Finley Musicians Perform in
The J. Taylor Finley Middle School percussion ensemble, a group of ten talented seventh graders, performed in Greenwich Village during "Percussion People," a monthly show at the famed Players Theatre.
Finley students Justin Meyer, Jackson Spector, Allison Berejka, Jason Catarino, Ally Wohl, Page Montecalvo, Jack Blakley, Cooper Makohon, Taylor Moreno and Ari Wohl were accompanied by music teacher Frank Battista.
"The Finley students were awesome on the stage and off," Mr. Battista said. "They performed amazingly and were very professional through the entire experience. We are grateful that 'Percussion People' invited us to play and gave us this fantastic opportunity."
"It was a great experience," Mr. Blakley said. "I really hope we can play there again." It was last December that Players Theatre owner Michael Sgouros, who created "Percussion People," asked the Finley musicians to perform as guest artists in the May production.
"Percussion People" is a showcase of percussion ensemble pieces performed by Mr. Sgouros, Emily Sgouros and Jack Mansager. The performers talk about the history of the instruments and their uses in their native countries. The show has been sold out for several months running.
The Finley ensemble began the day with an 8 a.m. LIRR train into Penn Station. The ensemble then rode the "A" train into Greenwich Village. After a 10 a.m. sound check, the young musicians were brought on an exclusive tour of the historic theater.
The tour included the main theater and stage where entertainers Britney Spears and Natalie Portman once performed. Michael Sgouros also gave the Finley group a tour of the famous Cafe Wha?, where Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan served as house band members.
Following the tour, the Finley students participated in the "Percussion People" show and performed "Fire the Torpedo!" by Tim Wimer before a full house. Musicians from Molloy College also performed during the program.
"We are indebted to Mr. Battista for making this amazing experience a reality for our students," said Joan R. Fretz, district director of fine and performing arts. "The best way to inspire students to work hard at developing a skill is to give them lots of ways to use their skills in the real world. How lucky our students are to have a teacher that would arrange an opportunity to perform in a Manhattan Theater! They'll never forget it."
When they were finished performing, the Finley ensemble celebrated with Mexican food at Panchitos. "These students will always remember this experience," Mr. Battista said. "It's not everyday that 10 seventh graders get to perform in the heart of Greenwich