First on the entertainment card was Adelin Pop a trendy 16-year-old who had the poise and confidence of a budding entertainer. Adelin played the guitar as he sang the Eric Clapton hit song, “Let it Grow.” He closed his set with “As my guitar weeps,” by George Harrison. As the afternoon progressed, a lineup of piano players, guitarists, drummers and violinists appeared on stage before the audience. Others played wind instruments such as the clarinet, trumpet and alto sax. Some of the students played more than one instrument which was a display of their attention to detail. Mr. Koss accompanied all of the students on guitar. It was evident that he was extremely proud of the students and their individual performances. Equally and even more proud were the parents of the children who clapped and cheered after each performance.
The final act was the Rock School Band. This band consists of five students, the youngest being 6-year-old Makayla Dickinson. They closed the event with Pat Benatar’s song, “Hit me with your best shot.” Makayla is evidently a star in the making. She danced and sang as her costume flowed across the stage. Her costume was a custom made sequined silver and black dress with an extended train which flowed behind her.
The students whose ages were from 5-16 at the TPS are as follows:
· Adelin Pop - Guitar/Voice
· Angelina Ateek – Piano
· Anya Kalakota – Piano
· Ava Gatto – Piano
· Bryce Carroll - Drums
· Carlos Demorizi – Piano
· Chase Kruegar – Drums/Rock School Band
· Chetan Kalakota – Piano
· Chole Dickinson – Piano/Violin
·Conner Turner – Percussion/Drums/Rock School Band
· Emma Dickinson – Violin
· Garrett Carroll - Trumpet
· Jackson Jasinski – Guitar
· James Dube – Drums
· John Larsen – Lead Guitar/Rock School Band
· Jojo Sinson – Piano
· Kennady Sabo – Piano
· Kevin Stinett - Piano
· Lance Perez – Drums
· Laney Brinson – Violin
· Makayla Dickinson – Piano/ Lead Vocal/Rock School Band
· Makayla Phillips – Guitar
· Malina Perez - Drums
· Matt Lewandowski – Violin
· Olivia Kawalya – Guitar
· Sarah Bliss – Clarinet
· Skylar Kruegar – Piano/Voice
· Sophia Demorizi – Piano
· Sylvana Pesola – Piano/Guitar
· Tessa Leberman – Guitar
Ironically, all of the students performed flawlessly in front of the audience, taking into consideration, it is the first time many of them performed in public. Each student played their instrument or sang with confidence. Credit must be given to the instructors at the school for diligently ensuring the student’s success and of course the parents who encourage them. Also attending and supporting the students were Burt Leppela, guitar instructor and Mrs. Sandy Koss (wife of Greg Koss) who is also a piano and guitar instructor. She specializes in early childhood development.
The Institute’s Instructors have rather impressive resumes. For example, Steve Fowler who was an assistant instructor with Greg Koss on stage at the event is an accomplished baritone vocalist. He has performed on Broadway as the lead in the musical "Starlight Express." He was also a feature in the opening of the 1988 Tony Awards in Hollywood with Angela Landsbury. Fowler spent 29 years head lining on cruise ships in the Mediterranean Sea. He spends most of his time assisting at the Institute.
The gifted Greg Koss is the founder of the Koss Music and Cultural Institute. He is a composer, arranger, and trumpeter and has been hailed throughout the country by jazz educators as well as jazz critics for his skills associated with his music. His recorded album Greg Koss: Sound Factory has received national recognition from such greats as Dr. Herb Wong, Past President of the National Association of Jazz Educators to Marian McPartland, world renown jazz pianist and critic. Greg is able to get and hold the attention of all of these students on a daily basis. It is no wonder that students from the Institute have gone on to the University of South Florida’s School of Music and the county All-Star band.
Koss Music and Cultural Arts Institute became a 501 C-3 organization in 2010 and since then been providing opportunities for youth who want to have music in their lives. The Institute is located at 1922 Oak Grove Blvd, Lutz. To support the Institute, please contact Greg Koss at telephone number 813.949.6881. You may also email Koss at kmcaigreg@gmail.