Sunday, February 18, 2018
News Roundup

Performances by youth from Patel Conservatory excite

It rivaled every high school athletic performance I watched this year, and I saw my son's championship football team win 15 consecutive games.

But it wasn't a sport.

It sent me reeling in the years to a time when The Big Chill captured the imagination of baby boomers both young and old.

But it wasn't Procol Harum singing A Whiter Shade of Pale.

It reminded me of a New York theatre where neon lights are bright and crowds gather to see stars born.

But it wasn't a Broadway show.

These impactful displays of artistry occurred at the David A. Straz Performing Center's Ferguson Hall on Wednesday night, and the performers hailed from the center's Patel Conservatory. With the Spotlight Awards, the conservatory celebrated what may be its most significant year since opening in 2005, and the spotlight shined on dynamic young talent in every performance.

The athlete? That would be 14-year-old Landon Harris from the conservatory's Next Generation Ballet. His soaring leaps across the stage during his solo to OneRepublic's Apologize reminded me of a dazzling receiver going across the middle of the field to catch a pass.

I'm certain if a football coach had been in the audience, he would have rushed backstage to sign Harris.

The reminiscent performance of A Whiter Shade of Pale came from a joint effort between the conservatory's chamber orchestra and its rock school band Wasted Youth. With Lucas Coura lending vocals, Tom Berenger, Glenn Close and Jeff Goldblum flashed through my mind — but I'm going to guess none of the teens even know about The Big Chill.

Katlyn Iacovino delivered the Broadway-style solo with her rendition of Laurie's Song from The Tender Land by Aaron Copland. If she ends up on an episode of Smash, I'll be excited, but not surprised.

Time and again, the various performers from the conservatory's theatre, music and dance departments impressed. As Dr. Pallavi Patel noted, many of the students indeed will grow and shine on bigger stages as bigger stars.

Yet there is more to the conservatory story than developing stars. Led by vice president of education Wendy Leigh, the conservatory expects to recognize a major goal in June when it officially receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and School Council on Accreditation and School Improvement — the same folks who accredit Hillsborough's public schools.

The accreditation process means the administration went through a challenging process and much self-inspection to meet the standards. The end result will be a better school that opens more doors for its students.

Equally impressive are the conservatory's ongoing community outreach efforts. In nearly every ensemble performance, the audience saw a diverse group of every hue and color. The school has a list of partnerships with schools and agencies and often makes site visits to offer lessons and raise awareness. That work leads to some students receiving scholarships to attend classes at the conservatory.

Greater exposure means some of the students will get a chance to reach that big stage, but a greater impact will be an introduction and appreciation of the arts.

The Patel Conservatory is growing future patrons, and you can't underestimate the positive impact that will have on the community.

That's all I'm saying.

 
Comments

Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

PINELLAS PARK — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office late Saturday said detectives arrested a 14-year-old boy and accused him of posting a threat to a school on his Snapchat account.Edward Charles Osgood, who attends Lealman Innovation Academy, was a...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Ten things to know about Stormy Daniels

Ten things to know about Stormy Daniels

1. Was editor of her high school newspaper, president of her 4-H club.2. Started stripping at age 17 in Baton Rouge, La.3. Made her first porn film with a girlfriend.4. Took her stage name from the Motley Crue bassist, who named his son Storm, and fr...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

MUNICH — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Saturday there was "incontrovertible" evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election, a blunt statement that shows how significantly the new criminal charges leveled by an...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style fi...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — A red heart-shaped balloon rose above crowd of several hundred people that had gathered at Williams Park on Saturday evening to mourn Wednesday’s school shooting in Broward County and to protest gun violence.Below the balloon, signs ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

TAMPA — Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 this year. The Florida Orchestra performed two of his works Friday, the second of which paired the dances from West Side Story with the overture to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet.The orches...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

TAMPA — In the center of the nightclub, between the cigar case and bustling bar, a giant screen blankets the back wall. Usually, ads for drink specials and coming attractions scroll across.But Friday night, a life-size picture of President Donald Tru...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Man found dead in flaming mobile home

TAMPA — Firefighters found a man dead inside a burned-down mobile home Saturday.Tampa Fire Rescue got a call just after 4:30 p.m. that a single-wide mobile home at the 100 block of East Linebaugh Avenue was in flames.The man’s identity was not releas...
Published: 02/17/18
‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

Warning: This story quotes graphic material.Before he killed 17 people at a South Florida high school, Nikolas Cruz repeatedly threatened an ex-classmate who had started dating his former girlfriend, according to a report in Buzzfeed News."I’m going ...
Published: 02/17/18

Police find dead man in Tampa apartment

TAMPA — Police found a dead man inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Sonora Court Friday after 3 p.m.Who the man is or how long he’s been dead is not yet clear, police said. The victim appears to have been killed in some sort of "homicidal violen...
Published: 02/17/18