Arts in the News
On Friday evening, the Milton Academy chamber orchestra will join the roster of musicians and other performers who fill Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace with sound and entertainment, and it’s all for a good cause.
The students are performing to raise money to buy musical instruments and equipment for students at Boston’s Dr. William Henderson Inclusion School, including mallets and iPads that will help students of all abilities produce musical sounds. The event is one piece of a partnership that Milton music department chair Adrian Anantawan hopes will expand opportunities for disabled and typically developing student musicians to make art together.
“We want to figure out ways that we can connect through music, because it’s one of the languages that transcends so many cultural boundaries, socioeconomic differences, and, in this case, builds a bridge between public and private institutions,” Adrian says.
Milton students—including an elf on the keytar—will perform near the Faneuil Hall Christmas tree from 7–8 p.m. Friday night, playing holiday songs and handing out free hot cocoa. They will have lyrics available for passersby to sing along, and even some percussion instruments people can use to join in. The lyric sheets include information about the fundraiser, in order to introduce the public to the program.
Henderson, a K–12 public school that spans two campuses in Dorchester, is a nationally recognized inclusion program. Thirty percent of Henderson students have a disability, whether physical or developmental; they attend classes alongside students with more typical development. Each classroom has a special education teacher and a general education teacher.
In November, Milton’s chamber orchestra visited Henderson to perform for its kindergartners, then spent time with the students for an “instrument petting zoo.” Because Milton’s students mirror Henderson’s in age, Adrian believes that opportunities for peer mentorship are ripe.
Adaptive instruments and ever-improving sound technology provide access for people with disabilities to make and perform beautiful music. The cost of such instruments can be a barrier to people who want to learn, Adrian says.
“It’s not about separating students based on ability,” he says. “It’s about bringing them together.”
A long-standing tradition this time each year, Milton Academy’s winter music concerts prove to be welcomed gifts on these chilly, short December days. Orchestras and vocal groups have been busy in Kellner these past weeks preparing for the Winter Vocal Concert on Friday, December 7, and the Winter Orchestra Concert on Sunday, December 9, in King Theatre.
Beginning at 7 p.m., Friday’s vocal concert features Milton’s Chamber Singers, Gospel Choir and Glee Club. The Chamber Singers will perform In These Delightful Pleasant Groves (Henry Purcell) and Harold Arlen’s Over the Rainbow (arr. Whalen). Another highlight of the evening will be Milton’s Gospel Choir and Chamber Singers, along with a student string ensemble, performing Richard Smallwood’s Total Praise. Selections for the Glee Club include Mozart’s Ecco quel fiero instante (accompanied by the string players) and Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite by Carter and Hudson.
On Sunday at 4 p.m., the orchestra concert shares the results of students’ dedication and hard work since the beginning of the school year. This event will serve as the debut of the Milton Guitar Ensemble directed by Dr. Steven Brew. On the program is a wide variety of music ranging from the quintessential classical work, Eine Kleine Nacht Musik (A Little Night Music) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to selections from Phantom of the Opera. The concert will also feature the winner of this year’s Senior Solo competition, Alex Shih, performing Mozart’s joyous and virtuosic Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major. The program will cumulate with several large-scale works, including Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Bizet’s “Farandole” from the L’arlesienne Suite.
Both concerts in Kellner’s King Theatre are free and open to the public.
Milton’s orchestra rehearses in King Theatre
Dighton Rehoboth Festival of Imagination Speech Tournament
On October 27, Milton Academy speech students gathered with 313 high school participants from 17 area schools for the Dighton Rehoboth Festival of Imagination Speech Tournament. Overall, Milton garnered 16 awards, including Third Place Sweepstakes in the Large School category.
