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Group to perform first concert

December 7, 2016
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

A plethora of music will fill the Sanibel School cafetorium as the Seahorse Chorale take audience members on a "Journey Through Music," during the first ever Seahorse Chorale Spectacular.

"We are very excited to present the premier Seahorse Chorale Spectacular," The Sanibel School Music Director Joey Giangreco said. " It's going to be a very exciting show and one that I know the kids and I have greatly enjoyed working on. We hope the audience enjoys it as well."

The spectacular will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, and Friday, Dec. 9. Tickets are free for Sanibel School students and $5 for all other attendees. The money raised will go towards the Sanibel School Music Department to fund functions that take place throughout the year.

Article Photos

The Sanibel School Music Director Joey Giangreco and the Seahorse Chorale practice for their big performance, Seahorse Chorale Spectacular.


Seventh grade student Johnny Jensen said they have worked very hard and he believes they are ready for the performance.

"I just like singing and Mr. G. is a great instructor. I just wanted to improve my skills," he said of why he chose choir as an elective.

With his improved skills, Jensen auditioned for the All State Middle School Choir and was accepted.

"He will be a member of the Florida All State Middle School Choir. That's a huge accomplishment," Giangreco said.

Each student has a solo - alone, or in a small group during the performance.

Jensen said his favorite part of the performance is his solo act - "Brown Eyed Girl."

To make sure the students excel, Giangreco has worked with each student individually for about an hour after school.

"It gives me a chance to work with them on a more individual basis, teaching them the repertoire and their own techniques and what they need to work on as a vocalist and musician as well," he said.

Jensen said working with Giangreco helped in improving his tone and his vibrato.

Since Lilly Doster, 6th grade student, had a love for singing and acting, she chose to take the Seahorse Chorale elective. In working with her teacher after school, they discovered her original solo was too hard, so another song was chosen.

"I think he helped me a lot with my tone and my pitch with the song. The song kind of changed once he helped," Doster said about her song "Don't Cry Out Loud." "Mr. G. is a great teacher."

Seventh grade student Elaina Suslick said the time after school with Giangreco helped her sing the song better due to the tips he provided.

"I have to sing higher with the song I am singing. I thought I had to sing it in a different way than he told me, so that helped me. It made it easier to sing," she said of "Piece by Piece." "It's challenging in its own ways. There are some parts that are easy to sing, and some that are harder. His goal for our individual songs challenged us to sing better."

In addition to the Seahorse Chorale, the Steel Drumming Band will do a performance as the opening act tomorrow and Friday.

The Seahorse Chorale is a brand new choir, with this year being the first it was offered for The Sanibel School middle school students. Fourteen students make up the Seahorse Chorale, which is separated into three sopranos, five altos and six baritones.

"This was a class that I personally was very excited to bring to the school. I just think it's such a wonderful experience for students to be apart of their education. There is so much fun we can have in the group," Giangreco said. "In a choir every member is vital to the success of the choir, so it just doesn't rely on one person, so it's a team effort. Everyone is crucial to that success."

Another benefit of the choir is the exposure the students have to a variety of genres, which will be featured in the spectacular. The repertoires will include American folk songs, spirituals, songs from around the world, songs from musicals and popular music.

"Exposing them to different genres gives them a chance to at one minute sing their favorite song on the radio. The next minute sing a song from a country they have never been to before, but still have a chance to listen to," Giangreco said. "At the same time getting a chance to sing songs from their own country, America, that they may not have known as much, but are important in terms of our history and musical history as well."

The Seahorse Choral Spectacular has been in the works since last year. He said he had fun preparing the program because it provided him with the opportunity to expose both the school community and the community at large with an assortment of music.

Music has always been an inspiration for Giangreco for as long as he can remember due to his mom constantly playing music when he was growing up.

"I loved to sing and loved music. I was very excited to join the choir when I was in the fourth grade and just enjoyed it ever since throughout elementary school, middle school and high school. It's just been a great experience," he said.

From an early age, Giangreco always knew he wanted to make music his career. The second year music teacher at The Sanibel School attended Florida Gulf Coast University as a vocal music education major with a concentration in chorale studies.

"There I got exposure to a lot of exciting courses and performing in choirs too," Giangreco said, adding that he was in the University Choir and Chamber Choir. "My junior year in Chamber Choir we had the opportunity to perform oversees on a performance tour of Europe. We went to Austria and the Czech Republic. That was a great experience. Just to perform in the historic cathedrals, chapels and churches that were out there was incredible. To hear the acoustics that were in those places, there was nothing like it. To hear that sound and to know you were performing in places where famous composers like Mozart and others had performed was absolutely incredible."

The almost two weeks oversees was life changing for Giangreco. When returning, his senior year he had a student internship at Three Oaks Elementary School and Cypress Lake High School before his first job out of college started at The Sanibel School last year.



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