Arts in the News

Milton’s Artists and Writers Recognized for Outstanding Work

Thirty-eight Milton students received recognition—Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention—in the Massachusetts Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards began in 1923 and are considered the most prestigious arts awards for teenagers in the country. All Gold Key award work is submitted to the national scholastic competition, and those awards are announced in March.

Aditya Gandhi (II) won a Gold Key and Honorable Mention in poetry. “My interest in writing comes mostly from reading literature. I owe thanks to all my English teachers, but especially to Mr. Connolly. The two poems of mine that were recognized deal largely with identity and how it is shaped by culture and society.”


“Fish Guts” by Tony Xu (I)

Tony Xu (I) won a Gold Key award for his painting titled “Fish Guts.” “My interest in painting, specifically this type of realism painting, was inspired by visits to the fresh food markets in China as a kid, and also by my own interest in exploring grotesque and detailed images using oils. Brian Kim’s (Class of 2016) works last year were also an inspiration. I created this painting from a photograph of a real model that I made after purchasing a fish from the market.”

Caroline Massey (II) won Silver and Gold Keys for photography and a Silver Key in art. “I’ve taken photography at Milton since my sophomore year and fell in love with the medium. Working with photography gives me an appreciation for and fascination with people and light, and these two things ultimately became the main focus of my work. ‘Eleanor,’ my Gold Key photo, is a picture of my cousin Eleanor sitting in a pool with her head tilted upside down toward the camera. My cousin is my favorite subject to photograph—she’s always a very enthusiastic, cooperative and goofy model! When taking this photo, my main goal was to capture the light reflecting off the pool water as well as Eleanor’s compelling posture and beauty.”

Hannah Neri (II) won an Honorable Mention, Silver Key and Gold Key for her photography, as well. “My family likes to travel a lot, so photography is a great, portable way to document our trips and the different cultures, in a way that is unique to me. My photography is inspired by the people and places around me. All three recognized photographs were taken on trips—two of them when I was in Malawi visiting an orphan school and one of them in Bologna, Italy.”

Complete list of award winners
(GK: Gold Key; SK: Silver Key; HM: Honorable Mention)

John Albright (III): SK Poetry: Building Gaskets with My Father

John Albright (III): HM Poetry: How I Learned Politics

Keisha Baffour-Addo (I): SK Photography: Annabell’s Hand

Eloise Baker (II): SK Photography: Mannequin

Eloise Baker (II): SK Photography: Stormy Sunset

Mark Bodner (I): HM Digital Art: A Progression

Andrew Chan (II): HM Poetry: Caught in Amber

Andrew Chan (II): HM Poetry: Haikus for a Houston Suburb

Letitia Chan (I): GK Writing Portfolio

Claudia Chung (I): HM Drawing and Illustration: Unveiling

Claudia Chung (I): SK Drawing and Illustration: Flaws

Malia Chung (IV): GK Poetry: Waking

Emma Comrie (I): SK Photography: Sharon Springs 29

Emma Comrie (I): HM Photography: beach 6

Michelle Erdenesanaa (I): SK Poetry: Cattle Drive

Michelle Erdenesanaa (I): SK Poetry: Cold War Children

Serena Fernandopulle (III): HM Poetry: ICU

Aditya Gandhi (II): GK Poetry: A Hindu in Catholic School

Aditya Gandhi (II): HM Poetry: Migraine

Hannah Hachamovitch (II): GK Painting: Post-Thanksgiving

Kaja Hartwell (I): HM Photography: missing person: identity unknown

Katie Rose Hoffman (I): HM Poetry: Do you Wish to Save Your Work

Chloe Kim (I): GK Writing Portfolio

William Kim (III): SK Critical Essay: Technology Trap

Julia Lebovitz (I): SK Photography: Reflection

Max Li (II): SK Poetry: Gas Station

Caroline Magann (II): HM Digital Art: Sunrise Lake

Caroline Magann (II): SK Digital Art: Sunrise in an Open Room

Caroline Massey (I): SK Photography: Vogue

Caroline Massey (I): GK Photography: Eleanor

Edward Moreta Jr (II): GK Poetry: Surname X

Edward Moreta Jr (II): HM Poetry: Bridges

Edward Moreta Jr (II): GK Flash Fiction: Homes

Hannah Neri (II): GK Photography: Bologna

Hannah Neri (II): HM Photography: Her.

