Rodriguez thespians dive into musicals with ‘Spelling Bee’ – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Rodriguez High School is tackling a musical with Tony winner “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

The play is based on a book by Rachel Sheinkin and features a score from William Finn. It centers on an eclectic group of six midpubescents competing for the spelling championship of a lifetime.

They candidly disclose stories from their home lives and spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words.

In a high school gym, longtime hostess Rona Lisa Peretti, played by Karis Bailey and Danielle Davison, finalizes the preparations for the annual county spelling bee, reminiscing about her own spelling bee victory, many years prior.

Source: Rodriguez thespians dive into musicals with ‘Spelling Bee’

Solano College Theatre opens musical homage to old Broadway shows – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

It’s a blend of the old and new as Solano College Theatre opens “Nice Work . . . If You Can Get It” this weekend.

The musical features tunes from George and Ira Gershwin. The show premiered on Broadway in April 2012. It’s based on a book written by Joe DiPietro and features material from Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse.

The next year, director Christine Mani heard the title song on a Pandora station that plays show tunes. Mani purchased the CD and discovered she loved all the songs in the show. She sought licensing for the show and was turned down because the show was too new.

Source: Solano College Theatre opens musical homage to old Broadway shows

Vaca High group entertains California retired teachers – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Vacaville High Advanced String Ensemble, under the new direction of Melinda Packer, celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and the beginning of spring with tunes such as “Molly on the Shore,” by Percy Grainger, “Here Comes the Sun,” a Beatles song, and Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

The string ensemble entertained Division 24 of the California Retired Teachers Association on March 13 at the Vacaville Opera House. The retired teachers showed their gratitude by donating more than $350 to the school group for their spring activities.

Source: Good News: Vaca High group entertains California retired teachers

Vallejo Symphony offers youth chance to hear, learn about Mozart – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

About 700 Solano County students filled the Empress Theatre Monday morning for two performances by the Vallejo Symphony.

The symphony’s board of directors picked up the ticket tab. Schools were responsible for transportation to and from the venue.

A few of the neighborhood schools were able to walk to the historic theater.

This is the first time in more than 20 years the symphony has offered the student performances, said Tim Zumwalt, who heads up publicity for the symphony.

The symphony – founded in 1931 – completed its first full season Sunday of performing at the Empress, which is more than 100 years old.

Source: Vallejo Symphony offers youth chance to hear, learn about Mozart

Benicia Middle Schoolers to sit in on exclusive performance of Vallejo Symphony Orchestra concert – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Benicia Middle School’s band students will be joining more than 800 pupils from area schools to attend a pair of special Vallejo Symphony Orchestra performances at the Empress Theatre on Sunday. The best part? They will have the auditorium just to themselves as they take in the sounds of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony.

According to VSO conductor Marc Taddei, this is the first time the local symphony has put on such concerts, which he described as being in the vein of Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts, in which the noted conductor taught lessons on symphonic music for a younger audience. Taddei attended one of those concerts at a young age, and he assures that the setup will be similar.

“For our first concert, I thought it best to go with a proper concert that has been tailored for students,” he said.

Source: Benicia Middle Schoolers to sit in on exclusive performance of Vallejo Symphony Orchestra concert

Salute to Youth concert a send-off for music teacher Ron Thorpe – Daily Republic

By Tony Wade

Solano Symphony’s Salute to Youth concert will serve as both an opportunity for the public to experience up-and-coming Solano County musicians and as a swan song for longtime organizer and retired music teacher Ron Thorpe.

Thorpe began organizing the annual event about seven years ago and feels it’s time to move on.

The Salute to Youth concert is an exhibition performance and the culmination of a musical competition.

“Last November, Solano County students from ages 12 to 21 had an opportunity to display their musical talents in front of a three-judge panel,” Thorpe said. “The categories were vocal, piano, strings and wind instrument. They memorized a concerto that could be played along with the symphony. The four that were chosen have been working very hard and will rehearse with the symphony and then perform for the public.”

Source: Salute to Youth concert a send-off for music teacher Ron Thorpe

Semple teachers to face off in Lip Sync Battle fundraiser – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Lip-syncing in music is often frowned upon (See: Milli Vanilli), but when it is turned into a competition, suddenly everybody wants to be a part of it. Lip-sync competitions certainly have become a sensation in the past couple of years. While simply mouthing the words to popular songs may not seem like it takes a lot of skill, it actually is quite a challenge to not only make the lip movements match with the words but also make it entertaining. However, lots of people have managed to attempt this challenge, and it has proven successful. Perhaps you have seen celebrities squaring off against Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show,” or maybe even the Paramount Network competition series “Lip Sync Battle,” hosted by LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen.

