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Local show choirs gear up for annual festival at RFA on Friday

Posted 1/24/20

The ninth annual Central New York Show Choir Festival will be hosted Friday night by Rome Free Academy, featuring performances by groups from RFA, Waterville, Whitesboro, Westmoreland, Proctor High …

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Local show choirs gear up for annual festival at RFA on Friday

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The ninth annual Central New York Show Choir Festival will be hosted Friday night by Rome Free Academy, featuring performances by groups from RFA, Waterville, Whitesboro, Westmoreland, Proctor High School, New Hartford, Holland Patent, and Frankfort-Schuyler.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $8 in advance or $9 at the door, and can be purchased in advance from members of any of the performing groups or at Jervis Public Library, said the Rome school district.

Performing individual sets, and then performing together for a grand finale, will be Whitesboro’s Chamber Choir, the Proctor Polyphonics, Waterville’s Swing Choir, Westmoreland’s Broadway Voices, New Hartford’s Spartan Singers, Holland Patent’s Vocal Ensemble, Frankfort-Schuyler’s Select Chorus and Show Choir, and RFA’s Rhapsody.

According to Rhapsody director and RFA teacher Jake Meiss, the idea for the event developed while talking with other area show choir directors. They “thought this would be a fun collaboration for our students, allowing them to get to know similar kids at other schools,” he said, adding they are especially excited about students performing together.

Concluding the evening, all eight groups will perform “Finale B” from the Broadway musical Rent. The directors emphasize it is in no way a competition, just a celebration of local students’ talent and dedication, the Rome district said.

Among festival performances:

• The Proctor Polyphonics Show Choir is returning to the festival after its debut in 2019. It is under the direction of Patty Scaramella, and will present “Seize the Day,” “Any Way You Want It (Journey’s Greatest Hits),” and “Somebody to Love” by Queen.

• Whitesboro’s Chamber Choir, returning to the festival under the direction of Sarah DePalma, will perform diverse music including “Revolution” by Pinkzebra, “Light On” by Maggie Rogers, and “Toxic” from Pitch Perfect 3.

• The Waterville Swing Choir, formed over 25 years ago, is the only group besides Rhapsody to perform at every single Central New York Show Choir Festival. In recent years it has performed at Walt Disney World and at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Directed and choreographed by Jessica Daniluk-Lotyczewski, its festival performances will include “Renegade,” “Hero” by Mariah Carey, and “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John.

• The Holland Patent Vocal Ensemble, one of the other founding participants of the show choir festival, is returning once again under the direction of chorus teacher Rusty Ritzel. It will perform “I’m Still Standing,” along with “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees and “Crazy Little Thing Called Rock” arranged by Tom Anderson.

• The Westmoreland Broadway Voices, back for their fourth year, are directed by Emily Davis. They will present “Step One” from Kinky Boots, “Make Them Hear You” from Ragtime, and “From Now On” from The Greatest Showman.

• Frankfort-Schuyler, once again representing Herkimer County at the festival under the direction of Heather Odin-Tinker, will be performing “From Now On” from The Greatest Showman, plus the “Bella’s Finals” medley from Pitch Perfect and “You Say” by Lauren Daigle.

• The New Hartford Spartan Singers are returning under the direction of chorus teacher Christine Krumbach, with choreography from New Hartford student Mackenzie Winfield.

They will perform “Oh What a Beautiful Morning’” from the musical Oklahoma!, “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, and “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine.

• RFA’s Rhapsody, founded by Meiss in 2010, has performed locally as well as in Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Florida, and Toronto, Ontario.

It again will perform mash-ups, which are combinations of songs with similar themes. Included will be music recorded by Kelly Clarkson, Garth Brooks, Rihanna, James Taylor, Lena Horne, Jennifer Lopez, fun., Adele, Daft Punk, Kacey Musgraves, The Pointer Sisters, and Britney Spears, plus from several musicals: West Side Story, The Wizard of Oz, Finding Neverland, and The Muppet Movie.

“I love the variety of styles, genres, and time periods we’re able to pull together,” Meiss said. But he did not specify the music titles, noting “part of the fun for the audience is being surprised.”

Meiss is the music arranger and choreographer of Rhapsody, with Kristen Meiss and Lori DiBari as production managers.

Among Rhapsody vocalists: Jacob Bruder, Liam Butler, Jake Carissimo, Jon Carissimo, Jacob Cosentino, Cooper Engelbert, Connor Evans, Joe Gazzilli, Ryan Grant, Erin Lennon, Alex Linderman, Kevin O’Neil, Hunter Pisaneschi, Enrique Rivera,

David Salce, Zach Swistak, Michael Sylvester, Ethan Vernold, Bethany Beeman, Olivia Bauer, Chandni Desai, Jacquelyn Dixon, Katie Dursi, Grace Engelbert, Zoe Fragapane, Taylor Griffin, Lauryn Haag, Giana Kleber, Gianna Maneen, Kayleen Martelli, Abigail Morgan, Giovanna Sudol, Lauren Taylor, Mariah Taylor, Karabrie Wiggins, and Emily Worth.

Accompanying Rhapsody is a student combo of Dennis van Hoesel on piano, Patrick O’Neil on drums, Isaiah Farrar on bass, and a horn section of Sven van Hoesel, Nick Ferretti, Madison Short, and Alex Zappavigna.

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