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Monticello steps and sounds

By Katie Collins
June 15, 2011

After spending countless hours throughout the school year preparing their pieces, students from Monticello Central School’s (MCS) music department showcased their talents at “Steps and Sounds of Different Cultures” on the evening on June 13, at the Eugene D. Nesin Theatre in Monticello.

The performances were collaborations of dance and music routines performed by over 70 students from 9th through 12th grade. Jazz, Greek and African songs were just a few of the genres presented.

Students managed the festivities, creating the music programs for visitors, explaining the evolution of the various genres performed at the event.

For 15 years, the music department has worked with the Weekend of Chamber Music (WCM), a non-profit music organization that has helped give guidance to students eager to obtain the musical knowledge they need to become skilled musicians.

WCM artistic director Judith Pearce said the school’s music program “is very unusual, to have had 15 consistent years of collaborations; that’s extremely unusual.” The music program is unique because public schools typically do not have “the breadth and quality all the way through elementary right through high school.” The support from the community and school board has added to the success and longevity of the music program, she said.

The performance was unique because it is not a common practice for dancers to share the stage with the musicians. Pearce called the school’s music department “very special.” The purpose of the program was to “really reinforce a sense of rhythm and pulse” she added.

A graduate of MCS, Marina Lombardi is a vocal performance major at Manhattan School of Music, where she is studying to become a professional opera singer. Having worked with the WCM and MCS’s music department for years, Lombardi said she is grateful for the support from everyone at MCS and WCM because they have encouraged her love of music as well as helped her grow as a musician. She said, “When you step out of Monticello, it’s a competitive world.”