Celebrating Music & Art at Riverbank Park

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    Ann St dancers

    Hundreds of residents joined in a celebration of Music and Art at Riverbank Park on Saturday, May 10. This was the 10th year that Music & Art Day has been sponsored by SPARK Friends of Riverbank Park. Mayor Luis Quintana was an unexpected but welcome guest, chatting with families, studying student artwork, and supporting the event.

    Many families with young children took advantage of a variety of free art activities in the early part of the day, including decorating a flower pot and planting seeds, sand art, painting flags, and more. Volunteers from the Ironbound Community Corporation, SPARK, East Side High School, and the Newark Public Library Van Buren Branch pitched in to make the morning fun.

    Hundreds of brightly colored art works graced easels throughout the park. Schools throughout the neighborhood had contributed their artwork for the Youth Art Exhibit. Kayla Liger from Ann St. School and Britney Ajila from Oliver St. School were the winners in the competition for this year’s Program Cover

    In the afternoon, the audience enjoyed a variety of performances on the big stage. The show began with the Wilson Ave. Band and guitar soloists, under the direction of Band Leader Dziemian, and then two dynamic soloists from East Side High School: Isablea Sigueira and Larissa Ferreira. Next was the Wilson Ave. Chorus, under the direction of their teacher Tami Ferreira. The Ann St. School Dancers, led by Mr. Saquicela, electrified the audience with their dancing and brilliantly colorful costumes. The chorus from Lafayette St. accompanied on simultaneous piano and horn by their director Mr. Hast, sang a tribute to Nelson Mandela. (Due to a sudden rain storm, the program was cut short, so that the Alborada & Andurina Dancers of Club Espana Dancer and A Eira Portuguese folkloric group, were not able to perform, but will be back next year).

    “We want to thank our partners, the Newark Public Schools art and music teachers and principals, the Van Buren St. Library, the Ironbound Community Corporation, the Essex County Parks Department, the performers, and all the dedicated volunteers who worked hard all day to make this event happen, and Councilman Augusto Amador who has supported this event by providing the drinks for ten years,” said Joseph Rendeiro, retired principal from Hawkins St. School, who was the MC for the afternoon performance. “We also want to thank the major funders for SPARK’s Cultural Arts Programs – PNC Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural Affairs. Their support helps us to bring this enjoyable day to families here.”

    Music & Art Day is just the first of a series of Cultural Arts events to be held at Riverbank Park. For more information you can go to: www.riverbankpark.org.