Now the concept has come to Robert Semple Elementary School for the second year in a row, as faculty members square off in the school’s Teacher Lip Sync Battle.The event, which is coordinated by fifth-grade teacher Kendra Petrellese and fourth and fifth-grade combination teacher Matt Shelton, acts as a fundraiser for the school’s Outdoor Education Program for fourth and fifth graders. Both classes go to Coloma for three days and two nights, where the fourth graders go by Sutter’s Mill and learn about the Gold Rush, different mining techniques and how the early settlers made cornbread.

Source: Semple teachers to face off in Lip Sync Battle fundraiser

Benicia High School grad helps bring next swing revival to LA – Benicia Herald

By the Editor

Art Blakey said that “Music washes away the dust of every day life.” The L.A. Swing Barons are helping make that happen in Southern California. The classic 13-piece jazz big band was formed in 2015 when it became clear that no one in the greater Los Angeles area was playing music capturing the hard swingin’ 1930s /1940s Kansas City sound of Count Basie and his peers.

Dancers from all over Southern California come once a month to the iconic and historic Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles to dance to the Swing Barons’ live & lively music. Many dress in vintage clothing from the era.

They have just released their first CD, and it features a graduate of the Benicia Unified School District’s music program and 2013 Benicia High School graduate Liam Robertson, who plays lead alto saxophone.

Source: Benicia High School grad helps bring next swing revival to LA

Choristers to liven the holidays at SCC – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Christmas carols have been with us since the earliest days of Christianity, with songs of praise at Christmastime going back to the fifth century, not long after the early Christian church created the holy day marking Christ’s birth. Many of the songs were written in the Middle Ages and told stories as minstrels carried them from town to town, the lyrics providing a narrative about the Nativity, among other things.

A pair of weekend choral concerts at Solano Community College may not delve into such detail, but the holiday spirit almost certainly will quicken somewhat when the Solano Choral Society and the Solano Community College Chamber Choir begin their musical programs, which organizers promise will be fun and festive.

Dubbed “A Fest of Carols and Lullabies,” music begins at 8 p.m. Saturday and will be repeated at 3 p.m. Sunday in the newly renovated SCC Theatre, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Fairfield.

Source: Choristers to liven the holidays at SCC

Fantasy, reality become intertwined in Benicia High School fall production – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

One might associate fantasy fans and theater fans as being disparate groups of people, but they will come together for Benicia High School’s fall play “She Kills Monsters,” which opens tonight. However, the fantasy elements will be intertwined with the harsh realities of grieving and growing up.

Qui Nguyen’s comedic drama only debuted off-Broadway in 2011 but is quickly becoming a popular production for high schools. The story is set in the ‘90s and centers around Agnes Evans (played by Ellie Bettencourt), a young high school teacher reeling from the loss of her parents and teenage sister Tilly (Pilar Gonzales) in a car accident. Agnes learns that Tilly was an avid “Dungeons and Dragons” player after uncovering a notebook of game scenarios and soon becomes a part of that world— both literally and figuratively— while learning about the side of her sister that she never really knew.

Director Nathan Day said he chose the play due to its themes, which he felt audiences could relate to.

Source: Fantasy, reality become intertwined in Benicia High School fall production

Armijo drama students tackle brain-teasing murder mystery – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Armijo High School’s Theater Department invites the community to a good brain-teaser with the production of “The Murder Mystery at the Murder Mystery,” which opens this weekend.

The play, written by Brian D. Taylor, takes place in a playhouse in Chen Boyang, Michigan. This mysterious comedy revolves around actors and actresses who are performing the play, “Putting a Little English On It.”

Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Thursday and Dec. 8-9 at the school, 824 Washington St., Room T-2, in Fairfield. The show runs for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, including a brief intermission.

Source: Armijo drama students tackle brain-teasing murder mystery

Wood High Madrigal Dinner shows begin Thursday – The Reporter

By Reporter Staff

The air chills, the nights grow longer, signs the season of glad tidings will soon be here, always welcome news to the eyes and ears, as the Will C. Wood Singers ready their annual Madrigal Dinner programs, fundraisers for the high school’s choral programs, beginning Thursday.

Besides the first performance, the 21st annual shows, called “Seasons of Light,” also are set for Friday and Saturday at the Opera House, 560 Main St., Vacaville.

Madilyn Hawkins wrote the script; Colby Hawkins, a choral instructor at the Marshall Road campus, directs; and Naomi Simpson is the choreographer.

Source: Wood High Madrigal Dinner shows begin Thursday

Rodriguez students tackle comedy ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Rodriguez High School presents the comedy, “You Can’t Take It With You,” written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.

The story centers on sweet-natured Alice Sycamore who falls for the banker’s son, Tony Kirby.

When she invites her snooty prospective in-laws to dinner to give their blessing to the marriage, Alice’s peculiar extended family might be too eccentric for the Kirbys.

