UpBeat! A music and dance appreciation class for young adults.
Jazz Band 101 performing at WHBPAC. COURTESY WHBPAC
Jonah Alvillar performing with WHBPAC manager Justin Harris. COURTESY WHBPAC
A performance by Rock Band 101. COURTESY WHBPAC
Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) Arts Academy welcomed its first live audience for 2021 on April 18 with a Spring Music Festival. Students from the academy’s music education program performed in front of the theater’s first live audience since the pandemic began over a year ago. Safety precautions included COVID-19 testing, socially distanced seating, and staggered arrival/departure times.
Directed by Arts Academy Manager Kristen Poulakis, students from UpBeat!, Jazz Band 101 and Rock Band 101 performed some of music’s biggest hits. Students in the private vocal classes performed a mix of original songs as well as gems from Blondie and Jeff Buckley, and even a breakout performance from 6-year-old Jonah Alvillar, who performed “Positive” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” from the upcoming showcase, “Little Oompas” and “Loompas.” Rock Band 101, under the direction of music educator Jake Lorefice, ended the show with rousing performances of “Spiderwebs,” “Sugar We’re Going Down” and “Santeria.” Jazz Band 101, a new class taught by teaching artist Jonathan DeMorey, infused the evening with fresh spins on jazz classics for a new generation.
“We are thrilled to welcome an audience back to the theater,” said Heather Draskin, WHBPAC’s director of marketing. “We have been waiting for this day for so long and it was a special night for everyone. You can never replace the connection you experience when you’re watching live music.”
“These students have put their heart and soul into their performances and having people back in the theater was emotional,” added Poulakis. “Even performing with masks, it shows their resiliency and commitment to their craft.”
WHBPAC Arts Academy summer camps are now registering for July and August. For more information, call 631-288-2350 ext. 118 or visit whbpac.org to learn more.
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