Tune-ing into the Sacred Concert

The November 8th Sacred Concert, put on every year by the choir, and this year accompanied by the orchestra, is a concert in which students and families can praise God through voices and various instruments. In accordance with this year’s theme of meditation on scripture, every song was picked with scripture verses in mind. 

Mrs. Beth Wolfe, Strings Teacher, explained, “Music is a God-given gift, and a gift we should give away in the spirit of healing the world. When you play good music that has a sacred base, you get in touch with the creative energy of God.”

For many, the sacred concert is a chance to take a break from the busyness of their everyday life, and dedicate a moment to be grateful for what God has given us. Ms. Kelsey Wessels, Upper and Middle School choir teacher, said, “The sacred concert is special because it is not only a chance to celebrate the music God has given us, but to also celebrate Him.”

The orchestra plays while being conducted by Mrs. Beth Wolfe.

When it came to the choir and orchestra performing together, both Wolfe and Wessels loved that they had the opportunity to do so. 

“One of the positive aspects of playing together,” said Wolfe, “is that we can learn a lot from each other. The orchestra can learn how singers emote from their music, and the choir can learn from us about precision and what it takes to play together on a string instrument.” 

Having both the choir and orchestra play together was not only a special experience for these teachers, but also a great moment for the students. 

Nathan Ward, ‘24, a choir student, commented, “It was a really neat experience because it created a strong sound that was beautiful.”

Additionally, strings student Alyssa Condon, ‘23, enjoyed both playing with the choir and having the audience sing along.

Some highlights from the sacred concert were when the choir performed, ”Look at the World” by John Rutter, and when the orchestra played “Fantasia” by Tomas Tallis. In addition to this, there was a beautiful piece sung by the choir while two violinists played along. 

Wessels reflected, “The song ‘My Shepherd Will Supply My Need’ had a six part vocal split, so when the string soloists played at the same time the choir sang, it held together fantastically.” 

Following the concert, Wessels and Wolfe felt incredibly proud of their students, due to their hard work paying off. 

Wolfe commented, “Every concert is a surprise and every concert gives more than I thought it would. The choir and orchestra did so many things well that it’s a good base to have as our main goal and as a measuring stick for future concerts.” 

The Sacred Concert was a great experience for both the choir and orchestra, and they look forward to doing it again in years to come.

Honoring our Veterans Through Music

How can one truly define what we owe veterans? At the beginning of this year’s Patriotic concert, Symphonic Band Director, Mr. Thomas Jones, quoted, “A veteran–whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserved–is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including his or her life.” 

On Thursday November 10th, the Providence Academy Symphonic Band, along with Mr. Jones, took the PAC stage for a night to remember all who have served in the military. The Patriotic Concert has become an annual tradition during the week of Veterans’ Day, and is a rewarding time to recognize veterans and their contributions to the United States. 

The night began with a prayer and introduction by Headmaster, Dr. Todd Flanders, thanking all of our veterans for their attendance and for their service to our country. The concert was filled with entertaining songs such as, “A Nation’s Prayer”, “Stars and Stripes Forever”, and “Thunderbolt”. The concert concluded with a fan favorite, “American Heroes”. As the song played, veterans in the audience were encouraged to stand when their branch’s song was played, to be recognized for their service. Finally, during the last section of “American Heroes”, the band played “America the Beautiful” and the audience beautifully sang along. 

Providence Academy believes that it is very important to put on this concert every year. Jones conveyed, “We are reaching a time in our country’s history where patriotic concerts are becoming less popular and this ideal of nationalism and patriotism is being lost. I think it is so important that we at PA preserve our heritage.” 

Jones went on to say, “We at PA are not endorsing one political party or another. What we are doing is saying that we are unified as a country and no matter what challenges we face, we are going to need to face them together.”

PA parent and Army Veteran, Katie Heubschen, remarked, “I am so honored that Providence takes the time to recognize veterans, and it is also very special to look around and see others who have served.”

