|Celia Cruz Bronx H.S. of Music Choir after their big victory. (Photo courtesy Wildlife Conservation Society)|
The Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music Show Choir took home the title of “Best Choir in New York City” at the Bronx Zoo's inaugural SING! for Wildlife competition on Dec. 30. Sponsored by the Hard Rock Cafe, the event featured 250 students from seven New York City schools.
“Besides being a wonderful opportunity to perform,” said Lisa Gwasda, Celia Cruz's choir director. “The students were able to see that all the hard work they put in to develop their repertoire, technique, and musicianship really does pay off. It's a wonderful thing to get our new small school on the map as performers.”
For the final round of competition the 22 performing choir members choose a 15 minute medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber-composed songs, including “The Theme from Phantom of the Opera” and “Don't Cry for me Argentina.” Each group was evaluated on originality, performance, talent, and audience reaction.
Along with the crown for being best in the Big Apple, Celia Cruz (one of several small schools on the Walton Campus) took home a $2,500 grant for its choir program and the opportunity to perform next month at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, where the school's name will be prominently displayed on the concert venue's marquee.
Since the big win, the choir has had constant performance requests and will be performing at the Bronx's New York Botanical Garden in March.
“This is what we came to do and it's great to be rewarded for it,” said Gwasda.