SAINT PETER’S HALL OF SAINTS RETURNS
By: Jane Bornhorst, Our Parish Times, December 2021 Edition
From Saint Francis of Assisi to Saint Veronica, Patron Saint of Photography, holy saints dotted the blacktop at Saint Peter’s on November 2nd, when the school held its annual Hall of Saints in-person again after a hiatus in 2020.
Fourth graders in detailed costumes stood, six feet apart, with informative poster displays they made. They gave three-minute presentations on various saints, informing and delighting parents, grandparents, and guests with tales of the holy miracle-workers.
Blessed Virgin Mary held baby Jesus in her arms, Saint John the Baptist regaled listeners with the tale of his beheading, and Saint Patrick described how he had used a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people.
“I was so very proud of our fourth-grade students, who brought to life the good works of so many holy men and women, each of whom they exemplify here at school every day,” said Principal Vincent Spadoni, who is in his first year serving as the head of Saint Peter’s School.
The special event was the culmination of weeks of hard work done by the fourth graders, who researched the saints, made posters, created costumes, and wrote their presentations. The speeches included tidbits such as what each child most admired about his or her saint, and a question they would ask the saint if they could.
Mindy Saia, mother of two fourth graders, Capri and Marty, said she greatly enjoyed the Hall of Saints. “We were so surprised by the format of these presentations! It was a great idea, and each child did an amazing job presenting their saint. We learned so much from each of them.”
Students Rock On with Ensemble
As is the case with many schools, Saint Peter’s offers traditional band instruction during the school year. There is, however, another band offering which is a bit less conventional, and that comes in the form of the “Ensemble” program.
Back in 2015, Saint Peter’s choir director and music teacher Mr. Peter Nguyen came up with the idea of creating a band jam session that would allow students to play an alternate style of music in a group setting. Ensemble was born from that concept.
“The ensemble group was formed to offer students, who play instruments that are not traditionally found in a school band, a chance to play along with others,” said Nguyen.
Ensemble is offered two quarters out of the school year for students in grades 3 through 8. All that is needed to participate is a willingness to learn and a desire to play as part of a musical team. Included instruments are guitars, basses, keyboards, drums, and vocals. The program has proven to be a success, with repeat faces often returning for each session and students showing steady improvement, and increased confidence along the way.
On October 26, the fall Ensemble session concluded with a one hour concert held in Saint Peter’s Parish Hall. Mr. Nguyen was joined onstage by five student musicians who alternated performing a mix of six different rock/pop songs that were chosen collectively by the entire troupe. Student guitarist and vocalist Marin Cobo said, “Ensemble is really welcoming and feels like home. It is a great environment to play music with your friends.”
The entire group joined together for a finale which was the highlight of the afternoon. The impressive performance by the band had audience members on their feet and clapping with the rhythm!