The concert was a perfect way to celebrate the exceptional men and women who served our country and to show our true appreciation for their sacrifices.

Lower Schoolers Treated to Early Halloween Fun

On Halloween, the Lower School had a fun time attending Trunk-or-Treat, an event put on by Providence’s chapter of the National Honor Society. Although this tradition is fairly new, starting just three years ago, it has become extremely popular, giving Lower and Upper School students an opportunity to dress up and interact. 

“This is my favorite way to spread Halloween cheer,” exclaimed Grace Counts, ‘23, who dressed up as Marshall from PAW Patrol for her cohort’s “fired-up trunk.” 

Julia Holton, ’24, Kira Cmiel, ’23, and Avery Lampe, ’24, hand out candy to lower schoolers at Trunk or Treat, in front of their “Mystery Machine.” PAW Photo Credit: Katarina Greenwood.

NHS cohorts had a blast decorating their cars, with different themes such as, McDonald’s, PAW Patrol, Star Wars, Sports, Minions, Lightning McQueen, Scooby Doo, and Charlie Brown. 

Counts commented, “I love seeing the creativity in everyone’s cars because some people went all out and others just went to bring joy to the Lower Schoolers.”

The Lower School students loved interacting with the Upper Schoolers, especially getting candy from them. “My favorite candy was the suckers,” exclaimed Everett Jones, ‘35. 

After the event was over, each Lower School class voted on which decorated car was their favorite. The most popular cars were the McDonalds drive-thru and Charlie Brown. 

Bridget Healy, ‘23, President of NHS, said, “My car’s theme was McDonald’s drive-thru. We thought that McDonald’s would be a fan favorite among the Lower Schoolers.”

Mary McGinty, ’23, works the McDonald’s drive-thru, the Lower Schoolers’ favorite NHS car. PAW Photo Credit: Katarina Greenwood.

Trunk-or-Treat is more than just a little event. It brings joy to both the lower school and the upper school. 

Healy added, “Trunk-or-treat is a great way for Upper School students to bond with Lower School students at Providence Academy. It is a great way to connect with our roots because we all came from the Lower School and it reminds us of our childhood.”

PA Upper School is Pumped for Pumpkins

For more than ten years, the Providence Academy Upper School students have competed against each other in their Houses every fall to decorate the best-looking pumpkin! It is not only a fun fall activity, but it is also a great way for students to bond with their Housemates. This year, each House was challenged to create and decorate a scarecrow that looked like their House advisor in addition to decorating a pumpkin.

In the Upper School, students are grouped together into Houses, and will remain in that House throughout their high school years. There are separate Houses for both boys and girls, consisting of mixed grades. They meet every day for ten minutes before first period, and also every Wednesday during white period for bonding and group activities. House is a great way to meet students from different grade levels, and its ultimate goal is to build a strong community at Providence. 

Mrs. Jendro, Upper School religion teacher, house advisor, and student spiritual director, echoed this, saying, “House gives opportunities you don’t normally have to build friendships across grades.”

The pumpkin decorating contest has been a tradition for a long time at PA, and it is a greatly anticipated event by students. This year, the student House leaders decided on a Sci-Fi theme for the competition, so each House was challenged to come up with futuristic ideas revolving around space or aliens for their pumpkin. 

Brandon Sattler, ’24, Nicholas Damberg, ’23, and Bennett Hilberg, ’24, members of Mu House, skillfully carve their pumpkin. PAW Photo Credit: Julia Holton and Gabby Rampetsreiter

Upper School Administrative Assistant Mrs. Gregg, Upper School Director Mr. Jaeger, and Upper School Dean Mr. McElroy judged the pumpkins based on imagination, creativity, and adherence to the sci-fi theme. The scarecrows were judged based on creativity and resemblance to each House’s advisor. 

ETA house wins the pumpkin decorating contest with their creation of ET Phone Home. PAW Photo Credit: Julia Holton and Gabby Rampetsreiter.

