Willy Wonka auditions set for Jan. 4

CNY Arts Center will conduct auditions for the next Kids Onstage production, Willy Wonka Jr., from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4.

Call backs will be from 4 to 5 p.m.

Auditions for ages 7 and up will be held at the Arts Center location at 357 State St. Methodist Church, in Fulton where the show will run March 14–16 and 21-23.

Teenagers are especially encouraged to audition. While there are numerous good roles for young actors, there will be a limit to the cast given the stage size at the Arts Center.

“This is a large show with lots of set pieces and while we all love the Oompa Loompas, not every child is guaranteed a role,” said director Amy Price.

“We are looking for those with experience or the maturity to understand the commitment they are making. This is not to discourage anyone from auditioning, but rather to distinguish from the open call for Charlotte’s Web when every child was assured a role,” Price said.

“We’re also excited to do a musical again, but that requires dance movement,” Price said. “Only so many children can fit on the stage so casting will reflect those best suited to the roles.

“Watching the movie and getting a good feel for the wide range of character choices will help young actors prepare for the role they are most interested in,” she said.

The production will pair the duo Amy Price and Adam Schmidtmann again who co-directed last spring’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Schmidtmann, who continues as Kids Onstage instructor for CNY Arts Center, is scheduled to play the title character onstage with the children.

“We think this is really going to enhance the musical experience for the children, and add a measure of stability to the production,” Price said.

For the audition, children are asked to prepare a song to sing a cappella, and a poem or monologue to recite. Children will also be asked to read from the script.

Following auditions, call backs will take place immediately so the cast can be chosen as soon as possible. Rehearsals start the week after auditions.

Based on the book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl- ROALD DAHL’S WILLY WONKA JR is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

Words and Music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. Adapted for the stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy A. McDonald.

For more information visit the web site at www.CNYArtsCenter.com or call 592-3373.

RPR performs Jan. 11 at Oswego Music Hall

Stylish songs, stunning arrangements, great musicianship – and those massive vocal harmonies – all delivered with good humor and a sense of fun.

That’s what former Tanglefoot–and now R-P-R — fans look forward to when this re-connected Canadian band comes to the Oswego Music Hall stage at 8 p.m. Saturday Jan. 11.

Rob Ritchie, Al Parrish and Steve Ritchie rocked the folk/roots music scene as the rhythm section of Tanglefoot until a few years back.

They developed a remarkable presence with their bold sound and hard-working tour schedule and earned a loyal following throughout Canada, the United States and Great Britain.

After the iconic Canadian “superband” TANGLEFOOT retired in 2009, Steve Ritchie, Al Parrish and Rob Ritchie branched out in different directions, writing, broadcasting and solo performing.

Now, as veteran musicians in their new band configuration — RPR — they, along with their master percussionist Beaker Granger, are stretching their wings musically.

Together they create a memorable experience for their audiences with arresting music, stories, laughter and reminiscence. Their shows are studies in contrast: light and shade, irreverent and poignant, music that’s gentle as a whisper and then rampantly energetic.

Whether it’s an original country song of Al’s, Steve’s recollection of a Robert Plant version of an old Dylan tune, or Rob’s incisive musical humor, the trademark harmony, chemistry, and impact . . . are all there, according to reviews of the band’s concerts.

The Beat Magazine (March 2013) wrote “They sing raucously and passionately with big stirring harmonies. . . . at times with roaring vigour, at other [times]  with sparse intensity, creating many moods. . . songs full of humour, pathos and love.”  R-P-R’s song subjects derive largely from history, especially Canadian history.

Check out R-P-R’s music at http://www.ritchie-parrish-ritchie.com/ Then come to enjoy a live musical treat at the Oswego Music Hall Jan. 11.

The venue is the McCrobie Civic Center, 41 Lake St., Oswego. The atmosphere is intimate with candlelit tables surrounding a small stage.

Desserts, snacks, popcorn and beverages are available for purchase.

Tickets can be purchased on line at http://oswegomusichall.org/ or at the river’s end bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St., Oswego.

Holders of tickets purchased before 1 p.m. the day of the concert will have preferred seating. After 1 p.m., seating will be general admission.

Ticket prices for this event are $14 if purchased in advance and $16 at the door.   Children 12 and under are half-price; under 5 is free.

Season Passes and All-Season Passes also are available and may be purchased at any show. For information contact membership secretary Carol Forrest at 343-2988.

The Music Hall’s next concert Jan. 25 will be a double billing, featuring singer/songwriters Honor Finnegan and Anna Dagmar, two New York city talents who will complement each other in fascinating ways.

The Music Hall has been run entirely by volunteers from its inception, for more than 36 years. Music Hall concerts are made possible in part with funding by the NYS Council on the Arts.

For more information call 342-1733 or visit the Music Hall website: http://oswegomusichall.org/

Lanigan students honored for having empathy

Jeff Hendrickson, principal at Lanigan Elementary School, recently honored students for demonstrating the Fulton City School District’s virtue of the month for December which is empathy.

Empathy is the ability to recognize and share someone else’s feelings and emotions.

