Vocal Majors Fly to the Moon

Members of Frank Sinatra School of Arts on the New York Daily News float for Columbus Day Parade NYC on October 12, 2015 in Manhattan Participants of Columbus Day Parade NYC marched up on 5th Ave to celebrate Italian-American heritage. Go Nakamura for New York Daily News

Members of Frank Sinatra School of Arts on the New York Daily News float for Columbus Day Parade NYC on October 12, 2015 in Manhattan
Participants of Columbus Day Parade NYC marched up on 5th Ave to celebrate Italian-American heritage.
Go Nakamura for New York Daily News

This past Columbus Day, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts’ vocal majors turned back time. The spirit of the 1940’s was evoked through song and dance from a float made for their performance in the Columbus Day Parade in NYC. Fittingly enough, their performance takes place close to Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday as the students revived his enchanting sound through singing his classic tunes. Juniors, freshmen and sophomores, as well as seniors took part in this amazing opportunity, not solely upperclassmen. But the participants weren’t chosen based of grade level, the ones who took part in the parade performance were those who wanted to perform, and more importantly, those who could “sell it” best.

From atop their moving stage, the performers wore attire influenced by the style of the 1940’s, the era of Sinatra’s peak of popularity, with a similar backdrop of New York’s cityscape on the float. The float itself was decorated with banners of Sinatra, one with an image of him in his youth besides the text “Your Music Lives.” The construction of the float was sponsored by The Daily News, the newspaper focusing on the theme of Frank Sinatra as much as our school has been in the past few months. The vocal majors’ performance in the parade was even featured in The Daily News, with the news outlet commenting on the talent of the performers and their professionalism. The Daily News will also be donating the banners of Frank Sinatra from the float, due to the vocal majors’ performance.

Songs performed during the parade, commemorating Sinatra and his music, were “Three Coins in The Fountain,” “Love and Marriage,” “Lucky Lady,” “I Have a Crush on You,” and of course, one of his most popular tunes, “Fly Me to The Moon.” Mr. Sandri, the one of the vocal instructors and the teacher who prepared the students for this event, organized the proceedings for the event, including the ensemble and the songs to be performed. He even prepared choreography for the vocal majors, to further organize their performance on the float.

The idea of performing for hours on end would leave anyone reluctant, even more so to most high school students.

“The audience needs to hear something good every second,” Mr. Sandri said. The ensemble sang and performed their dance routines continuously throughout the duration of the parade, to give the best performance as the float made its way through the parade. One would think this show would be followed by complaints or groans, but the students anticipated displaying their talents from at a public venue.

“They acted like professionals because they know that’s what’s expected of them,” Mr. Sandri  said.

The participating vocal majors where not unfamiliar with Frank Sinatra’s classically American music. At the request of our school’s founder, Tony Bennet, the Great American Songbook Singers was formed in 2011. This 50-voice ensemble performs original and classical pieces from this genre of American music, and the members come from all grade levels as well. As Frank Sinatra’s music is acknowledged to define a part of this genre, the performers in the parade were familiar with his sound and style.

-by Cheyenne Haskins ’16

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