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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

Seniors earn recognition at Phoenix farewell concert

The John C. Birdlebough symphonic band performs under the direction of Liza Grethel.The Phoenix Central School District’s Music Department celebrated its seniors during a recent farewell concert in the high school auditorium.

Embracing the theme of the evening, “On the Shoulders of those who came Before Us,” the students posthumously honored Gregory Woodruff for his contributions to the PCSD music program. Conductor Liza Grethel noted that Woodruff had a remarkable impact on Phoenix student musicians from 1980-2000.

“He touched hundreds of lives as he inspired his students with his passion for music,” Grethel said. “We honor his memory and take comfort in knowing that he will always be a part of JCB and his influence will have no end.”

With Woodruff in mind, the students performed several songs throughout the evening, interspersed with awards and recognition. The following seniors were recognized for their efforts throughout their years in the PCSD music program: Dixon Ameeele, Donovan Basile, Hali Denniston, Victoria Dievendorf, Garrett Frink, Alyssa Goudy, Trinity Green, Zoe Heckert, Nina Lewis, Christine McCarthy. Shania Meaker, Sean Sievers and Julianne Yates.


Photo caption

  1. The John C. Birdlebough symphonic band performs under the direction of Liza Grethel.
  2. Conductor Liza Grethel presents Phoenix senior Dixon Ameele with the Patrick Gilmore Band Award for his contributions to the band.

EJD student musicians perform spring concert

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School student musicians recently showcased their progress and talents during their final concert of the school year. 

The seventh and eighth grade chorus and band students performed a full lineup of songs featuring several soloists as well as group numbers. Under the direction of Shirley Kelly, the full chorus sang “Africa” and “Blackbird” before combining for a moving performance of “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” Featured singers and soloists for the evening were Isabella Allen, Garrett Strang, Larissa MacDonald, Jayde Jacobson, Olivia Snyder, Gabriella Payne, Keaton Renfrew, Ashleigh Besaw, Aiden Trumble and Angel Barrows.

Following the chorus performance, the band took the stage for a medley of songs under the direction of Dave Frateschi. Songs included “Midnight Escape,” “Cake by the Ocean,” and “Fate of the Gods,” among others. Soloists were Chloe Calkins, Lily Roberts and Aidan Trumble.

EJD students celebrate Music Around the World

The Emerson J. Dillon Middle School gymnasium was buzzing with excitement and tunes during its recent Music in Our Schools Month concert.

Students in fifth through seventh grades performed nearly a dozen songs to an audience of friends, family and Phoenix Central School District staff. The fifth-grade band kicked off the evening with “Land of the Rising Sun” and “Uskudar,” under the direction of Joanna Young. Following that performance, the fifth- and sixth-grade chorus sang “Tongo” (Polynesia) and “Ciranda da Lua” (Brazil) as they embraced the evening’s theme of Music Around the World.

Sixth-grade band students continued to weave the theme into their performances as they played Irish and African music, followed by the seventh- and eighth-grade chorus’ songs inspired by Korea and Zambia.

The evening wrapped up with a trifecta of songs from the seventh- and eighth-grade band, including “Around the World in 80 Measures,” “Sheherazade” and “La Virgen de la Macarena.”

In addition to the “Music Around the World,” there were other activities and artwork on display throughout the building that incorporated aspects of other cultures and countries.

Phoenix musicians perform in annual Tuba Christmas concert

Staff and student musicians in the Phoenix Central School District participated in the 18th annual Tuba Christmas on Dec. 17.

The holiday-inspired event featured more than 80 tuba players, ages 7-70, who performed in concert to usher in the Christmas season. Under the direction of Michael Coldren, this year's concert was held at Liverpool High School and included musicians from all over central New York.

The Phoenix contingent included Emerson J. Dillon music teacher David Frateschi and eighth-grade band students Aiden Southworth, Chloe Calkins and Aiden Trumble.

Dillon Students Excel at Music

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School seventh and eighth grade students wowed the audience at their combined band and chorus concert.

The seventh grade band performed “Alpine Adventure” by Michael Oare, “The Lightning Spirit” by Roland Barrett and “Trumpets Rock” by Chris Sharp, with drum soloist Ethan Remington.

The combined seventh and eighth grade chorus sang “Come to Me, O My Love” by Allan Robert Petker, “Annie Laurie” by Earlene Rentz and “Furaha” by Sally K. Albrecht.

Lastly, the eighth grade band played “Photo Finish” by James Swearingen, “Flash In The Pan” by Richard Saucedo and “New Era Fanfare” by Randall D. Standridge.

Directors James DeMauro (band) and Shirley Kelly (chorus) expressed their pride in the students’ performances and all of their hard work this year.

