The music department is in overdrive as they gear up for several spring concerts.
The band, orchestra and chorus students have two concerts this month on May 19 and 26 and another Coffeehouse night is scheduled for June 4. However, brand new this year, Penn Manor’s music-makers will have some special guests accompanying them on stage.
Penn Manor’s auditorium will be jazzed May 19 at 7:30 p.m. with high energy entertainment to compliment the musical selections. jazz band, Manor Singers and orchestra will each line the stage and perform a mix of up-beat Jazz, stealth spy tunes and movie soundtracks.
Manor Singers will showcase their vocal talents by performing various pieces ranging from Mission Impossible to African Gospel.
Chorus teacher, Melissa Telesco, said she wants her students to be “able to be exposed to so many different styles.”
“I like pulling in those other elements,” Telesco said about the combined performance of Baba Yetu, a Swahili version of the lord’s prayer, by Manor Singers and Orchestra, which will include a special performance from Olivia Stoltzfus and Kimberly Riley of the colorguard.
Orchestra teacher, Sara Ricciardi said she wants the final song, Baba Yetu, to be “as epic as possible.”
The tech crew will be contributing lighting designs to the number to add another layer to the performance.
“I’m excited about Baba Yetu because I’m designing a big light show,” Dana Landis, a member of the tech crew, said. She hopes the lighting designs will be a “big bang.”
The tech crew will also lend its skills to the orchestra with pink lights, as they perform the Pink Panther.
Ricciardi said she wants to choose pieces that challenge her students and the student reaction is overall accepting of her selections.
“I can hear it in their playing and see it in their faces,” Ricciardi said of the positive reaction to her decisions.
Band Director, Tom Mumma, said the jazz band will give the audience a taste of swing, rock, funk and they’ve even thrown in a little Latin-inspired music.
Mumma said he “tries to pick piece the students will be successful with.”
The lighting effects will be ever present during the concert and although most of the effects are hush-hush, the anticipation, as the musicians make final preparations, is contagious as the music directors watch the final pieces fall into place.
The Full Chorus and Concert Band will travel the world in the auditorium on May 26 at 7:30 p.m.
The Chorus members will show off their knowledge of Hebrew and an African language during their performances of “Erev Shel Shoshanim” (“Evening of Roses”) and “Bonse Aba.”
The Concert Band will be performing with effects from the tech crew that will make the pace of each piece as the songs become more “violent or calm,” Mumma said.
The Band will round out the show with a slower piece, “Isle of Calypso.”
The second edition of the Coffeehouse will be June 4 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. and the admission fee is only $5.
Live musicians, including Tim Deubler and Tyler Funk, will be performing songs from artists such as Jordin Sparks and The Fray.
“I’m always trying to find places for the kids to sing,” Telesco said about the inspiration that lead to the start of Coffeehouse nights. “Everybody should have a chance (to shine).”
The original Coffeehouse night brought over 100 viewers and the huge success had the students begging for a second opportunity to show what they’re made of.
Refreshments, including coffee of course and baked goods will add a homey feel to the laid-back environment and the live entertainment will surely showcase Penn Manor’s musical abilities.
By Danie Beck