Middle School Celebrates Rienzi Showcase

The song “Recuérdame” was a beautiful choice for Grade 6 Spanish class to open the Middle School Rienzi Showcase, whose theme was “Nostalgia.” 

The poignant piece written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez is the Oscar-winning song from the 2017 animated Disney film CoCo. The opening words in translation: “Remember me. Today I have to leave my love. Remember me. Please don’t cry.” The 37 student singers were led by Spanish teacher Ellen Martinez P’08, ’10 and accompanied on guitar by history teacher Caesar Fabella P’18.

The Rienzi Tradition
Chris Tutulo
Chris Tutolo

Rienzi, a much-loved Poly tradition presented by the World Languages Department, showcases students’ oral skills. French teacher Chris Tutolo moderated Rienzi this year. He welcomed Kathy Rienzi, who taught French at Poly for 25 years before retiring. “Her love and commitment to languages was always apparent in the success of her students over the years,” Tutolo said. “She looks forward every year to celebrating language and enjoying our student performances. We are happy to have Ms. Rienzi here with us today.”

Grade 6

Grade 6 French

Next, seven members of Grade 6 French — Gus K. ’29, Alessandra L. ’29, Jenna R. ’29, Martina G. ’29, Emma G.’29, Jo-Lee M. ’29, and Deven M. ’29 —  sang, “Le coquillage magique” (The Magic Seashell) by Frances.

Grade 6 Mandarin

In Mandarin, sixth graders sang, “Do not see me off,” which was adapted from the American folk song “500 Miles” by Hedy West. They were accompanied by Ben C. ’29 on guitar. The singers included: Livia C. ’29, Kangsan D. ’29, Bailey H. ’29, Fiona I. ’29, Camilla L. ’29, Liv N. ’29, Audrey S. ’29, Kara S. ’29, Henry S. ’29, Kevin Z. ’29, Lillian Z. ’29, and Katherine Z.’29.

Grade 7

Grade 7 Spanish

Kiana F.  ’28, Lucas M.  ’28, and Nico C.  ’28 presented the poem “Dia Familiar” (Family Day) by Francisco X. Alarcón This is a poem about spending Sunday afternoons at the grandparents’ home and memories of family time.

Grade 7 Mandarin
Pianist Tyler C. ’28 and violinist Bodhi K. ’28 accompanied seventh grade Mandarin students who sang, “Farewell.” The singers included: Isa A. ’28, Jeffrey C. ’28, Nate E. ’28, Johnny E. ’28, Mackenzie G-H. ’28, James G. ’28, Eleanor K. ’28, Savannah P. ’28, Maisie S. ’28, Lila S-C. ’28, Bryson S. ’28, and Mick W. ’28.

Grade 7 French
Tutolo introduced the next piece “Toi” (You) by Esther Granek, explaining she was a Holocaust survivor who wrote the poem while in exile. Translated in English, “You are a word. You are a voice. You are your eyes and my joy,” the poem begins and was recited in French by Theresa M. ’28, Harper B. ’28, Bennett L-R. ’28, Nyla M. ’28, Charlotte A. ’28, Delia P. ’28, Kaleb A. ’28, and Emma S. ’28.

Grade 7 Latin
Latin students Magnus C. ’28, Ava F. ’28, Xenia A-G. ’28, Hart Hicks ’28, Charlotte M. ’28, Arhan S.’28, Micah T. ’28, and Isabel W. ’28 recited “Aeneid 198-207” by Publius Vergilius Maro, which tells of Aenaes’ encouragement of the Trojans after a storm at sea.

Other Languages Spoken at Home
Neeka A. ‘27 and Val A. ’27

Tutolo noted that many students and faculty speak other languages than English at home. He invited two eighth graders to share poetry in two of those languages.

Neeka A. ‘27 shared an excerpt in Farsi from the song “baaraye,” or “For” by the Iranian musician Shervin Hajipoor. It begins, “For the fear of kissing your lover in public, For my sister, your sister, our sisters…” and concludes, “Women, Life, Freedom,” the cry of women activists in Iran.

Val A. ’27 then recited “Es liegt der heiße Sommer”(There Lies the Heat of Summer) by Heinrich Heine in German.

Grade 8

Grade 8 French
Tutolo invited two of his eighth grade French students, Celia C. ’27 and Meena K. ’27 to recite the poem “Demain, dès l’aube” (Tomorrow, at Dawn) by Victor Hugo. He explained that the poem was written in 1856, after Hugo received news of the untimely death of his daughter, Léopoldine.

Grade 8 Mandarin
Guitarist Olivia C. ’27 accompanied a group of Grade 8 Mandarin students who sang “Visit Your Home Often,” Tutolo explained that the song “captures parents’ longing to reunite with their children after they’ve gone away.” The singers included: Runa B. ’27, Pharaoh B. ’27, Logan C. ’27, Calvin C. ’27, Ally D. ’27, John F. ’27, Zoe K. ’27, Sasha L. ’27, Andrew P. ’27, Gregory P. ’27, Benicio Q. ’27, Jesse R. ’27, Annabelle T. ’27, Francis V. ’27, and Evan X. ’27.

Grade 8 Spanish

Very appropriately, eighth grade Spanish students sang “Nostalgia,” which Tutolo described as “a Mexican indie rock song from 2021 by Ximena (pronounced Jimena) Sariñana,” about missing a loved one who is gone. Singers included: Naomi B. ’27, Nikhil B. ’27, Nicolai F. ’27, Charlie G. ’27, Criston G. ’27, Ben G. ’27, Shane G. ’27, Charlotte K. ’27, Sydney M. ’27, Parke M. ’27, Sean M. ’27, Lauren P. ’27, Kevin R. ’27, and Andrew S. ’27.

Grade 8 Latin

Eighth grade Latin students appeared in a video presenting “Gaudeamus Igitur” (Let us therefore rejoice).

American Sign Language (ASL) Students

 In conclusion the Upper School ASL – American Sign Language students, under the direction of French teacher Angela Gittens P’23, ’26, signed to “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys. Tutolo reminded the Middle School, “When the song is finished, please do not clap; instead, show your appreciation by doing this…” and he waved his hands in the air.