May 23, 2016 |
At home in Mullica Hill, Doreen Taylor writes and sings the songs she hopes will help make her a star - and help charities that are close to her heart. "I say that I'm a singer-songwriter, even though the stereotype is a girl in a flowery dress with a guitar, singing folk-type music," she says. "I'm definitely not folk-y. " I must agree, having heard Taylor do a live-in-the-studio take of an uplifting ballad titled, appropriately, "Unstoppable," just minutes before. "Again?"
February 7, 2016 |
Natalie Pompilio is a Philadelphia writer Gathered in a classroom at Bristol Township's Harry S Truman High School, about 25 students from Drummers With Attitude are showing me what each can do with two sticks and an overturned bucket. And while the music was incredible, the change in some of the players is even more stunning. The boy who hadn't looked me in the eyes when I arrived? He is flipping his sticks in his hands and casting me side looks, grinning. Another teenager, who told me he doesn't like to show emotion, has his eyes closed and his lips slightly open as he plays, moving his body to the beat.
September 9, 2015 |
SEATED IN A circle behind their 15 African drums last spring, the Laura Waring School kids smiled when Mary Schumacher, their music teacher, said, "OK, we're going warp speed, right?" She set a blistering pace. Her young drummers stayed right with her. Then, each child took a turn on the lead, drumming out his or her own beats that the other kids echoed, call-and-response style. The '50s-era public school classroom, on Green Street near 18th in Spring Garden, rocked with hard-driving rhythm, intense furrowing of young brows and satisfied grins all around at the end. The little drummers of Waring are a big miracle at a time when chronically cash-strapped Philadelphia public schools have been stripped of their music and arts programs and turned into creativity deserts that offer no artistic stimulation to young minds hungering for it. The crisis of desperately deprived schools is shockingly clear on the crowd-funding website, donorschoose.org, where hundreds of Philadelphia classroom teachers personally beg the public to fund pencils, paper, books and other essentials because the school district stopped paying for bare-bones needs years ago. Last fall at Waring, where 100 percent of the children are from economically disadvantaged families, principal Brianna Dunn boldly decided to rely on the generosity of neighborhood community groups to buy basic supplies so she could scrape together enough money from her threadbare budget to hire a full-time music...
August 5, 2015 |
Two new half-hour comedies this week follow the adventures of aspiring entertainers - Mr. Robinson on NBC is a warm, traditional sitcom about a funk musician who doubles as a high school teacher, and Hulu's Difficult People , about a pair of would-be comics, offers a sarcastic take on the Seinfeld experience. Funky with teacher Actor, stand-up comic, and singer Craig Robinson, 43, has amassed a nice following with roles in Pineapple Express , Hot Tub Machine , and This Is the End , not to mention his droll turn as warehouse foreman-turned-sports agent Darryl Philbin on The Office . The Chicago native, who has a master's degree in education, digs into his personal history to play a Chicago high school music teacher in the likable, if sometimes flat, Mr. Robinson . It premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday on NBC. Robinson stars as Craig Robinson, a semiprofessional keyboard player and singer who plays in a band he cofounded with his brother Ben (Brandon T. Jackson)
June 26, 2015 |
"I'm not a soloist," says Suzzette Ortiz, who retires this week after teaching vocal music in Camden's public schools for 27 years. "I do harmony. " That's an apt, if incomplete, description of what Ortiz has done for thousands of students, especially at the city's Creative Arts High School. She was there on opening day in 1999, and on Thursday, she'll close her classroom door in what is now the Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy for the last time. "This is a big chapter of my life that's closing," says Ortiz, who grew up in Puerto Rico and lives in Pennsauken.
May 7, 2015 |
Samuel Russell Cosby Jr., 97, of Mount Airy, an organist, schoolteacher, and choral director who blended the sounds of the human voice into a melodic tapestry, died Monday, April 27, of a heart attack at his home. A Philadelphian who grew up on Godfrey Avenue, Mr. Cosby showed an early affinity and talent for music. He attended Corinthian Baptist Church along with the rest of his family, and shortly after his graduation from Central High School at age 19 became the organist for Mount Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church.
April 15, 2015 |
With the release of Hometown Girl , her 1987 debut album, Mary Chapin Carpenter launched a career that now includes 18 top-20 country singles, five Grammy Awards, and induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Her literate blend of folk, pop, and country incorporates influences from Emmylou Harris to Eudora Welty. For Carpenter, who will perform Thursday at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood and April 25 at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, the seeds of her success were planted in Princeton, where she spent her formative years.
April 13, 2015 |
A simple suburban church with superb acoustics has become a temple of serious music in South Jersey. At Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church in Washington Township, an ambitious concert series continues Sunday with five "chamber music all-stars" performing string quintets by Mozart and Brahms, says Martha Frampton, series founder. The seventh season will conclude May 17 with "Storytelling and Folk Dances," including a Spoken Word cantata and featuring downtown New York musicians Doug Balliett and Brandon Ridenour.
March 25, 2015 |
FYODOR BADKHEN, 17, has been part of Girard Academic Music Program for four years, but he didn't realize he would help the school win a Grammy - sort of. The South Philadelphia magnet school, known as GAMP, was one of 13 schools in the nation chosen by the GRAMMY Foundation for its Signature Schools Award and will receive $5,500. The annual award recognizes the best public high schools in music education. Eight of the 13 schools, including GAMP, received the Enterprise Award grant for schools that are economically underserved.
December 15, 2014 |
At first it was just a rumor at the prestigious boarding school: A 15-year-old sophomore was having a sexual affair with the 25-year-old music teacher. Both denied a relationship, and administrators could prove nothing. Months later, the girl's mother found evidence of the affair, including letters from the teacher to her daughter. What happened next could offer a glimpse into the past culture at the Solebury School, now the subject of a criminal investigation, accused of tolerating sexual abuse of students or misconduct by staff over decades.