B. Solomon Cultural Music initiative was the school’s first step in enhancing and growing the school’s music education program. As It continues to be a major component, it was integrated into the concert. The fifth and sixth grade focused on African drumming and dancing and Indian “Bollywood-style” dancing. The students took turns displaying both drumming and dancing skills with readings which defined African words and shared the importance of drumming in the African culture.
Other acts included an acoustic set played by four middle school students including one who played the ukulele and one who played the keyboard. A jam session was performed by the five- piece middle school Rock Band. Seventh and eighth graders showed off their newly acquired Musical Theater skills with two acts. One featured a song from the Broadway show, Wicked ,and one featured a Duke Ellington swing song. Hebrew songs including Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, were sung at the end of the in recognition of Israel Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron.
Hillel Academy and the Patel Conservatory Partnership Hillel Academy, the Tampa Bay area’s premier community day school, was chosen as a Patel Conservatory partner school during the summer of 2014. Patel Conservatory partner schools are selected by the Straz Center in order to develop performing arts educational experiences based on need and expressed commitment. Through these programs, partners, such as Hillel Academy, gain true appreciation for the performing arts, and strengthen their arts education The music education program was taught by expert faculty members from the Patel Conservatory-to-Go Program. The music educators were brought to the Hillel Academy campus to enrich the school’s environment with musical theory, instrumentation, dance and creative collaboration.
The school’s existing Hillel Academy Isaac B. Solomon Cultural Music Initiative continued to be an integral part of the school’s music program.