Source: Rodriguez students tackle comedy ‘You Can’t Take It With You’

Solano Youth Theatre opens season with ‘Mulan Jr.’ – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Solano Youth Theatre, a division of Young Artists Conservatory of Music, opens the 2017-18 season this weekend with Disney’s “Mulan Jr.”

“Our SYT is a great expression of our community at its best,” said Wanda Cook, artistic director and founder of the Young Artists Conservatory of Music, in a press release.

“Each SYT show gives our student actors the opportunity to develop lifelong skills. It pulls together hundreds of adults in support of excellence demonstrated in the life of a hard-working young person.”

Source: Solano Youth Theatre opens season with ‘Mulan Jr.’

Vacaville High choir kicks off busy season at ‘Christmas in My Hometown’ – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Ashley Parker, who directs the Vacaville High School choir, begins listening and searching for Christmas music in the late summer.

“I joke around that I’m always ‘bah humbug’ by the time Christmas actually gets here,” she shared in an email.

The choir kicks off a busy holiday season Nov. 25 as they make their third appearance in “Christmas in My Hometown,” now in its 12th year.

That will be followed by singing Nov. 28 at the annual Festival of Trees in Vacaville.

Source: Vacaville High choir kicks off busy season at ‘Christmas in My Hometown’

Local students prepare for another Merriment on Main ensemble – The Reporter

By Michael Morris

It’s that time of year in which music often acts as a uniting force for communities throughout the country.

Whether the sounds of the season exude from the speakers of a family’s living room or spills through the illuminated neighborhood streets as carolers go from house to house, Christmas music often rekindles the most treasured of memories as people reconvene for Merriment on Main Nov. 28.

For families set to attend to the 35th tree lighting, music has become ingrained within the tradition of Christmas in Vacaville. While there will be a collection of professional artists, the performances by the younger and less seasoned crowd have been a popular point of interest year after year.

Although the local jazz bands at Vacaville and Will C. Wood high schools have been an integral part of the annual celebration, the choir at Jean Callison Elementary School returns after more than 25 years providing their unique spin on the annual festivities. After originally performing on the sidewalk adjacent to where Fleet Feet Sports currently resides, the budding group of more than 100 elementary students will return with 14 unique songs and plenty of movement.

Source: Local students prepare for another Merriment on Main ensemble

Scarlet Brigade announces Tournament of Champions band revue – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Fairfield High School’s acclaimed Scarlet Brigade Marching Band will host the 29th annual Tournament of Champions from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18.

The competition viewing area is on Dover Avenue between East Atlantic Avenue and Cement Hill Road. The parade begins at 9 a.m. Concert and jazz performances begin at 8 a.m. at Fairfield High School, 205 E. Atlantic Ave.

More than 40 elite middle school and high school band programs from Northern California and Nevada will perform. The event ends with a field show competition at 5:30 p.m. at Schaefer Stadium.

Source: Scarlet Brigade announces Tournament of Champions band revue

Will C. Wood Jazz Earns 1st Place In Division – Daily Republic

By Richard Cook

Congratulations to The Will C. Wood Jazz Band who performed at the 40th Annual Grape Bowl Classic in Lodi on Saturday November 4th. The band earned 1st Place in their division. Will C. Wood will compete again on Saturday, November 18th at Fairfield High School to end the season.

Source: Good News: Will C. Wood Jazz Earns 1st Place In Division

Will C. Wood Singers’ madrigal returns to Vacaville Opera House – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Will C. Wood Singers’ 21st annual madrigal dinner production is Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 at the Vacaville Opera House.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. There will be a 2 p.m. matinée Dec. 2. The evening performances feature a catered meal. The venue is at 560 Main St., Suite C.

Source: Will C. Wood Singers’ madrigal returns to Vacaville Opera House

BHS Panther Band hosts first golf tournament fundraiser over weekend – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Benicia High School’s Panther Band Boosters held the program’s first-ever golf tournament fundraiser at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club on Sunday where money was raised and fun was had by all.

Benicia High School’s band program– including its jazz band, Color Guard, drumline and two concert bands– remains one of the school’s proudest organizations. The program has won an ocean of awards over the years and traveled all over to participate in band reviews, competitions and other events. After all, this was the same program that was part of the Rose Parade for two years and has even performed outside the state in places like Chicago and Georgia.

However, it does cost money to participate in these events, so the Boosters group puts on a variety of fundraisers to benefit the program. These include the Jazz ‘N’ Crab Fundraiser in January, the Benicia Bay Winter Review Fundraiser and the Classic Car Show Fundraiser in the spring. With three fundraisers in the spring semester, Booster President Holly Ojendyk said the parent group was looking for another one to hold in the fall.

Source: BHS Panther Band hosts first golf tournament fundraiser over weekend