Florida School of the Arts presents Musical Theatre Vocal Company concert

FloArts musical students performing

FloArts musical students performing

FloArts musical students performing

The Florida School of the Arts will present one showing of its Musical Theatre Vocal Company concert on Sunday, December 6 at 2:30 p.m. on the School’s main stage located on the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College. For those looking for a taste of Broadway at no cost, this concert is definitely it.

The Vocal Company, a required course for all musical theatre majors at FloArts, focuses on the development of the skills necessary to function as a member of a musical theater ensemble at the professional level, with sight-reading, choral harmonization and choreography. “At every stage, the students are pushed to assimilate new material as quickly and accurately as possible and then to execute that material at the highest level of which they are capable,” explained faculty member and MTVC director Kandie Smith, D.M.A.

The choreography for the Vocal Company’s selections is a combination of original and derivative material. Highly talented and knowledgeable students Willie Beaton II and Joseph Grosso have choreographed selections for the concert in styles similar to that of the great masters to whom the original works are credited. “It is important for our students to experience and perform iconic choreography created by masters, so Willie and Joseph have choreographed these medleys in styles as similar to the originals as possible,” said Smith. “In some cases, the movements are the same, while in others they are only similar in style.”

Beaton, of Jacksonville, who will earn an Associate of Science degree in Music Theatre Technology next June is a second-year musical theatre student who attended the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. An excellent singer and dancer, Beaton won first place in his category at the 2015 North Florida District National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Student Voice Competition. Beaton’s choreography for “West Side Story” for the MTVC concert includes selections such as “I Feel Pretty,” “Cool” and “America.” Beaton is also the student choreographer for Irving Berlin’s “America,” which will include the hits “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “Always” and “Blue Skies.” Additionally, Beaton is the MTVC dance captain.

Like Beaton, Grosso will also receive an Associate of Science degree in Music Theatre Technology next June. Grosso, who is from Bradenton, earned honors in his category at the NATS Student Voice Competitions, winning second place for the North Florida District and first place at the Southeastern Regional NATS. He was also a semi-finalist for the National NATS Student Voice Competition in 2015. Grosso is actively involved at SJR State as the vice president of fellowship for Phi Theta Kappa and is a founding member and president of Delta Psi Omega, a theatrical honor fraternity. Grosso’s MTVC concert choreography includes a medley from “Guys and Dolls” with selections such as “Luck Be a Lady,” “Fugue for Tinhorns,” “Bushel and a Peck” and “If I Were a Bell.” Additionally, he is the student choreographer for “Rodgers and Hammerstein on Broadway,” which will include the well-known hit “The Sound of Music” along with “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” and “Do-Re-Mi.”

The Vocal Company includes: Corey Adams, Steven Austin, Kiersten Bartholomew, Willie Beaton ll, Olivia Bleak, Bella Carlsen, Yul Carrion, Savannah Faulkner, Ilana Gould, Gordia Hayes, Alicia Hill, Dillon Leone, Eduardo Marin, Crayton McBride, Pascale Molina, Libby Rodriguez, Leslie Seitz, Tareca Siplin, Emma Stimpson and Emerson Smith von Wiegen.

The sounds of FloTunes, a second branch of the Vocal Company with a more specialized focus on blend and artistry, will also delight the audience. Students are accepted into FloTunes based on their abilities and potential as elite singer/musicians, which requires strong sight-reading along with musicianship skills in combination with beautiful voices and proficient vocal techniques. Members of FloTunes learn sophisticated a cappella song arrangements that feature intricate harmonies, which will be heard on Dec. 6. Since its inception in 2014, FloTunes has made appearances at SJR State graduations and special events and is in frequent demand for community functions.
Choreographed by Grosso and directed by Professor Stephanie Walter-Masterson, FloTunes pieces “Moon River,” “Star Spangled Banner,” “Turn the Beat Around,” “Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours” will be performed by Kevin Beckam, Kassidy Canova, Austin Carroll, Caitlin Charrier, Joseph Grosso, Bella Guzman, Megan LeClair, Caitlin Sweeney and Kai Wilson.
Florida School of the Arts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year associate degree. The School serves the entire state of Florida and is located on the SJR State Palatka campus. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit the website at

Florida School of the Arts students rehearse for The Musical Theatre Vocal Company concert to be held December 6 at 2:30 p.m. on the main stage at the St. Johns River State College Palatka campus. FloTunes, a second branch of the Vocal Company with a more specialized focus on blend and artistry, will also perform.