Three high schools to compete in BROOKLYN SINGS competition

Bella would have been proud! The late Bella Tillis is credited with being the inventor of SING!, the talent competition that still takes place in many Brooklyn high schools. Three schools will be competing for top honors in BROOKLYN SINGS, a special competition on March 8. Photo courtesy of Tillis family

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

A grand show business tradition of Brooklyn high schools is getting a new twist.

SING!, the school talent show that pits students from the same school against each other, is for the first time going to feature a three-school rivalry.

Students from Madison, Midwood and Edward R. Murrow high schools will take part in an inter-school Sing competition. The Sing event, which is being called BROOKLYN SINGS, will take place on Saturday, March 8, at Edward R. Murrow High School, starting at 6 p.m.

BROOKLYN SINGS is the brainchild of the Bergen Beach, Mill Basin & Marine Park Relay for Life team, a local volunteer organization whose goal is to raise cancer awareness. Proceeds raised at the talent competition will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Joe Gillette, one of the organizers of the Bergen Beach, Mill Basin and Marine Park Relay for Life team, said he is grateful to the students. “Our Relay for Life team is so thankful to each of these amazing schools for taking on BROOKLYN SINGS.  We know this event will be great for all the talented students, the schools and the community as a whole as we all unite and give of ourselves for a worthy cause,” he said.

SING! was originally conceived by Belle Tillis, a music teacher at Midwood High School in 1947. It has been a Brooklyn tradition ever since. SING! is a student-run musical production which pits the various grades of the schools against each other for annual bragging rights. Back in the 50’s and early 60’s, the winners from the different schools would sometimes compete against each other for neighborhood bragging rights.

“SING! began in Midwood in 1947. Mrs. Bella Tillis is credited with bringing SING! to Midwood,” said Midwood Principal Michael McDonnell. Tillis died last year at the age of 99.

“For the last 60 plus years, our student body has sung, danced and acted their way towards winning the annual SING! competition.  So it is with great honor and responsibility that along with the help of Relay for Life, we get to ‘throw down the gauntlet’ to our neighboring schools,” McDonnell said.

“SING! brings all students together. From those already in our arts programs in music, dance, theater and the visual arts, to those still exploring their own unique talents,” said Murrow Principal Allen Barge. “Students run the show. Arts education like SING! strengthens student problem-solving, leadership, organization and critical thinking skills, better preparing them for the world outside school. We are excited to be working with Relay for Life to continue to support the arts and our community in its fight against cancer."

“The performance gives students from all facets of the school community the opportunity to work together to create their own masterpiece,” Madison Principal Jodie Cohen said.

Murrow alumni Skeery Jones, executive producer of Z100’s Elvis Duran & the Morning Show, said Sing gives students a chance to express their creativity. “When I think of Murrow I think of a time in my life where there was the freedom to create. SING! still inspires that same type of creativity. The event is going to rock Brooklyn and do it all for a great cause,” Jones said.

Madison alumni and famed rock & roll radio personality Bruce Morrow AKS Cousin Brucie told one of the BROOKLYN SINGS organizers that if it wasn’t for his experience with SING years ago as a student, there wouldn’t be a Cousin Brucie.


February 12, 2014 - 3:30pm



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