Celia Cruz HS Students Will Be 'Singing for Sondheim'
October 27, 2010
Three students from the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music will perform at one of the world's most prestigious venues, the landmark Carnegie Hall, in a tribute to composer Stephen Sondheim. Baldwin Peña, 15, Sacha Martinez, 17, and Jarrett Parker, 17, will take part in the musical gala, being held on November 19 to celebrate the legendary composer's 80th birthday.
The trio will join their choral teacher, Lisa Gwasda, in performing with the Essential Voices USA, a vocal ensemble, and the New York Pops Orchestra to honor the composer of musicals like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music, and Sweeney Todd. They will perform such Sondheim classics as "Sunday" (from Sunday in the Park with George), "Old Friends" (from Merrily We Roll Along) and "Getting Married Today" (from Company).
"When I told my mom about the concert, she asked 'Can I get a ticket?'" recalls Martinez with a laugh.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," says Gwasda, who performs regularly with Essential Voices USA. The choir's noted musical director, Judith Clurman, asked Gwasda if she had any students from her program that could join the chorus. Peña, Martinez, and Parker—all vocal majors—volunteered.
"Singing at such an event and in such a venue—Carnegie Hall—this is something that you remember for your entire life," says Dr. William Rodriguez, principal of the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music, the only New York City public school to be associated with the Sondheim concert. Opened in 2003, the school combines a rigorous academic program with high-quality music instruction, which the students receive with assistance from the Lehman College Music Department.