Mrs. Gregg loves judging every year, and this year was no exception. “I am so amazed every year by the creativity and artistic abilities of the students,” she commented.

Students consistently come up with creative ideas for the competition, but the best of this year included Eta House’s E.T. themed pumpkin and Beta House’s scarecrow, which was decorated to resemble Middle and Upper School English teacher Mrs. Teresa Claypool. With her face pasted to the top of the scarecrow’s frame and a perfect cardigan to match, the scarecrow was bound to win first place in its category.

Eta House member Clare Kistler was a major contributor to her House’s pumpkin, as she applied her artistic abilities to lead her House to victory. “I have taken art classes my whole life and have always enjoyed drawing and painting. It’s how I spend the majority of my free time. I’m currently in Studio Art 3 and really enjoy learning more. Mr. Santer is a wonderful teacher,” she remarked.

Members of Gamma house, Fiona Foster, ’25, Lily Regensburger, ’24, Elsbeth O’Connor, ’25, and Ellie Gagerman, ’25, work hard to carve their pumpkin. PAW Photo Credit: Julia Holton and Gabby Rampetsreiter

Beta House leader Kira Cmiel, ‘23, was eager to win this year’s contest. “Pumpkin decorating is a very fun activity that brings all of the House members together each fall. We looked forward to it this year,” she added.

House points were awarded to the House which decorated the best pumpkin and the best scarecrow. Throughout the school year, there will be many other opportunities for Houses to earn points, and at the end of the year, the House with the most points will win a prize.

No matter who wins each year, the pumpkin and scarecrow decorating contest will always be a great way for House leaders and members to have fun, get to know each other better, and demonstrate their creativity.

Generations of Love

On October 13th and 14th, Providence Academy hosted the annual Grandparents’ and Special Persons’ Day. Over these two days, PA welcomed nearly 800 guests to campus between lower, middle, and upper school. Although the days were still filled with tours and time spent with grandparents, some significant changes were made to the event this year.

Mrs. Nancy Galgano, Lower School Director, ensured that grandparents had time in the classroom and a chance to see how specialist teachers with classes such as Music, French, and Spanish worked with students. This way guests were able to experience a real classroom setting, and also had time for photo opportunities with their grandchildren in a designated photo area.

Sr. Donohue, Lower School Spanish Teacher, shows grandparents and special persons what language skills kindergarteners have been learning so far this year.

Mrs. Jennifer Newman, Assistant Director of Development, shared, “Our student body is growing, and yet PA wants to continue the tradition of grandparents experiencing a segment of the school day with their grandchildren. So, many of the changes were made to help give grandparents and special persons a wonderful classroom experience with their grandchild or student in a way that allows them to be comfortable.”

To entertain their guests, Mrs. Amy Hohenecker’s fourth grade class presented an acrostic poem that they had written describing why they love their grandparents, and handed out gifts. They later showed what they have been working on in music by singing some songs and performing on their recorders. 

Jack Huegel, ’24, with his grandfather, at a special interest session led by Upper School Physics Teacher, Mr. Plucinski.

Guests came from near and far to celebrate this memorable day. All the way from New York, Marie Scinicariello, grandmother of Audrey Scinicariello, ‘31, shared,“It is wonderful to be in such a beautiful school and to see that Audrey has such a lovely teacher. Just being here is a blessing.”

The following day, the upper school had their own day to celebrate their grandparents and special adults. This year, Mr. Jaeger and Mrs. Gregg brought back an “interest” session opportunity for grandchildren and grandparents to attend together and then ended the day with a Fine Arts concert including Strings, Choir and Band.  

Student Mary Smyth, ‘24, reflected, “I think it’s important to celebrate Grandparents’ Day because grandparents are always asking how school is and wondering what you are doing. This way they can get to see it for themselves and live a day in your life.”

When students of all ages were asked what their favorite part of the day was, the overall response was getting to spend time with their grandparents. Newman added, “Grandparents and special persons have a deep love for their grandchild or student. It is a joy and a privilege to provide the opportunity to celebrate it.”