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July 11, 2020


Visual and performing arts students in Mount Vernon School District perform Black Nativity. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mount Vernon School District
Irvington High School students after they performed at the MetLife building in New York City. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Irvington High School
Musicians in Mount Vernon School District accompany a performance of Black Nativity. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mount Vernon School District
Students in Bronxville raised over $1,000 to build homes for low-income families with a gingerbread house fundraiser. Photo Credit: Bronxville Union Free School District
Bronxville School students built gingerbread houses during the annual Gingerbread House Making fundraiser on Dec. 13. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bronxville Union Free School District

Around Westchester Schools: Students Shine In Black Nativity, Concert At Iconic NYC Building

Students in a Westchester high school brought a Black Nativity to life, while another district's musicians played a holiday concert in the iconic MetLife Building to shine a light on the season.

The Dec. 10 Manhattan concert was in the building's main lobby, a highlight for the Irvington High School Wind Ensemble and Chorale. It was the annual Bernard Kaplan Memorial Music Program Concert Series and the local students played holiday classics.

The instrumentalists, under the direction of Debra McCumber, and singers, under the direction of Janet Gillespie, were hand-picked by Judith Kaplan, who arranges the concert in honor of her late husband.

“Our students work extremely hard to prepare, and we always draw a large crowd of people as we perform during one of the busiest time slots in the Met Life Building," said McCumber.

 “Carol of the Bells” by Mykola Leontovich and Peter Wilhousky, “Carols for Christmas” by John Cacavas, and “Jewish Folk Medley” arranged by Jack Bullock were highlights.

Black Nativity Fills House in Mount Vernon

Black Nativity came to life Dec. 19 starring students from the performing and visual arts magnet program at Thornton High School in Mount Vernon.

The culminating performance capped the district-wide Winter Showcase which opened with holiday classics performed by band and orchestra students. 

Black Nativity was the first showcase in the history of the program’s five-year existence that featured the entire school in performances both onstage and behind the scenes. 

The 126 musical theatre students in grades 6 to 11 made up the choir and delivered three musical performances; the 100 dance majors were featured in seven dance performances that celebrated the spirit of Black Nativity, and the acting majors provided the thread that connected the narrative of the story.

The theatrical students will next perform on Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. for the Talents Show: Mount Vernon's Got Talent II, in the Experimental Theatre.

And there is an open house on Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m. for families with children entering grades 6 to 9 in September 2020 who are interested in performing and visual arts magnet program.

Both events will be held at Nellie Thornton High School at 121 South 6th Ave. in Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon School District has more than 8,000 students in 16 schools.

Gingerbread House Project Builds Homes In New Rochelle

Children in Bronxville School build gingerbread houses but not for a treat, their confection project was a fundraiser for the Habitat for Humanity Club on Dec. 13. The effort raised over $1,000 for the Fuller Center for Housing of Greater New York City, based in New Rochelle.

“This year’s event exceeded all previous years,” said social studies teacher Chris Doyle, who advises the club with math teacher Zhanna Cabrera. 

“It is an event that really brings the school community together, as high school students get to work with and know the elementary students in a setting where they have fun and raise money for a good cause.”

The money will go toward supplies for building homes for low-income residents in the area.