"THE GREAT THANKSGIVING" SPREADS JOY, PEACE
Over 400 people packed the First Presbyterian Church of Rome on Sunday, May 19, 2019 to watch and listen as the Chorale performed a variety of selections with the theme of peace, thanks and brotherhood. The audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the music, as hearty applause, smiles and even some tears were prevalent. A warm reception was given to 2019 Senior Scholarship recipients Sara Brown and Ben O’Connell as they displayed their considerable musical talent before the Chorale took the risers. A Chorale Ensemble of seven singers provided a pleasing rendition of “Laudamus Te”, and the six-handed piano piece “Ever Joyful” by Kimberly Nethaway, Heather O’Connell and Bernadette VanValkenburg was a definite hit with the audience.
Thank you to all who attended the concert, and all who helped in any way to make it a meaningful and memorable event.
SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS ANNOUNCED
The Oneida Area Civic Chorale has awarded its 2019 Senior Scholarships to Sara Brown and Benjamin O’Connell. Brown, a senior student at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, and O’Connell, an Oneida High School senior, will each receive $500 toward their future study of music. The Chorale offers the scholarships to area high school seniors who have displayed musical talent in school and community performances and plan to engage in musical study beyond high school, either as music majors or in extracurricular areas.
Sara Brown, of Black Avenue W in Vernon, will attend Ithaca College and major in Theatre Studies. She has been involved with the VVS Drama Club throughout her high school years, and has had leading roles the last three years, most recently appearing as “Paulette” in Legally Blond. She has also been involved in directing at VVS, J.D. George Elementary, and at the District Drama Club Kids’ Camp at VVS. Brown has been involved in musical groups at VVS, including Chorus and Select Choir, and has been part of All County, Area All State, and Conference All State Choirs. She has also competed in NYSSMA Solo Festivals as a vocalist. Brown is currently studying with Mrs. Lauralyn Kolb at Hamilton College. Mr. Adam Chandler, Vocal Instructor at VVS, praises Brown’s talent and says, “Sara’s work ethic and intrinsic motivation will create the type of opportunities that allow one to be successful in the field of performing.”
Benjamin O’Connell, of Florence Avenue, Oneida, has been involved in music and musical theater since he was a child. He began performing with Victoria Buda’s Academy of Theatrical Arts in 2009, acted in musicals in middle school, and performed with the OHS Drama Department in every musical during his time at OHS, including the role of “Sam Carmichael” in this spring’s production of Mamma Mia. O’Connell has been a member of OHS Concert Choir and Chamber Choir, and has participated in All County and Area All State choruses, as well as NYSSMA Solo Festivals. Additionally, he has been selected as a member of ACDA and NAFME Eastern Conference choruses. O’Connell is also a trombonist in the OHS Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble. OHS Band Director David Hawthorne states, “Ben has been a hard worker here in Oneida. He has a strong moral character and is loyal, caring and compassionate of others.” Outside of school, he is a member of the Jr. B Sharp Musical Club of CNY and studies voice with Mrs. Lauralyn Kolb of Hamilton College. O’Connell plans to attend Syracuse University and major in Music Education.
Brown and O’Connell will receive their awards and perform at the OACC’s upcoming concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Rome, 108 Court St., Rome, on May 19 at 4:00 PM. Tickets for “The Great Thanksgiving: Songs of Peace, Thanks and Brotherhood” are $10, and are available from Chorale members, at W.J. Hinman Jewelers, 115 Main St., Oneida, and by calling 315-655-3007.