Sounds of the season: Niskayuna students perform to raise funds for music program

Monday evening, December 14th, 2015, at the Union Café, on Upper Union Street in Schenectady, Niskayuna High School students dressed in Victorian attire to perform for local residents. The students walked the streets, performing for residents, asking for donations to benefit Niskayuna Friends and Music. Groups included Studio Singers, Bel Canto Voices and Student Instrumentalists. Olivia Canavan, 17-year-old Senior (far right) performed with fellow students.Monday evening, December 14th, 2015, at the Union Café, on Upper Union Street in Schenectady, Niskayuna High School students dressed in Victorian attire to perform for local residents. The students walked the streets, performing for residents, asking for donations to benefit Niskayuna Friends and Music. Groups included Studio Singers, Bel Canto Voices and Student Instrumentalists. Olivia Canavan, 17-year-old Senior (far right) performed with fellow students.
BY KATE BUNSTER

Gazette Reporter

SCHENECTADY — On Dec. 14, members of the Niskayuna High School Studio Singers, Bel Canto Voices and Student Instrumentalists took to the floor of Union Cafe in Schenectady for their Caroling for Cash event, singing holiday favorites such as “Silent Night,” “Silver Bells,” “Oh Holy Night” and “Carol of The Bells.”

Even though the weather outside was frightful, the community still came to support Niskayuna Friends of Music. The money raised will go directly back to the music program to provide students with unique opportunities such as bringing in guests and future performances at Proctors.

The boys and girls were dressed in Victorian garb, and their voices rang throughout the room.
As director Christina Pizzino-Catalano led the group, a little girl from the crowd pretended to conduct next to her.

“We do ‘Silent Night’ every year,” she said. “I’m sure you can hear why!”

Usually performed on the patio of the cafe, it was moved inside this time due to the rain. Some of the crowd had to listen from the screen room of the cafe. But parents and friends grinned from ear-to-ear as they listened to the songs. When the chorus began singing “Come All Ye Faithful,” some of the crowd joined in.

Niskayuna Friends of Music was started in 1961 by Wendell Phillips and has served to enhance the music department in the district. As a volunteer organization, it relies on events such as Caroling For Cash to “foster the music education, performance and enjoyment of the students of the Niskayuna school district.”