The Phoenix Central School District is once again on the list for Best Communities for Music Education for 2015 as determined by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM Foundation). “The program singles out districts for outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders to make music education accessible to all students,” (www.nammfoundation.org).

 EJD seventh grade band member playing the saxophone during the song “Trumpets Rock” by Chris Sharp.  EJD seventh and eighth grade chorus at their spring concert.

JCB students showcase musical talent at winter concert

Students at John C. Birdlebough High School put on quite a show at a recent winter concert that featured both band and vocal ensembles.

The joint concert, which was well attended by family members and friends of the performers, featured the school’s percussion ensemble, symphonic band, concert chorus and wind ensemble, as well as chamber sings and combined choirs. Each ensemble brought a different set of skills to the concert, showcasing the variety of music programs the school has to offer.

The wind ensemble performed a breathtaking rendition of music from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Polar Express.” Directed by David Frateschi, the ensemble received thunderous applause at the end of their session.

The combined bands and choirs concluded the evening by performing “A Christmas Festival,” and received a standing ovation from the packed crowd.

Members of the concert chorus at John C. Birdlebough High School
perform before a packed crowd at a recent Winter Concert.
The JCB wind ensemble received high praise after performing music
from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “The Polar Express.”


Third-graders perform holiday concert at MAM

In front of hundreds of family members and friends, third grade students at Michael A. Maroun Elementary School recently performed a holiday concert.

Under the direction of music teachers Carol Van Gorder and Jody Lentz, students sang a handful of holiday-themed songs in front of a packed crowd. According to Lentz, a lot of preparation had to go into hosting the concert.

MAM students recently performed a holiday concert and received a
standing ovation.

“We chose the program months in advance and started teaching the songs at the end of September,” Lentz said. “We collaborated to create choreography, speaking parts and the concert program.”

In order to put on the concert, each third grade student had to learn all of the music during their weekly scheduled music time and had to have dress rehearsals with the entire class on stage three times prior to the concert.

Lentz said she was extremely happy with the turnout for the concert, even with heavy snows falling outside.

“The Phoenix community doesn’t let the weather get in the way of enjoying a concert performed by their children,” Lentz said. “We are always so appreciative of their support for our music programs. We are also grateful for the generosity in our community.”


John C Birdlebough Chorus Performs In Costume

Phoenix John C Birdlebough High School Concert Chorus performed in costume at their Fall Choral Concert.

The concert theme was “Movie Music,” and the chorus sang songs from “Alice in Wonderland,” “Harry Potter” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

To further the fun and fantasy of the songs, each member of the chorus dressed up in costume as a character from a movie. Costumes ranged from Thunderbirds from “Grease” to minions from “Despicable Me.”

“As we are singing through our songs today, let’s see if you can pick out some of these iconic figures,” said Director Brian Logee.

The Chamber Singers, comprised of 13 young women, also sang movie songs such as “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” from “Frozen.”

In an annual survey of districts nationwide by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the Phoenix Central School District was one of 15 Central New York districts, among 375 contenders, to be named “2014 Best Communities for Music Education.”



JCB Chorus student presents Director Brian Logee with his “Harry Potter” magical wand to direct the movie-costumed chorus in popular movie music.

Phoenix Community Band dazzles at JCB

To the pleasure of a packed audience, the Phoenix Community Band recently performed its much anticipated fall concert at John C. Birdlebough High School.

Led by Director David Frateschi, a Phoenix Central School District music teacher, the band performed eight songs and often featured solo performances from individual band members. The band, which consists of more than 55 players, performed in unison at all times and received thunderous applause at the conclusion of each song.

According to their website, the Phoenix Community Band is one of the youngest civilian concert bands in the United States and has grown in popularity throughout the Central New York region.

The band will next perform at their annual Christmas concert on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in the JCB auditorium. For more information on the band, visit their website at www.phoenixcommunityband.org.

Phoenix student musicians delight crowd during spring concert

Songs filled the air in the John C. Birdlebough High School auditorium recently as the spring choral concert took center stage.

The Firebird Concert Chorus performed seven songs, with the final number, “The Argument,” bringing the audience to its feet. Divided between male singers and females, the vocalists sang about the dynamic between the genders and the sources of contention that arise. The back-and-forth battle was a favorite among the students, according to director Brian Logee.

During the spring choral concert at Phoenix’s John C. Birdlebough High School recently, Meghan Lees belts out “Only in New York,” a song from “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” 

“They’ve been working on this for a while and they couldn’t wait to perform it for all of you,” Logee said after the thunderous applause.

In addition to the concert chorus, the chamber singers also belted out seven songs ranging from “Chili Con Carne” to “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” The two ensembles wrapped up the program with a combined performance of “Set Me as a Seal.”

The spring concert also included featured soloists Meghan Lees and Maggie Balles, who each sang a song from the school’s spring musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”