Alice Woods and Erica Noble
On Oct. 11 the 34 members of Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s musical group SPARK will be getting up early to prepare for their trip to New York City. While in NYC, SPARK will be meeting with musical conductor Kevin Stites. In the past Mr. Stites has come to J-DHS to work with his friend, choir director Beth Quackenbush, and her music choirs. He was unable to come to the high school this year due to a busy work schedule, so SPARK is going to him on the group’s first trip to NYC.
The group will be traveling to NYC in J-DHS’s yellow school buses. By taking the school busses, the cost for the trip will be less then if coach busses were taken. “It is an okay idea, because when riding a school bus, it saves our trip about $300-400,” said freshman Elijah Theus.
SPARK will be staying in New Jersey, right outside the city, in the hotel Hilton Meadowlands. Even though they will be staying outside the city they are still excited for the bonding experience. “I think it would be fun to be with everybody,” said senior Hannah Palladino They will be spend one night there and coming back home late Sunday night, Oct. 12.
Once they arrive in NYC they will quickly stop by their hotel to get ready to go to see “Matilda” on Broadway. By seeing the show Mrs. Quackenbush hopes that each member of SPARK recognizes what the professional performers do and use that to strive to be the best performers they can be.
On Oct. 12, Mrs. Quackenbush will take SPARK to Ellen’s Stardust Diner for breakfast, which is a diner in NYC that has singing and dancing wait staff. “I have been there before with my family and I loved it, so I’m really excited to go again,” said freshman Catherine Cargain.
SPARK will be meeting with Mr. Stites on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. and again at 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. to prepare their song “Seize The Day” for their upcoming performance on Nov. 25 The time in between the two sessions is for the members to eat lunch in the city.
Kevin Stites is a well known conductor who’s worked on 12 different Broadway shows, including “Titanic,” “Les Miserables” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Mrs. Quackenbush hopes that by taking this trip to NYC and working with Mr. Stites, SPARK will learn how to improve their facial expressions as well as their singing voices while they perform. Several members of SPARK are excited to go to NYC and work with Stites. “I’m really excited. We’ve been waiting for this for awhile,” said senior Hunter Siegel-Cook.
Several members of SPARK do not just think of SPARK as a singing and dancing group, they think of themselves as a family. “We learn all the music and we perform on stage so well together, so we’re basically like a big family,” said senior Sean Mulvihill. Their trip to New York City will be a good way for the “family” to spend time together.
Last year SPARK had 24 members. This year 10 more people joined the performance group. “There is more people to talk too, and you get along with everyone,” said junior Hailey Harrigan. Even though the group has increased in size, Mrs. Quackenbush still wants her students to put in effort and work together. “By working together they will understand the steps to success in life,” she said.