On Sunday afternoon, 16 May 2010, the Alexandria Citadel Corps celebrated the end of the first academic year for its ambitious Alexandria School for the Performing Arts (ASPA) with the Spring Recital held in the corps hall. Under the direction of principal Cheryl Jones-Gage and corps officers Captains Ken and Amy Argot, the ASPA offers instruction in brass and percussion instruments, vocal, dance, guitar and piano, with a staff of eleven instructors. The school is open to students of all ages, although most of the students are children.
After some preliminary music provided by the Alexandria Citadel Band and words of welcome and an invocation by Cheryl Jones-Gage, the recital began with a brass ensemble playing the well-known hymn tune Duke Street (arr. Paul Deafenbaugh). This was followed by three piano soloists, Ermias Tadesse who played The Donkey, Liyon Afework who played The Clown and Natnael Adere who played Rockin’ Tune.
Some of the students study in more than one of the disciplines offered, and Natnael Adere also played the cornet solo Heart and Soul. Two more brass soloists were featured next, Leah Argot who played French and Captain Carolyn Webb who played Whiter than Snow. Of all the courses offered at the school, the piano track has the most students. Three more piano solos were next, including Money Can’t Buy Ev’rything played by Kirubel Adere, The Clown played by Surafel Adere and My Robot played by Yohannes Abera.
The next four items showed the diversity of the classes offered by the School for the Performing Arts. First, vocalist Claudia Perez sang Lullaby (Nancy Jelfer). Then the percussion classed presented Variations on an Eighth. A second brass ensemble demonstrated some cornet exercises and hymn tunes. Finally, the yoga/dance class showed their moves.
More piano soloists followed, including Angela Morris who played The Donkey, Wongelawit Tadesse who played Horse Sense and David Reardon who played Good King Wenceslas. The final class presentation was the guitar students, who presented Silent Night (Franz Gruber).
School for the Performing Arts principal Cheryl Jones-Gage then gave several awards and presentations marking the end of the spring semester. This was followed by the final performance of the afternoon, a trombone solo presented by Kevin Downing. Downing, although just 18 years of age, has been the principal trombone of the National Capital Band for two seasons. He will be attending the University of Maryland in the fall, majoring in trombone performance. The recital ended with remarks from the Assistant Divisional Music Director for the National Capital and Virginia Division, Bandmaster David Delaney.
Brass Crest Staff Report
Photos and other material submitted by Cheryl Jones-Gage