Four local teenagers with exceptional musical ability will join the New York Tenors for the Magic of Christmas Concert that will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Investors Bank Performing Arts Center, 519 Hurffville-Cross Keys Road, Sewell.
The New York Tenors are three professional singers who will perform in South Jersey a few days before their Carnegie Hall Christmas concert: Andy Cooney, Daniel Rodriguez and Christopher Macchio. Performing with them in Sewell will be comedian Jim Labriola.
The Magic of Christmas concert — featuring the tenors and four Catholic high school students — is the major fundraiser for tuition assistance for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Camden. Proceeds benefit the South Jersey Scholarship Fund.
Patrick “Patch” Glennan is a 15-year-old sophomore at Gloucester Catholic High School who plays the Irish fiddle and learns music by ear. He has been a member of the Next Generation of Irish Music for eight years.
Patch sets aside several weeks every year to study music in festivals or music schools. He has performed in his school plays and at many traditional Irish music sessions, including Ceili Dances for the Philadelphia Irish Society, South Jersey Irish Society, and the New Castle County Irish Society.
In August Patch qualified to compete against more than 25 other contestants in the Fleadh Cheoil Music Festival in Ireland.
Gloucester Catholic’s principal Ed Beckett said Patch is a serious student of both the sciences and the Celtic fiddle. He notes that Patch takes joy in solving math equations and conducting lab experiments, as well as setting an audience’s feet in motion to a jig or a reel.“We are blessed to have him as part of our Gloucester Catholic family,” Beckett added.
Ryan Gattini is a 17-year old senior at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon and was accepted into the Tisch School of Performing Arts for the 2015 Summer Arts Program. Ryan is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and is co-captain of the Holy Spirit High School Pep Band. When Ryan was 15, Gibson Guitar Company asked him to be the demo performer for their exclusive instruments and gear.
Enzo Ronchi is a 17-year-old senior at Holy Spirit High School and has been the leader of the Holy Spirit Pep Band for the past two years. In addition to being a vocalist, Enzo plays several instruments including bass, drums and ukulele. Enzo is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and was student director for the Annual Spring Musical in 2015. He is the lead bass player for the rhythm section at all liturgical functions at Holy Spirit.
Justin Zhong is an 18-year-old senior at Holy Spirit High School where he is the leading pianist. In addition to classical piano, Justin studies jazz piano, composition and conducting. He began playing piano in fifth grade, but stopped because of heavy academic pressure in China. When he came to the United States, his interest in the piano was renewed. At Holy Spirit, Justin is the president of Tri-M Music Honor Society.
At the 2014 Rising Stars Competition at the Algonquin Arts, Justin placed in the top 10 in classical music performance. He spent this summer in his homeland of China and placed third in his age group at the eighth Shanghai International Youth Piano Competition. Justin was also invited to give a concert at the Shanghai Symphony Hall.
Claire Collins, head of the music department at Holy Spirit, said Bishop Dennis Sullivan requested that a particular song be played when he celebrated Holy Spirit’s opening Mass in September. It was “Winter Palace” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which had been performed at the annual spring concert and was transcribed by Ryan and Enzo for three instruments.
“Audience response was fantastic,” Collins said. Consequently, they will perform it at the annual fundraiser for tuition assistance.
The trio from Holy Spirit became a quartet when Patch was asked to join the group.
“The four of them are very dedicated as well as talented young men. It has been a pleasure to train them and to have a bishop so dedicated to Catholic education,” she said.
Tickets for the Magic of Christmas concert are on sale through Ticketmaster or through the Investors Bank Performing Arts Center box office, or go to http://goo.gl/MkNsI0