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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

Artist, storyteller provides multifaceted lesson at EJD

1.	Artist and storyteller Christopher Agostino and Emerson J. Dillon Middle School eighth-graders pose for a group photo following a StoryFaces presentation.Phoenix students recently received a multifaceted lesson as artist and storyteller Christopher Agostino brought his StoryFaces performance to Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.

With a full color palette in front of him, Agostino told several stories with Chinese and Japanese cultural roots. As he told each story, he used paint to transform students’ faces into the various scenes and characters. His stories ranged from comics to the supernatural, with some tales even based on Greek mythology.

“Some of these are 2000-year-old stories,” Agostino said. “But it’s these 2000-year-old stories that are still relevant in today’s world. These are stories of heroism. Be the hero in your own life.”

In addition to the tales of heroism, Agostino provided students with a comprehensive lesson, said art teacher Beth Pritchard.

“His sixth-grade performance was great and connected perfectly to the mask-making unit that we teach in our art curriculum! He talked about the importance of colors and icons as a way to represent symbols and meaning in art,” Pritchard said. “His stories ranged from a variety of different cultures from around the world and really made that historical connection that we talk about in class while researching for our own mask-making projects. This was a great way to incorporate everything into one presentation.”

Standing-room-only crowd turns out for EJD music showcase

Hundreds of student musicians entertained a capacity crowd in the Emerson J. Dillon Middle School gymnasium Tuesday (March 18) night as part of a music showcase.

“We are thrilled to be putting together this showcase for you,” music teacher Liza Grethel said. “It’s been a long time since we had a concert of this size and we’re excited to do this for you tonight.”

EJD Principal Sue Anderson commended the students for their dedication to their music. She anticipated that their practice would be evident throughout the performance. “You will be really entertained,” Anderson said.

That prediction came to fruition as band, chorus and jazz band performances brought the audience to its feet. Student band members delighted the crowd with songs such as “Bugler’s Dream,” “Crunch Time,” “Aggressivo,” and “Crystal Moon.” Vocalists belted out numbers including “High Hopes,” “How Can I Keep from Singing?” and “Cantar!”

After separate performances from the different ensembles, all the groups came together for the grand finale sing-along featuring songs from “The Wizard of Oz.”

The EJD music showcase coincided with Music in Our Schools Month, which is held annually in March to highlight the importance of music education. The Phoenix Central School District is on the list of Best Communities for Music Education, as determined by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.

EJD music teacher Shirley Kelly leads the fifth- and sixth-grade chorus on the piano during a school-wide music showcase Tuesday night in the EJD gymnasium.


EJD band, chorus perform holiday concert

The John C. Birdlebough High School auditorium was filled to capacity on Dec. 10 as the middle school musicians performed holiday songs during the winter concert.


Holiday music fills the air inside the John C. Birdlebough High school auditorium on Dec. 10 as the middle school jazz band performs “O Holy Night” under the direction of James DeMauro.

Under the direction of James DeMauro, the Emerson J. Dillon jazz band opened the evening with “Ye Jazzy Gentlemen” and “O Holy Night,” bringing the crowd to its feet with the festive music.

The evening continued with performances by the seventh and eighth grade chorus, under the direction of Shirley Kelly, singing “Ding-a- Ding-a Ding,” “White Christmas” and “Do You Hear What I Hear.”

To cap off the concert, the middle school band performed “Of Castles and Kings,” “And all the Bells Shall Ring,” “Carol of the Bell,” “Cyclone” and “Jingle Jive.”

The Phoenix Central School District is on the list of Best Communities for Music Education, as determined by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit organization geared toward advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry.