Volume 07 | February 2019
Welcome to our monthly newsletter where you will find updates on everything Arts related in the KLSD!
John Jay Vocal Jazz Group Wins First Place
at Annual Berklee High School Jazz Festival
On January 26, 2019, the John Jay Vocal Jazz Group took home the gold, winning first place at the 51st annual Berklee High School Jazz Festival in Boston. The group has participated in the competition for the past 15 years, consistently placing in the top five for the last 10 years and often winning second or third place. But this was the groups’ only first place win.
 
“Going into the competition, I don't think any of us really expected to win,” recalls Katie Gebbia who also won the Judge’s Choice award. “There are so many talented groups competing and a good amount rehearse more than just once a week like our vocal jazz group, so I think all of us expected to place somewhat high, but not actually get first.” 
 
Steve Morse, JJHS’s Choral and Orchestra Teacher began the group 17 years ago as a spinoff from the general choral group. This year, the group was comprised of close to 40 students, making it the largest vocal jazz group in the competition. 
 
“I knew we were really strong this year, but I was astonished and amazed when we actually won. " says Morse. “I was ecstatic. But, I don’t think about the winning too much. I’m much more about the process. The festival is really about the journey and the family we create. For me, we win every year because they get into the process. That’s the beauty in it. But, I do like the trophy on my desk! I have to admit that I do like seeing the trophy!”
 
The group sang four pieces, several arranged by friends of Morse specifically for the John Jay Vocal Jazz Group:  Chili con Carne, The Way You Look Tonight, All at Once  and  Come Back To Me.  Each piece, according to Morse, captured the distinct “John Jay sound,” which he describes as wonderful and rich.
 
“We are very close, organic kind of group,” Morse explains. “Everyone is very caring, singing to each other and playing off of each other. The energy we exude in our performances really sends that message out. My wife was sitting next to judges and said that they were having such a good time. They loved watching us perform. While the notes are important, the feeling that came through was very special.”
 
Gebbia says there is an intensity to performing onstage in front of the judges. You must remain hyper-focused on the music while experiencing the energy onstage within the group. The bonus is in a deeper connection with the rest of the group. 
 
“It felt amazing to win, not just for us, but for Mr. Morse,” Gebbia exclaims. “He's so dedicated to vocal jazz, and he cares about all of us so much. I think one of the biggest uniting factors of the group is that we all want to make Mr. Morse proud, and now we have! It's really rewarding.”
 
Unfortunately, this was the last year of the Berklee High School Jazz Festival. It has been suspended for the foreseeable future due to funding issues. Morse says he is looking for other festivals for the group to compete in next year. In the meantime, there are several online petitions and GoFundMe pages dedicated to continuing the festival. The students of the John Jay Vocal Jazz Group encourage you to participate and/or email the executive producer, Darla Hanley at  dhanley@berklee.edu , to express your thoughts.
“Music and Mood” Arts Week at JJMS
by Monica Bermiss, JJMS Assistant Princpal
John Jay Middle School and KLSD ArtsALIVE  are very excited to provide the opportunity for middle school students to witness how different forms of art can help a person expand on their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in.
On Thursday, February 14th , Lance Johnson, a talented abstract artist, and DJ Cosi, a well renowned NYC DJ, will visit 6th, 7th, and 8th grade lunch periods to demonstrate how music and art evoke different feelings. The DJ will play age appropriate hip hop music from across the decades so students can see how culture and feelings evolved through time. At the same time, the artist will be providing visual representations of the music and mood through his paintings. Students are encouraged to share the different emotions they may experience during this presentation by writing down a one-word statement at a KLSD ArtsALIVE student run station during lunch. At the end of the day during period 9, the one-word statements will be chosen, and the DJ and artist will work together to portray these sentiments for the entire school. Students will get to experience how the arts can be a purposeful outlet during life, and they will be able to see the painting in our halls as a reminder for the future.
JJHS Advanced Acting
PARP Play for Elementary
       By William Friedman, JJHS Faculty:
Advanced Acting, the Acting Studio and English
This will be the 7th straight year that I've brought a group of student actors to all three elementary schools to perform for all the students . It started back in 2012. For some time, I had been looking for more performance opportunities for the seniors in Advanced Acting. When I contacted elementary schools about the possibility of perhaps doing some theater for them, Terry Costin, a former Assistant Principal at KES, told me about the PARP assembly. Ever since, we've been creating a PARP Play.
 
The play is really a series of short plays put together: each student in the Advanced Acting class picks a favorite children's book, and turns it into a script. Then the class stages the plays. The students choose the books, create scripts, design and make or find the costume, prop and set pieces, and they cast and direct the plays. In the previous six years, we've staged over 25 different books.
 
This year has a few firsts: the actors are not seniors, but juniors who might well return next year to make another show; because there are only three actors, each had to select more than one favorite book--and the small group limits some choices; the rehearsal process is slower, since a single absent student seriously impacts our ability to rehearse.

Our talented Advanced Acting class is looking forward to sharing their enthusiasm and love for theatre with our younger members of District! They’ll be visiting KES on March 1st, Increase Miller on March 5th and Meadow Pond on March 22nd!
The John MS Theatre Proudly Presents
Anything Goes

March 21 - 23, 2019 at the JJMS Theatre
KLSD ArtsALIVE needs Volunteers to help preserve the photos and memorabilia, at the JJHS Theatre Museum.
We have the laminator but need YOU! Dates can be made available to accommodate your schedule.

If available, kindly reach out to klsdartsalive@gmail.com to sign up
and get more information!

We are filling Committee and Board positions for the 2019-2020 School Year. Have a passion for the arts? Get involved by joining KLSD ArtsALIVE. Email klsdartsalive@gmail.com to find out about available positions.

Support the Arts and Become A Member Today

Keeping and expanding arts in our schools requires your support. With past donations and membership dues, we’ve funded everything from arts-related field trips and educational programs to the installation of an art gallery and a recording sound booth at John Jay High School. We’ve even awarded college scholarships for students pursuing art-related careers.

Become a member of KLSD ArtsALIVE to support the arts in our school district and throughout our community. We offer several membership levels, ranging from $50 up to $400. All donations are tax-deductible and go towards supporting the fine and performing arts programs in the Katonah-Lewisboro school district. Visit our website to learn more and become a member.
ABOUT KLSD ArtsALIVE
Our Mission:
KLSD ArtsALIVE promotes and enhances the arts and offers our Katonah Lewisboro school community ongoing opportunities to integrate arts into the student experience.

Who are we?
KLSD ArtsALIVE is a group of parents, staff, students, community members, and small business partners who are dedicated to the cultural enrichment of our school district and community. Through our work, we enhance our schools’ art curriculums and share the students’ talents with the community. Our art-related events and programs help to unify and celebrate all members of our community.

What do we do?
KLSD ArtsALIVE provides support in many ways, including:
  • Regular communication with fine and performing arts teachers and staff to determine their needs and how we can best help meet those needs.
  • Reinforce priorities of the fine and performing arts to school administrators and the Board of Education.
  • Organize volunteers, as needed, to support art-related activities.

How do we do it?
As a 501C(3), we solicit, receive, manage and disburse funds to support the fine and performing arts programs. Recently we’ve:
  • Funded teacher grant requests for arts-related field trips and educational programs, reducing the cost for families.
  • Provided funds for new acoustic band shells.
  • Purchased and installed an art gallery, featuring a 3D print art display case and a hanging frame display system at JJHS.
  • Installed a recording sound booth at JJHS.
  • Awarded college scholarships for students pursuing art-related careers.

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