Arts & Entertainment

Hanover Park's Willa Roberts Named One of Mayo Performing Arts Center Students of the Month


MORRISTOWN, N.J. - Students from Randolph, Morristown, Kinnelon, Madison, East Hanover and Chatham were honored as Mayo Performing Arts Center's Music Students of the Month - Outstanding Orchestra Members -- prior to the Thursday, February 15 performance of by the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra.

The students were recognized for their achievements on stage prior to the concert and had the opportunity to meet the performers.

Students were nominated by their teachers and were chosen by the Theatre's Education Department based on their commitment to and excellence in the performing arts. The Theatre will honor a group of students every month throughout the season and invites area teachers to nominate students for this honor. Students will be invited to perform at a year-end recital in June.

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The 2017-2018 Music Student of the Month program is supported by The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Foundation, Inc.

Music Students of the Month are: (bios provided by school)

Alexa Gelenter
Grade 7, Pearl R Miller Middle School; Kinnelon; Nominated by Lisa Wichman
Playing the violin is Alexa's passion.  At age four, Alexa began studying violin and joined the Lakeland Youth Orchestra.  She quickly progressed to the elite Lakeland Youth Ensemble, where she performed at NJPAC.  Alexa has been a featured violinist at our PRM Middle School Choir concerts.  She is currently working on a challenging piece to accompany at our Spring Concert.  Alexa can express herself beautifully through music.  Alexa's favorite composer is Bach; she loves playing fast, classical music.  A gifted violinist, Alexa practices as often as possible and hopes to perform in NYC.

Kyle Han
Grade 12, Madison High School; Madison; Nominated Michael Silvestri
Kyle has been the concertmaster for our string and symphony orchestras for 2 years. He has also been the leader of our auditioned chamber group, the String Nonet, during this time. Kyle was the concertmaster for our symphony orchestra's performance at Carnegie Hall last year during the auditioned National Youth Concert in March of 2017. Kyle recently played the first violin solo of Corelli's "Christmas Concerto" this past December with our orchestra and will be performing the violin solo of the first movement of Vivaldi's "Autumn"  during our trip to Williamsburg, Virginia in April and at our Spring Concert in May.  Kyle has also auditioned for Region Orchestra and helps our younger string students by his service with our Elementary All-City Orchestra program.

Willa Roberts
Grade 12, Hanover Park High School; East Hanover; Nominated Helen Britez
Willa is a 4-year member of our Instrumental program. She has performed as a member of the String Ensemble, Concert Band, Pit Band, Marching Band, and more. She is a wonderful cellist and french horn player. She works hard and is an independent self-sufficient musician who is always willing to help out her peers. Willa is responsible and kind, and will be missed next year.

Stephen Ratner
Grade 12, Chatham High School; Chatham; Nominated Krystle Graser
Stephen has been a member of the Orchestra Program for about ten years now- he currently leads our Orchestra's second violin section.  Stephen is such a supportive team member of his section and orchestra and even more so, he is an incredible leader.  We often hold student led sectional rehearsals, and it is within these rehearsals that leaders can emerge.  In my time as a teacher, I have never had a student be able to so clearly, precisely, articulately, and most of all, patiently guide the members of his or her section.

Ava Tan
Grade 11, Morristown High School; Morristown; Nominated Norma Davis
Ava is a junior and has been a dedicated member of the Morristown High School Orchestra for the past three years.  Ava is fully involved in all facets of the school orchestra program.  In addition to serving as section leader in the first violin section of the MHS Orchestra, she is a member of the school Chamber Orchestra, the select Camerata and the Pit Orchestra for the school musical.  She volunteers for every music opportunity possible, playing her violin with passion and energy.  She loves sharing her music with others, and volunteers by performing regularly at Care One, as well as many venues in the Morristown community.  Ava's enthusiasm has a positive impact on everyone she works with, and she is a role model and natural leader among her peers.  Ava is an exceptional orchestra student wo gives one hundred percent effort in every rehearsal and performance.

Paul Ward
Grade 11, Randolph High School; Randolph; Nominated by Eric Schaberg
Paul has been selected for Sr. Region Orchestra for the past three years and was also selected for All-State Band as the Bassist in the top ensemble this year.  He will be auditioning in the spring for All-State Orchestra, where I expect he will have success as well.  Paul is Principal bassist in the Advanced String Ensemble called "Arietta" and is also Co-Principal bassist in the String Ensemble called "Chamber Strings" at Randolph High School.  Paul is also in the top Jazz Band at R.H.S. and formed his own Jazz Quintet where he has performed at many community functions.  Paul has stepped up as a leader in our community with mentoring other younger bassists in the district in lessons as well as being a big part of the string summer program where he was in charge of small ensembles.  He was also nominated to apply for the New Jersey Scholars Award and program that allows only one or two people for nomination from each school.  Paul was selected among many candidates at Randolph High School to apply and we hope receives the award.  The reason Paul is selected for the M.P.A.C. "Outstanding Orchestra Member" is not only by his many accomplishments, but the passion he exudes in music and especially the Orchestra at Randolph High School.  I feel very confident that Paul is not only deserving of an award like the M.P.A.C. "Outstanding Orchestra Member", but I am also confident that music will always be a part of Paul Ward's life

Hannah Ferguson  - Outstanding Vocalists - December 2017
Grade 11, Morris Hills High School; Rockaway; Nominated by Michelle Uhler
Although I have only known Hannah for a few months since my start as the Mois Hills Choir Director in Deptember, she has bene a standout as not only a stellar vocalist, but an all-around model student as well.  In addition to being enrolled in the curricular Concert Choir, Hannah is also enrolled in AP Music Theory, Orchestra, and several other AP and Honors level courses as well as all three of the co-curricular auditioned choirs that meet after school.  Hannah is extremely reliable not only as a section leader, but also as someone who I can count on to help direct and run rehearsals in my absence.

Mayo Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich, and educate the diverse population of the region and enhance the economic vitality of Northern New Jersey. The 2017-2018 season is made possible, in part, by a grant the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support received from the F.M. Kirby Foundation and numerous corporations, foundations and individuals. The Mayo Performing Arts Center has been designated a Major Presenting Organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Mayo Performing Arts Center was named 2016 Outstanding Historic Theatre by the League of Historic American Theatres, and is ranked in the top 50 mid-sized performing arts centers by Pollstar Magazine.

Mayo Performing Arts Center
100 South St., Morristown, NJ 07960
box office (973) 539-8008
fax (973) 455-1607 / admin (973) 539-0345 ext.6505


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