Thanksgiving Musical

Sonimar Molina, the recipient of the 2011 Outreach/Scholarship Program, was one of many students who performed Sunday, Nov. 13 in “Many Thanks, Many Thanks,” a musical featuring Syracuse students and musicians at the Rockefeller United Methodist Church.

The two-hour event presented by the church and The Professional Woman’s League of Syracuse, which also sponsors the scholarship program, featured 13 performances in tribute to Thanksgiving.

The performances featured, among others a duet by John Davies and Sarah Hasegawa, a father-daughter duo; a duet by organist Jane Lorraine and pianist Lori Mann; solo performances by Mary Gauthier, and a solo performance by Molina, who sang “Think of Me” from “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Out Here on My Own” from the musical “Fame.”

Molina, 18 and a freshman at SUNY Cortland, did not know she was nominated for the scholarship until she was presented with the $200 award at the Fowler High School scholarship event held in June.

“I was in total shock when I heard I had won because I guess I never thought I would win something by my singing,” she said.

Nubia Hill stands with her music instructor Dr. Richard Ford, executive director of Signature Music. -- Photo by Jeremiah Howell, The Stand Community Correspondent

Although the scholarship was only $200, Molina is grateful she was given any type of financial help for college.

“Most people would think it’s not a lot of money, but to me it was, because college is very expensive and that money saved me parents’ money to give me to buy school supplies or pay for books,” she said.

Molina was born in Puerto Rico and has been singing since she was 8 years old. Being from a Latina background is something that makes Molina proud.

“Every time I sing, I feel like I am representing my Latino heritage,” she said. “It makes me feel proud that I can make a small difference in our community by simply singing.”

Other student performances were by Nubia Hill, a junior at Nottingham High School, and Malik Clanton, a senior at Henninger High School. Both Hill and Clanton are a part of Signature Music, a non-profit organization that prepares children starting from middle school to continue a musical career in college.

Richard Ford, executive director of Signature Music, knows it is important for students to be a part of the arts in school.

“I started this program 10 years ago because music for a child or anyone in general changes their perspective on life in a positive way,” he said.

And Clanton knows well about this positive change due to music.

Malik Clanton plays his saxophone during “Many Thanks, Many Thanks" Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Rockefeller United Methodist Church. -- Photo by Jeremiah Howell, The Stand Community Correspondent

“I picked up the tenor sax four years ago, and it changed who I am,” he said. “When I was in middle school, I didn’t play an instrument, and I would always get in trouble and get suspended. But when I started playing the saxophone in high school, I saw a change in me of who I wanted to be when I got older. And I was no longer getting into trouble,” Clanton said.

Clanton wants to study music in college and become a music teacher in the future.

This change in a student’s life is exactly what Gene Clark, the president of The Professional Woman’s League and member since 1969, wants to continue happening in the future.

“The purpose of our league has been tweaked a bit because we came to realize the importance of getting students into college, especially since it is so expensive nowadays,” she said.

The Woman’s League began giving scholarships to students at Fowler High School four years ago.

“It’s a relatively recent part of our program, and today, with this Thanksgiving event, we hope to have made a good amount of donation money for the Women’s League, to perhaps give more money in scholarships,” Clark said. The donation money given at the musical will be divided between the Woman’s League and the church.


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