2009-06-17 / Schools

FPAC showcase a hit at Howell High School

BY LAUREN CIRAULO Staff Writer

HOWELL — A fitting rendition of "The Body Electric" from the movie musical "Fame" capped off an evening of song, dance and other artistic endeavors at Howell High School's 25th anniversary FPAC Showcase.

The event, which brought together all programs of study within the Freehold Regional High School District's Fine and Performing Arts Center (FPAC), was highlighted by the appearance of several alumni.

"It was nice to include them and see them up on stage for the finale," FPAC Supervisor Daniel Green said in reference to the alumni. "Several people talked about how good it felt to be back at Howell. We even had about five or six alumni from the first graduating class in 1985."

The former FPAC students were invited to return and introduce performances related to their creative forte, which included music technology, dance, musical theater, acting, video and voice. Notable alumni included Miss New Jersey 2007 Amy Palumbo and Daytime Emmy Award winner Tom Pelphrey.

"This program showed me what I wanted to do with my life and showed me what to do with it," said Pelphrey upon introducing a video montage of claymation and stop-motion. "It taught me how to succeed."

The event began with a video introduction of the current FPAC teachers which resembled the opening sequence of the NBC-TV show "30 Rock." The teachers were then pictured today and, using video editing, were morphed into versions of themselves 25 years ago. The night proceeded to showcase the work of many students in the program from all levels of study.

"We viewed it as a celebration," said Green. "It's important that, for one night, they all come together as artists."

The dance routines, choreographed by teachers Lisa Twamley and Melanie Kramer, were mostly ballet-oriented and included pieces titled "The Might of Rome," "Supported Shapes" and "Wanting." Less traditional performances were "Untouched," choreographed by FPAC alumna Justine Capria, and "#?4+*%?!," choreographed by Level 4 dance students.

The acting segments, directed by teacher Stephen Kazakoff, borrowed excerpts from plays such as "Spike Heels," "Mary's Wedding" and "The Prisoner of Second Avenue."

Musical theater and vocal pieces included "Seize the Day" from "Newsies," "Come Look at the Freaks" from "Side Show," "The Wizard and I" from "Wicked," "If Only" from "The Little Mermaid," "I Believe" from "Altar Boys," "Serenade" from "The Student Prince" and "Glory Days" from "Glory Days." These performances were largely accompanied by voice teacher Regina McAllen and consisted of extensive costuming and theatrics.

The event also included several original music and video technology projects by FPAC students such as music videos, short films, music compositions and a video-to-live crossover performance entitled "FPAC Interact."

"My favorite performances of the event were the film pieces," said Green. "I was very impressed by the high quality of them."

The pieces performed were from throughout the year, with students preparing for as few as five rehearsals to as long as five months. The students were required to audition and the staff of FPAC was responsible for choosing the best performances to include in the event.

According to Green, FPAC alumni had returned for the showcase's 20th anniversary five years ago, but to a lesser extent. He said that after the May 28 event, students have been clamoring to include alumni every year from now on.

"The students were very responsive to the alumni coming back, but we have a lot of alumni," he said. "It was certainly a fabulous night, but that's something that can only happen every once in a while."

Contact Lauren Ciraulo at howell@gmnews.com.

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