At the annual Phoenix Christmas Concert on December 14, a greater audience will be able to enjoy the performance by our student musicians. Leading up to their concert, while members of the Phoenix Chorus have been rehearsing their numbers, students taking American Sign Language (A.S.L.) have been practicing signing the words to some familiar Christmas songs.
The A.S.L. Program was introduced at Kellenberg Memorial High School in 2009-2010 and is a World Language option for students in their junior and senior year, depending on their academic program.
Professional A.S.L. interpreters Lynn Mastromano and Laura Romer have been working with students in preparation for the concert. “We feel blessed that we have been given the opportunity to work with young people who are using the signing medium to grow creatively and spiritually.” In her final Christmas concert as a student, Janelsy Paredes ’19 remarks, “I’m more than happy to be participating in this for the Christmas concert, it’s a time where we’ve created great bonds in ways others don’t.”
Music department chairman and Phoenix Chorus director, Mr. Clark Blanton explains, “I have tried for quite a few years to include something for the A.S.L. students because the language is so beautiful and really enhances what we are singing. I have always thought that we are so fortunate to be able to hear this beautiful music and want to try in whatever way we can to bring it to a wider audience. It is our way of letting the deaf community know that we recognize and respect them and want to include them in what we do!”
For some students, this is their final Christmas concert at Kellenberg Memorial. Senior Sydney Cifuentes ’19 recalls, “Being able to sign for the second year is such a privilege. I am so blessed to have this opportunity because others don’t have the privilege,” and Gabriella Correia ’19 says, “It’s an honor to be able to sign, not once but twice for the Christmas concert, especially with my closest friends.”
The Phoenix Chorus is Kellenberg Memorial’s senior-most chorus, predominantly composed of members of the junior and senior divisions. Members perform in two school concerts each year, the Christmas Concert and the Spring Concert. Many members are also involved in additional performance ensembles including NYSSMA and other select groups at Kellenberg Memorial.