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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

May 8, 2015  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

After first year of Patel music partnership, Hillel students show off talents on big stage

By THAIS LEON-MILLER Jewish Press


A ribbon dance performed by students in transitional kindergarten, kindergarten and first and second grade. 
Photo courtesy SoHo Imagess A ribbon dance performed by students in transitional kindergarten, kindergarten and first and second grade. Photo courtesy SoHo Imagess Hillel Academy sixth grader Ben Rosenberg, wearing a white polo, jeans and neon blue sneakers, walked out onto the stage at the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall. Without an introduction, his four fellow band mates began playing the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” and Ben bounced around to the beat of the drums and the heavy bass riffs. The audience of close to 500 clapped along in unison.

The four-set performance by the band, who dubbed themselves the “Jew-kuleles,” was the opening number in the April 21 concert to show off the first-year collaboration between the Straz’ Patel Conservatory to-Go program and Hillel Academy.

Patel Music Department Chair Daniel Powell told the audience how impressive it was for the students to come so far, especially when they only met once a week for 45 minutes at a time.


Hillel Academy fifth and sixth grade students performing an African number with drums and dancing 
Photos courtesyof SoHo Images Hillel Academy fifth and sixth grade students performing an African number with drums and dancing Photos courtesyof SoHo Images Students from transitional kindergarten (TK) through eighth grade demonstrated what they had learned during the year, everything from playing string instruments to musical theater. They worked in tandem with Hillel’s Isaac B. Solomon Cultural Music initative, which was created to expose students to different cultures through music and dance.

Fifth and sixth-grade students wore patterned headbands and skirts and showcased their talents by playing African Djembe drums and dancing, encouraging the audience to clap along.

“It was wonderful to learn about new cultures and intriguing to combine this with dancing and drumming,” said Tal Egosi, a fifthgrade student.

TK, kindergarten, first- and second-graders performed two ribbon dances before singing “My Hat Has Three Corners.”


Ben Rosenberg, lead singer of the school’s Rock Band, performing on the Ferguson Hall stage at the Straz. Ben Rosenberg, lead singer of the school’s Rock Band, performing on the Ferguson Hall stage at the Straz. “Originally, the kids were going to sing it all in English. Patel instructors realized that most of the kids knew the song in Hebrew as well and changed the last verse. It was amazing how open the Patel people were,” said Jody Sherman, director of marketing at Hillel Academy.

Students in the seventh and eighth grades performed two musical theater pieces: “One Short Day” from Wicked and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing)” by Duke Ellington, complete with jazz hands.

Fifth- and sixth-graders dressed in bright colors followed with two high-energy Indian dances.

The third and fourth grade classes joined together to display their violin and voila skills.

“It was a great experience,” said third-grader Justin Gad. “I have played piano and guitar but learning strings has been really challenging. It turned out to be great.”

The concert ended with all the students coming together on stage to sing “Noladiti L’Shalom” and “Hatikvah.”

“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,” said Head of School Amy Wasser.

“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,” she said. “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.


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