Hannah Neri (II): SK Photography: Jacaranda

Beatrice Ojuri (II): GK Poetry: NEVER MY HOME: A History of White America

Alexandra Paul (II): GK Poetry: On The Curb Outside of Al Punto

Benjamin Pratt (III): SK Poetry: Thoughts From Supermax

Benjamin Pratt (III): SK Poetry: That Blueblack Night

Lily Reposa (II): SK Photography: Unexpected Reflection

Joseph Schuster (I): HM Photography: The Board of Directors

Maxwell Seelig 7 GK Short Story: Faith For Tomorrow

Kailee Silver (II): HM Drawing and Illustration: Swim Meet

Caroline Strang (I): SK Poetry: Fourteenth Birthday

Caroline Strang (I): SK Poetry: Home

Caroline Strang (I): SK Poetry: Moon Scuffle

Nathan Strauss (I): SK Photography: Harbor Scene

Nathan Strauss (I): HM Photography: Rigging

Evita Thadhani (IV): HM Personal Essay/Memoir: Alive Again

Evita Thadhani (IV): HM Personal Essay/Memoir: A Voice for the Migrants

Alexandra Upton (II): GK Short Story: Loch Ness

Alexandra Upton (II): HM Short Story: Tickets

Abigail Walker (II): HM Poetry Elegy

Jessica Wang (II): SK Poetry: In the Kitchen with My Mother

Jessica Wang (II): GK Poetry: third street promenade in santa monica

Catherine Wise (I): HM Poetry: Other

Catherine Wise (I): SK Poetry: Bound

Catherine Wise (I): GK Poetry: Insides

Jonathan WuWong (II): HM Sculpture: Ghost

Jonathan WuWong (II): HM Photography: Sight Seeing

Haozhou Xu (I): GK Painting: Fish Guts

An Annual Highlight: The Winter Dance Concert

17-02_dance-rehearsals-01From hip-hop, jazz and tap, to a hybrid of modern dance and traditional Chinese fan dancing, student choreographers and dancers are preparing for this weekend’s Winter Dance Concert.

One of the most popular productions each year, the concert features 65 dancers in 15 dances, plus several students working as tech crew, stage managers, light and soundboard operators, and backstage crew.

One of the concert’s main draws is that it’s “quintessentially Milton,” involving trained dancers who take dance classes as part of their curriculum, alongside students who are dancing for the first time, says performing arts faculty member Kelli Edwards. “We have students for whom dance is really a priority, and then others who took a chance and auditioned,” Kelli says. “That combination makes it a richer experience for everybody.”

Student dancer and choreographer Annie Auguste (II) says the Dance Concert is a great way to build relationships with students across class years and to connect with adults on campus. “It’s also nice to be part of something that everyone in the community can appreciate and enjoy watching,” says Annie, who is choreographing the finale piece. “For the choreographers, it’s a really great leadership opportunity, and a great outlet for self-expression.”

The Winter Dance Concert opens in King Theatre on Thursday, March 2 at 7 p.m., followed by performances Friday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 4, at 7 p.m.

Reserve tickets online.

This Weekend, Students Direct One-Acts

The student one-act plays are a much-anticipated performing arts event and are a venue for student directors and actors to showcase their talents in a broad array of plays and topics. This year there are three one-acts, completely directed, acted and tech-supported by students.

This is the second year that Henry Claudy (I) has directed a one act. This year he chose the play “Face Divided” by Edward Allan Baker. The drama takes place in a Providence emergency room, where a mother brings her injured young daughter, but questions arise about the injury when the father arrives. Henry says most of his Milton theater experiences focused on comedy, so he wanted to try something different.

“I love directing,” says Henry. “It gives you a lot of skills that can be applied to your life outside of theater. I love doing the auditions. It’s fun finding a scene for the actors and seeing how they choose to perform it. This play has some real challenging scenes, especially between the husband and wife.”

Alex Chen (II) is directing “English Made Simple” by David Ives.  “I chose the play because it is a funny, short play about the little details of English conversation.  A guy and a girl meet at a party and proceed to have a standard conversation.  However, as the play progresses, the audience is made aware of their true history.  Then there is a third character, who acts more like a teacher, teaching the audience about how English speech works and what generally meaningless small talk actually means.  I love how the play starts out like an instructional video teaching viewers how to chat with others and ends up with a couple with a newfound love for each other.”

