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Pelham Middle School Choruses Serenade Retiring Principal

PELHAM, N.Y. – The Pelham Middle School choruses delivered a rousing spring concert before their families, friends and outgoing principal Thursday night. The annual concert was dedicated to Joseph Longobardi, who will be retiring June 30 after serving as principal for 20 years.

“I thought it was one of the finest chorus concerts I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them,” said Longobardi. He credited choral director Maria Abeshouse for “the selection of songs and the kids enjoying the music” before adding that she “does a great job.”

Many parents came up afterward to congratulate him on his retirement and thank him for his 39 years in the Pelham School District, which he said meant everything to him.

“It validates what we do as teachers and educators – it pulls it all together for me. It makes it all worthwhile,” said Longobardi.

The concert featured the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade choruses singing popular hits such as “Don’t Stop Believing” by Steve Perry, “Beautiful” by Linda Perry, “When I’m Sixty-Four” by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and Adele’s “Someone Like You.”

Each chorus did a song or two, then all the kids came together in the end to sing “Over the Rainbow,” which had some audience members in tears.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” said Abeshouse. “I think that they were so focused and gave 100 percent. They really delighted me. I was really pleased.” It felt great to hear how much the parents and Longobardi enjoyed the show, she said.

“It’s very satisfying to work with the kids,” who have been practicing since February, Abeshouse said. “When you love something and they also love it, there’s nothing like it. Then when they’re smiling and they’re singing the meaning of the song, and they’re having fun, and they’re connecting with the audience, that’s all I ask for.”

It was an easy decision to dedicate the concert to Longobardi because “he is so beloved by everyone,” she said.

“This is my first year working here, but even before I worked here, I knew how beloved Mr. Longobardi was,” said Abeshouse. “He’s just got this phenomenal reputation of being a great leader with a really big heart, and he’s going to be missed.”

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