May 24, 2005 > A night for music
A night for music
It began with surprise visits by Newark Educational Foundation (NEF) directors on April 29 to winners of the first Educators of the Year awards. This year's celebration culminated on a melodious evening, Thursday, May 19, at the Newark Pavilion. Bob Marshall, foundation president, opened the evening's festivities explaining that this year the emphasis was on music programs because they "have a positive cognitive influence on performance in many subjects as well as other social benefits."
The city of Newark has pledged $150,000 per year for school years 2004-05 and 2005-06 and NEF has accepted a challenge to continue and increase this funding in future years. Master of Ceremonies, Mayor Dave Smith spoke of the unique partnership between the city of Newark and its schools, saying that the evening was "the beginning of something special." A strategic plan, devised by city, school and community members envisioned a foundation as a school resource and it has now become a reality.
Winning educators, chosen from a highly qualified group of nominees, received Awards for Excellence in a variety of disciplines including English, Mathematics, Physical Education/Health, Science, Social Science, Visual/Performing Arts, Special Subject or Service, Educational Support, Community Partnership, Principal, Administrator and School of the Year.
The evening, dedicated to supporting music in Newark schools, would have been barren without music, so interspersed between award presentations, the crowd sang, hummed and toe-tapped to the beat of two special - only in Newark - bands. Conductor Keven Hanson led an elementary school-age band in several selections including a humorous rendition of "Along Came a Spider" (complete with a spider that appeared to focus on reaching the conductor's baton), the banana boat song ("Day-O") and a world premier performance of "Peter Drum."
In danger of being upstaged, the world famous Yowza Band composed of city staff and administrators enlisted the help of Michelle Morrison, daughter of Yowza member Captain Lance Morrison (Newark Police Department) to captivate the audience with a solo of "Crying over You." The Yowzas, dressed in black, some sporting snazzy ties, a rakish hat, "Dizzy Gillespie" trumpet, blazing conga drums, trombone, keyboard, electric guitars and rhythmic accompaniments, rocked the house with renditions of "Just my imagination" and "Margaritaville."
The mayor, in his usual exuberant manner, exclaimed that he is looking forward to a Newark Marching Band - 100 members strong - marching in the Newark Days Parade sometime in the future. He added, "That would be a Yowza!" In the meantime, the evening proved that music is alive and well in Newark.
Award for Excellence Nominees and Winners*:
Melanie Alkire, Hilda Aguilar*, Steve Barber, David Bible, Dr. John Bernard, Jennifer Boyd, Helen Bredderman*, Carol Broad, Carol Burkhardt, Chiqui Cappa, Barbara Casey, Bob Chamberlin*, Jodi Croce, Elizabeth Davidge, Jonathan Ferrer, Jacob Goldsmith, Michael Gordon*, Cathlin Goudling, Karen Graves, Brenda Griffin*, JoLynn Hanke, Valerie Hinson, Matt Horning*, Katherine Jones, Genevieve Junette*, Katherine Keleher*, Henry Kuge, Nancy Kuei, Melinda Lasit*, Rosa Leon, Marge Leonard, Kathy Martinez, Milani Elementary*, Selynda Miller, James Murray, City of Newark*, Deborah Platko, Priscilla Ruiz, Betsy Siebel, Raminder Sidhu, Karen Stevenson, Monica Strand, Adell Swanson, Rich Swift, Kelley Valles, Anjuna Wagner, Roxanne Whalen, Trish Wilson*, Lilia Woo, Wells Fargo Bank, Andrew Ziegler, Janet Zutler.