The following students were recognized at the ceremony – pictured in front, left to right are: Finley Nye, Kiley Pudney, Orianna Romanowicz, Addison Smith, Alyssa Bort, Josephine Regensburger, Ethan Clark, Katelyn Gerth, Vincent Salerno, Makenzie Gardner, Justin Noeller, and Isabella Deane. In back, left to right: Christina Tallents, Sean-Evan Rogers, Mark Smith, Kyra Baker, Brock Lindsley, Julia Brown, Nicholas Furbeck, and Dana Galoni. Missing from the photo was Chloe Bergman.

Holiday concert at St. Francis Commons

Oswego Middle School’s “Con Brio” singers, accompanied by members of the middle school band, treated residents of St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence to memorable holiday concert.

Students performed a selection of holiday favorites, including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” for the residents and their family members who were in attendance.

“It is always a treat to hear such a talented group perform,” said Peg Livoti, director of activities at St. Francis Commons.

“Our thanks go out to all the student performers, to Mr. Paul Brewster, and to Mr. Jim Peer, Band Director at the Oswego Middle School, who coordinated this performance,” Livoti said.

St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence is the newest phase of development on the St. Luke healthcare campus, located on the east side in the City of Oswego.

The campus also includes St. Luke Health Services, Bishop’s Commons Enriched Living Residence and Little Lukes Childcare Center.

Oswego school board wraps up business for 2013

Submitted by the Oswego school district

The final regular meeting of 2013 was conducted by the Oswego school board on Dec. 18.

The board accepted a $60,180 grant  to extend universal pre-kindergarten and approved an agreement with First Step Universal Pre-K to support the extension of the district UPK program. (See more on this page.)

New Superintendent Ben Halsey said he was continuing his entry plan and had continued to be involved in a variety of visits, duties, programs and projects.

He said he had attended numerous school district holiday concerts and it was a “pleasure to see the connection between students and teacher” who are involved in the touted music program.

Under “Items from the Board,” board member Thomas DeCastro asked if the board would review its policy for appointing a member to the BOCES board to represent the Oswego City School District.

Currently, Dave White represents the district. He was on the Oswego school board when he was appointed to the BOCEs board, but now isn’t on the Oswego school board.

His term expires in the spring, but DeCastro asked if there was interest in having White continue in the BOCES position. Board members supported White, but stated the policy on appointing BOCES board members may need to be amended.

Board member John Dunsmoor asked the superintendent to provide direction to the school attorney in regards to tax PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes).

He also mentioned he had spoken with a member of city government in regards to the possibility of the district taking over the two municipal skating rinks. Dunsmoor said this was just a discussion with one person, but there might be a possibility and asked to research into this area.

 Regular Meeting Actions

** Approved a field trip for the Oswego Middle School French Club to Montreal on May 9-10

** Approved creation of a JV winter guard for students in grades five through 12 and a winter drum line program at the Oswego High School.

** Accepted the resignation of Mary Beth Fierro as a mathematics teacher. She took a leave to serve as Oswego Middle School prinicpal and recently received tenure as principal.

** Appointed  Michelle Emmons as a regular substitute as a mathematics teacher thru June 30, 2014.

**Granted leaves of absence for Special Education teacher Melissa Guild and elementary teacher Samantha Spaulding

** Approved probationary  appointments for elementary teacher Carolyn Slobodian and Samantha Spaulding (OMS Reading).

** Approved Lee Williams and William Carney as permanent school bus drivers and Geoff Marsh as permanent head automotive mechanic.

** Accepted a $132 donation from Target for Frederick Leighton Elementary School and entered into an agreement with Oswego County Opportunities involving  the extension of the runaway-homeless youth specialist.

School board committee meetings will be at 5 p.m. Jan. 8 in the Oswego High School Anthony J. Murabito Media Center.

Polar Express gift shop pulls into Dillon Middle School

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

The Polar Express rolled into the Phoenix Central School District on Friday Dec. 20, bringing with it plenty of Christmas cheer.

Students at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School had the opportunity to shop for family members as they perused a wide selection of gifts that were donated by staff and community members.

The annual event, which began more than a decade ago by the school nurse and school psychologist, has transformed into a gift-giving extravaganza, said school psychologist Jill Lunn.

“It started out with just a few kids who came down and teachers had brought a few things in for those couple of kids to wrap and take home to give to family members,” Lunn said. “(Since then) they have expanded it and asked for donations from all the staff. Each team nominates children to come down to shop. Every year it gets a little bit bigger and we get more and more and more (donations), which is wonderful.”

Although the donations were a bit scarce at the beginning of December, Lunn said a final push helped send the donations over the top, guaranteeing at least 205 students would be able to bring a gift home for family members.

“Monday there wasn’t nearly as much stuff, so I sent out an email to staff and said that we have more kids than ever … and they rallied and they brought in so many things,” Lunn said. “We have a lot of community members who donate. What’s incredible too is some of our families who could probably use a little help around the holidays also give.”

For student Love Phillips, Polar Express was a chance to provide a good Christmas for her three brothers and parents. That feeling of giving, according to Lunn, was what the initiative was all about.

“We wanted to do something a little different and let the kids know what it feels like to be able to give, and very rarely do we get a student who asks for something for themselves,” Lunn said.

While the shopping was a major part of the event, faculty and community members were also on hand to wrap each gift.

“Certainly we couldn’t do it without the community volunteers, district administrators (and) the teachers that donate. They give up their planning periods and their lunches to help wrap. It’s teamwork. It takes everybody,” Lunn said.

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