NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- It makes perfect sense. Albert Leonard Middle School music students, eager to make it to the nationwide Music in the Parks festival next spring, raised funds for the trip by singing.
The music department held a karaoke fundraiser last Friday, in which students (and some faculty members) sang solo or in groups, romping through a range of current hits.
Brianna Saunders wowed the crowd with her rendition of Owl City's "Fireflies." Eighth-grade friends Gianluca Veronesi and Courtney Francis sang an Ed Sheeran song. And Basil Mathai, rather than singing, showed off some dance moves to "Watch Me." Seventh grader Alessandra Pappalardi enlisted her sister Carolina, a first-grader at Jefferson Elementary School, to sing Bruno Mars' "Marry Me" as a duet.
Albert Leonard is planning another karaoke night to continue raising funds - and also just to have a blast. At the recent event, even Principal John Barnes got into the spirit, singing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," while teachers, parents and students sang along with the chorus.
The evening supported their upcoming trip to the Music in the Parks festival in May at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. Founded in 1981, Music in the Parks is the nation's largest music festival program; the 2018 season offers more than 200 festival dates in 42 locations. In all, it will host more than 200,000 students from more than 5,000 schools throughout the United States and Canada. (To learn more: www.musicintheparks.com.)
Albert Leonard students who attend the festival have a great time - and tend to return with a bunch of awards.
Seventh grader Aviva Segal, who plays the oboe and who came to the karaoke night to support the effort, said her older sister enjoyed competing in the festival, adding, "She also made a lot of friends through music."
"It was a big team-building event," said Aviva's mother, Thalia Segal. "And they took home a lot of trophies."