Producing a concert is always a challenge. Producing a concert in the time of COVID-19, when many student performers have been working from home and an odd-and-even schedule confounds rehearsal time, is even more challenging.
But on April 8, Shoal River Middle School Mustang Band Director Emilia Addeo and her students pulled it off and enthusiastic stand ovations were their biggest rewards.
Mayor JB Whitten, a former educator well versed in surmounting challenges, sponsored the concert in the Spanish Trail Park amphitheatre to accommodate Okaloosa County School District social distancing and gatherings protocols.
“What a great time my wife and I had at your concert,” Mayor Whitten said in an email to Ms. Addeo and Shoal River Principal Craig Miller after the concert. “To overcome all the obstacles placed in your way this last year and still put on a command performance makes me so proud to have this school and your bands in our city.
“I commend you and your band members for putting on such a show and judging by the reaction of the crowd, they were as pleased as I was,” he added.
In his note, the mayor stressed the essential value of the arts in our schools and our community.
“Having been in a school system, I realize that we have citizens as well as some teachers who do not place a high priority on the arts section of the curriculum; I assure that I do,” Mayor Whitten said. “Thank you for what you do with our students and keep up the great work!”