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GannettUSA Today

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mr. G's musical legacy

The performing arts progam of any high school never gets the publicity that a sports team receives, but there's as much or more talent, discipline and teamwork on display on the stage than on the playing field. That was clear Saturday evening when students in the Freehold Performing Arts Center program at Howell High School contributed to a concert in memory of Steven Gosewisch, a music teacher at the high school who died just a year ago at age 51. The quality of the show was a tribute to the students, their teachers and the alumni who returned to prove that the lessons of the man they called "Mr. G" have not been forgotten.

This was no maudlin retrospective of a man's life. The singing, dancing and instrumentation was upbeat and precise. It was a wonderful mix of pop and musical theater favorites, with classical music added in from Gosewisch's fellow members of the Monmouth Symphony. One after another of the students who spoke obviously appreciated Mr. G's efforts to make them excel. And they cheered wildly when their teachers (Gosewisch's colleagues and, in one case, a former student) joined them on stage to perform. What more could any teacher ask for?

The Freehold Regional school district has a number of magnet programs that offer talented students a chance for in-depth study and special achievement. These programs work well there and should be emulated elsewhere. The arts program at Howell is a primary example, thanks to teachers like Mr. G and his successors.

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