December 3, 2015

Greece teen sings at Gala Pops

Mark Mitrano
Mark Mitrano plans to pursue a career as a performer. A sophomore at Greece Athena High School, Mitrano has been performing as a singer since he was five years old. Now 16, Mitrano is preparing to perform with the 200-voice Festival High School Chorale at the RPO's Gala Holiday Pops December 18-20.

"My experience with the RPO will open up many opportunities for me, as well as prepare me for the future," said Mitrano. "The raw professionalism that is taught is an invaluable asset I will use in my future endeavors."

For more than 20 years, Gala Holiday Pops has included a performance by the Festival High School Chorale. The Chorale is the brainchild of Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, who dreamed of a large chorus onstage with the RPO that celebrates gifted young vocalists. Participation is open to all high school vocal students in a seven-county region, and students are recommended to the choir by their teachers. This is Mitrano's second year performing with the Chorale; he was recommended by his teacher Kathryn Dyer, vocal music director at Greece Athena High School.

"I had heard rave reviews from other students in my school who had participated and I was eager to experience it for myself," said Mitrano. "What I love about performing with the RPO is the overall experience---meeting other students, actual orchestra members, and working with their fabulous conductor. It’s just a pleasure to be with people who have as much of a drive and passion for music as I do!"

The Chorale is co-directed by educators Harold McAulliffe and Amy Story, who have a combined 85 years of experience as music educators in our area! While the Chorale will sing approximately half of this month's Gala Pops program, Mitrano is most looking forward to singing Jeff Tyzik's arrangement of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.

"It's upbeat and energetic and it encourages people to be filled with joy and feel what Christmas is really about." he said. "My favorite memory from last year’s Gala Holiday Pops performance was the choir rehearsals. Ms. Story and Mr. McAulliffe were so friendly and supportive with their welcoming teaching style--especially Ms. Story’s beautiful Silent Night a capella piece."

If you go:
Gala Holiday Pops
Friday, December 18, 8 PM
Saturday, December 19, 2 & 8 PM
Sunday, December 20, 2 PM
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre
Tickets start at $22

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