WEST ORANGE, NJ—On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the 13th Annual Music Faculty Scholarship Concert raised the roof and brought some surprises to Liberty Middle School.
Louis Quagliato, Director of Visual & Performing Arts, welcomed the crowd and LMS band teacher Jay Gitter, who then took over as emcee. After his humorous introduction and some background information, Gitter sang “If I Were A Rich Man” from “Fiddler on the Roof.” He said the song was very personal to him as his ancestors probably had similar feelings to the lyrics that the song expressed.
Gitter surprised the crowd by presenting three musical numbers from "Shrek: The Musical," with special appearances from cast members Chris Wold, Tyler Lynch, and Vicky Estoque (Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona, respectively). Gitter is directing the West Orange High School production, which will run April 3-6.
Following the musical preview, Jacqueline Dogherty, accompanied by Matt King on piano, sang “The Wind Beneath My Wings” by Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar. Ms. Dogherty’s singing was followed by “Gabriel’s Oboe” performed by Matt Schmidt. The song is from the movie, “The Mission.”
John Hellyer, Chorus teacher at Liberty Middle School, soloed on "Giants in the Sky," from "Into the Woods." .” The song is based on the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk, and Hellyer then dueted with Gitter on "Agony," another "Into the Woods" tune about two brother princes falling in love with Rapunzel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White.
Ken Darcy, a science teacher at Roosevelt Middle School, and Craig Stanton, the orchestra teacher at RMS, performed The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” as well as Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” Both songs had the audience singing or humming along or clapping to the beat.
The WOBOE String Quartet played after him, performing a funky and hip song “Skylife.” Joel Perry, music teacher at Redwood Elementary School, a guitar virtuoso, played a lovely and emotional guitar piece, “La Catedral,” which featured three movements. Each was as quiet yet contained its own personality, creating quite a beautiful piece.
The pace picked up again with some jazzy numbers, from Dan O’Dea, Dave Rimelis, Joel Perry, and Craig Stanton playing O’Dea’s original song “Low and Slow” as well as Roger Bryson, Roosevelt band teacher, playing an uptempo “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the Alto Saxophone.
The audience got into David Rimelis’ original piece, “Make Yourself a Winner,” where they clapped along and sang with him, “You gotta make yourself a winner every day, yes you do, yes you do.”
The WOBOE Jazz Ensemble and the West Orange Faculty/Alumni Band capped off the evening performances with Ryan Krewer’s arranged swingtime piece “Cissy Strut” and “Crusin’ With the Count” by Andy Farber.
After the show, John Hellyer commented that the concert is a wonderful idea because the West Orange district has a large number of professional musicians who are not only great teachers, but also perform professionally. The Music Faculty Scholarship Concert gives the teachers the opportunity to showcase their talents for the community and raise money for music scholarships for graduating seniors.