Each year the Pontifical North American College in Rome extends its hospitality to benefactors and friends at a meal in their honor: the Rector's Dinner. One of the evening's highlights is the entertainment at the dinner itself performed by seminarians of the College. From April 19, 2012:

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Pennies from Heaven is one of the classic songs from the American songbook. Instantly a classic when Bing Crosby debuted it in 1936, composer Arthur Johnston and writer Johnny Burke remind us in “Pennies from Heaven” that there’s nothing to fear from the storm clouds that pass overhead.

Tonight began as an experiment in musical technique but soon rose to become the centerpiece of Leonard Bernstein’s and Stephen Sondheim’s classic, “West Side Story.” Since its 1957 debut, “Tonight” has established itself as one of the most memorable selections from a musical that makes a spot on anyone’s list of bests.

Singin' in the Rain made its debut almost 25 years before it splashed into movie theaters around the world in 1952 with the film of the same name. Written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, Gene Kelly’s on screen performance of “Singin’ in the Rain” remains an iconic moment for the art of tap dancing.

Tap Dancing though comprised of a mixture of African, Irish, and British influences, can truly be called America’s indigenous art form.  Performed to a wide variety of musical styles, though most commonly jazz, tap dancing consists of the percussive meeting of a hard surface with shoes adorned with metal plates on the ball and the heal.  Whether it was Gene Kelly hanging from a lamppost in “Singin’ in the Rain,” or Fred Astaire’s famous tap dance with firecrackers in “Holiday Inn,” or Bill “Bojangles” Robinson hoofing up the stairs with Shirley Temple in “The Little Colonel,” the age of the movie musical secured tap dancing’s place as one of America’s favorite art forms. It remains an immensely popular form of dance among young and old alike, and is universally recognized for its ability to bring joy to both its practitioners and its admirers.

Tap Dancer: David Rider

Mark Baumgarten
Mark Bentz
Fernando Camou
Sean DeWitt
Jeffrey Dole
Nicholas Fleming
Royce Gregerson

Krzysztof Kuczynski
Daniel McCaughan
Richard Miserendino
Conrad Murphy
Garrett Nelson
Michael Pawlowicz
Michael Weitl
Tenor: Joseph Farrell
Saxophone: Richard Miserendino


Alan Guanella, John Norman, Brian Baker
Reception Entertainment:
Mark Baumgarten, Matthew Marcus
Nathan Miniatt, Matthew Dalrymple
Bill Appel, Joseph Keating
Jared Twenty, Nicholas Fleming
Jonathan Gunther, Charles Richmond
Directed by Christopher Gray
Who are, together, the

Previous years: 2011

by Christopher Gray