Feb. 19-25, 2004
By Eileen Jevis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Dedicated music teacher leads students to state capitol
NORTH SYRACUSE –– The students at St. Rose of Lima are gearing up for a trip that they have been preparing for since the beginning of January. They are the only Catholic school in the Syracuse Diocese that will be performing at the state capitol on March 10 as part of “Music In Our Schools” month. The event has been held for 32 years and showcases the types of music taught in all New York State schools. Between 3,500 and 4,000 chorus, band and orchestra members will be traveling to the capitol to perform.
Josephine Federico, the music teacher at St. Rose of Lima, was excited that St. Rose has been invited to perform. “It’s such a positive experience for the students,” she said. “We are one of only two Catholic schools in the entire state that are participating,” said Federico. “The other Catholic school is in Troy.” Unlike previous years when the school attended the event, Federico admitted she is nervous for the students who have missed three practices due to weather-related school closings. St. Rose of Lima School attended the event in 1994 and 2002. Federico explained that the event is not a competition, but a showcase of musical talent.
In addition to performing their musical selections, the students in grades four, five and six will also meet senators, assemblypersons and tour the capitol building. While the students are eager to share their songs, they seemed more excited about touring the capitol than performing. The students will be given 45 minutes to sing their selections, which include, We’re Gonna put on a Show, No Greater Joy, Peace on Earth, Land that We Love and United in Song and Spirit. The last song was dedicated to Federico and her students by the author and composer, Jill Gallina. The dedication reads, “Dedicated with love and appreciation to Josephine Federico, Music Director, and all of her students at St. Rose of Lima Elementary School, North Syracuse. Josephine, your talent, positive energy and beautiful spirit have united all your students, colleagues and friends into a mutual admiration society.”
Marissa Mosley, a sixth grader at St. Rose of Lima, has been a member of the chorus for four years. She said that it’s an honor to be able to represent one of only two Catholic schools in the state that are participating. She said that she is most excited about performing and is sure that she and the other chorus members will be ready to go. “I think the snow held us back a little,” she said. “But I think we’ll be ready.” Marissa added that this is her first time travelling with the chorus to perform. “I was supposed to go to Albany two years ago, but I got sick and wasn’t able to,” she said. “It’ll be a blast.”
Shawna Pascarella is also in sixth grade and was a member of the chorus who traveled to Albany two years ago. Shawna has been in chorus for four years and plays the clarinet. “I think it’s a great experience for the kids who have never gone,” said Shawna. “It’s an honor to be able to perform. It will be interesting and fun to meet senators and stuff and tour the capitol building.” Shawna admitted that while she really enjoyed performing in 2002, the most exciting part of the trip had been the tour of the capitol. “We were better prepared the last time,” said Shawna. “But we’ll get it done. We’ll be prepared.”
Angela Freeman agrees that the chorus members will work extra hard to be ready. “We are making up for the time we lost. We’ll be okay,” she said. This will be Angela’s first trip to Albany. She has been a member of the chorus for three years and also plays the clarinet. “I’ve never been to the capitol before. I think it will be cool to perform there,” said Angela. Nicholas Burke, a sixth grader at St. Rose, couldn’t hide his enthusiasm for the opportunity to sing. “I’m in the chorus because I love to sing,” he said. “I love music.” Nicholas also enjoys watching musicals. “My favorite is Moulin Rouge,” he said. “I think the trip will be a good experience for everyone.” We will be able to meet senators and see the capitol building.”
“It’s an honor to participate,” said Federico. “The event gives students a chance to demonstrate the quality of music being taught in Catholic schools.” The lyrics in the closing song, United in Song and Spirit, appropriately illustrates the student’s enthusiasm and excitement about the upcoming trip. “We’re standing together and here we come, with our voices loud and clear for all the world to hear. We are united in song and spirit with a beautiful song to sing.”