By Brenda Maguire
A New Britain middle school and Bristol Eastern High School have both entered an online contest sponsored by the television show “Glee” with hopes of winning a grant for their music departments.
The “Glee: Give a Note” contest asked public schools across the United States to submit videos of musical performances, which are now being judged by public voting.
A group of HALS Academy eighth-grade students in New Britain sang “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry in their submission, and the Bristol Eastern High Concert Choir, with select choir groups Strawberry Fields and Madrigal Choir, sang Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” Throughout the video Bristol students give testimonials about why choir is important.
Elaine Zottola, principal of HALS Academy, which stands for House of Arts, Letters and Sciences, said the school could use the grant to replace broken guitars and improve a performance stage with new lighting and curtains.
Bristol Eastern would use the money to attend the World Choral Games in July. The games are being held in Cincinnati and will bring together about 250 choirs from across the globe.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to be invited to this,” said Michael Coderre, director of the choral program at Bristol Eastern.
Both music departments have been hurt by budget cuts in the last few years and the grant would prove helpful in purchasing new equipment and meeting other needs, officials said.
The contest will give out three grand prizes, 10 first-place prizes and 60 second-place prizes totaling $1 million to help at-risk music programs. Winners will be announced Dec. 15.
Zottola, the coordinator of the fine arts/gifted and talented program for the New Britain school district, stressed the importance of arts in schools.
“Personally, I think if you picture a world without the arts, it’s a gray world,” she said.
Visit http://www.gleegiveanote.com to vote for HALS Academy and/or Bristol Eastern. Public voting will run until Nov. 7, and only one vote per IP address per day is accepted.