Dorsey Glew (II) is directing “Yesterday” by Colin Campbell Clements. “I chose it because it was written in the 1920s, so I could play with the time period and with this story, the actors and director can play with the characters’ many different nuances.”

The One Acts begins in the Studio Theatre on Thursday, February 23, and Friday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 25 at 7 p.m.

3Peat Improvisers Bring the Laughs

3PeatBeginning with a single suggested word from the audience, “ravioli,”, the 3Peat improv troupe rolled out a series of hilarious scenes for students at King Theatre. Five members of 3Peat, an acclaimed part of Chicago’s vibrant improv comedy scene, came to Milton as a Melissa Gold Visiting Artist. They performed for students, held a master class in the basics of improv, and visited several classes, including improvisation and public speaking. Students had several opportunities to perform with the professionals.

“The students were way ahead of what I was expecting,” 3Peat member Torian Miller said. “They didn’t hesitate to get up and participate. As a group, we don’t judge one another. It’s a space where you can feel safe to be silly and just have fun.”

The 10-member team, which plays every Monday at Chicago’s legendary iO Theater, formed in 2012. The performers, who are all black, were friends and improv teachers involved in Chicago comedy, but felt pressured to compete with one another for a limited number of parts in theater and television. They decided to work together.

“We love one another, and we all know each other’s skills. It’s a very supportive environment on stage,” Nnamdi Ngwe said. Speaking to students after the performance in King, Mr. Ngwe encouraged future performers to “keep being great and stay humble,” saying that maintaining a reputation as a team player will help in any tight-knit arts community.

When they teach improvisation, the performers said, the worst thing for a newcomer to expect is to be “the funny one” on stage. Instead, they should come prepared to listen and to build upon what the other performers do. “You also have to listen to your audience, because you don’t know what they’re going to be like when you start,” said Lisa Beasley. “We have a responsibility to train them to understand what they’re going to see.”

The Melissa Gold Visiting Artist series commemorates Melissa’s life and interests by bringing internationally recognized artists to campus. To learn more about 3Peat, visit their Facebook page.

Watch 3Peat perform in King Theatre

Choreographer Danielle Flora Is This Fall’s Melissa Gold Visiting Artist

danielle-flora-01Knowing who will help you along your life path is impossible, so it’s best to show kindness to everyone, television and film choreographer Danielle Flora told students on Monday.

Ms. Flora, who has choreographed sketches, monologues and performances for “Saturday Night Live” for 17 years, said that connections she made throughout her career as dancer and choreographer opened doors to incredible opportunities. “Be nice to everyone, from the person who gets your coffee to the director. Being respectful really makes a difference,” Ms. Flora told students. Leaving a good impression matters in the entertainment industry, where word about personalities and work ethic travels quickly.

“The set designer at ‘Saturday Night Live’ is the person who recommended me for ‘Lip Sync Battle,’” Ms. Flora noted, referencing a segment from “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” that became its own show on Spike. “You should always be professional, and try to find a way to relate to the people you meet.”

Ms. Flora started her career as a New York Knicks City Dancer after studying acting at Emerson College. A chance meeting with Beth McCarthy-Miller, the director of “Saturday Night Live,” launched her into her first choreography job at the NBC show. She has also worked on “The Tonight Show,” “30 Rock,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” and several televised awards ceremonies, as well as the feature films “Trainwreck,” “The Night Before,” and “Date Night.”

During her two-day visit to Milton, Ms. Flora taught a hip hop dance master class that was open to students and adults, and worked with students in drama and improvisation classes. At night, she joined students for an informal discussion about her work.

The world of professional dance is highly competitive, Ms. Flora said, recalling auditioning hundreds of dancers for 12 spots on “Lip Sync Battle.” Aspiring dancers should never stop learning, attending classes and watching peers’ performances, she said. “Pay attention and watch other dancers. You get so much out of watching somebody do something well—from their facial expressions, the angle of their hands. All those little details matter,” she said. “Entertainment can be a rough business, but a lot of the dancers I’ve worked with have been able to see the world while on tour with some of the most famous musicians. They get to spend their lives doing fun and creative things.”

Ms. Flora was the first Melissa Dilworth Gold ‘61 Visiting Artist of the school year. The series commemorates Melissa’s life and interests by bringing internationally recognized artists to campus.