The following is the list of student award recipients:
Top Novice Awards:
Zoe Shleifer (Children’s Literature)
Emily Hong (Impromptu)
James Millington (Prose Reading)
Children’s Literature: Zoe Shleifer (5th place)
Declamation: Miranda Paiz (5th place)
Dramatic Performance: Thea Chung (5th place)
Extemporaneous: Tony Wang (3rd place)
Ian Glick (1st place)
Neha Modak (2nd place)
Tyler Tjan (4th place)
Original Oratory: Jana Amin (3rd place)
Program of Oral Interpretation: Emily Taylor (5th place)
Prose Reading: Talia Sherman (1st place)
Prose Reading: Abby Buonato (7th place)
Prose Reading: James Millington (5th place)
Gracia Burkill Speech Tournament
Natick High School on November 10, 2018
439 entries from 22 schools
The following is the list of student award recipients:
Humorous Interpretation: Lyndsey Mugford (1st Place)
Radio Broadcasting: Esteban Gutierrez (3rd Place)
Varsity Extemporaneous: Tony Wang (3rd Place)
Neha Modak (2nd Place and top novice in this event)
Tyler Tjan (3rd Place)
Novice Oral Interpretation:
Abby Buonato (4th Place)
James Millington (7th Place)
Prose: Talia Sherman (Semifinalist)
Qualified for the State Tournament
The following students qualified for the State Tournament scheduled for April 2019 based on results from MSDL tournaments thus far in fall 2018:
Tournament of Champions
On November 17, 38 schools gathered at Henry W Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia, to compete in a Tournament of Champions qualifying tournament. Finalists earned a bid to the National Tournament at the University of Kentucky in late April. Jana Amin and Maya Bokhari earned the first of two bids to TOC by placing 1st and 2nd, respectively, in Original Oratory. Tony Wang and Tim Colledge earned 1st place in Public Forum Debate while also attaining 1st and 2nd speaker awards. Tony and Tim secured 16/18 ballots during their seven rounds of debates.
This fall’s 1212 Play has student actors drawing upon millennia of theater history. Yet Sophocles’ Antigone, while centuries old, explores universal themes that remain relevant today, says director and performing arts faculty member Peter Parisi. Its depiction of the danger of authoritarian politics, blind loyalty, and division among families are as familiar in modern society as they were in ancient Thebes.
“Antigone challenges us to question where our responsibilities lie when the law requires something we know is wrong,” Peter says.
The 1212 play is a Milton tradition, offering an intimate theater experience, typically involving small casts, minimal technical demands, and often challenging material for the performers and the audience. Science department faculty member Gabrielle Hunt and Jocelyn Sabin (I) are assisting with the production. Andrew Willwerth (II), plays Creon, the king of Thebes, and said the play has challenged the cast with its dark themes and the characters’ complex motivations.
“Creon has nuances I’m still learning about,” Andrew says. “This role has challenged me because Creon is such a cruel and manipulative man that it takes concentration to get into that mindset. As old as Antigone is, I find certain parts of it relatable to our world today. It deals with complex parental relationships and the impact of power and wealth, something that affects all of us.”
Ira Sobchyshyna (II), is part of the chorus and also plays the blind prophet Tiresias. “The great part about being in the chorus is that you get to create your character from scratch and convey some unique feelings to the audience,” she says. “What I like about Tiresias the most is the fact that she emanates an aura of mysticism and otherworldliness, often prompting people around her to reconsider their actions.”
Antigone opens Thursday, November 29, at 7:30 p.m., followed by a Friday performance at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 7 p.m., in Wigglesworth Hall.
Visitors to King Theatre this week may wonder about the hints of something spooky onstage: skulls, gothic décor and, wait… is that a torture rack?
The macabre pieces set the scene for the Addams Family Musical, this year’s fall production from the performing arts department. The musical comedy chronicles chaos visited upon the Addamses when daughter Wednesday brings a “normal” boyfriend home to meet the family. The show, which features the iconic, close-knit family and a Greek chorus of their undead ancestors, gives every actor a chance to shine.
“It has a lot of the dark humor from the Addams Family movies, and it’s a lot of fun,” says faculty member Dar Anastas, who is directing the production. “Ultimately, it’s about a family who love one another and fight to stay together, and it’s very funny. We could all use a little silliness now and then.”
Performing arts faculty member Shane Fuller is leading the tech shop for this fall production, and performing arts department chair Kelli Edwards is choreographing. The Addams Family opens Thursday, November 15, at 7:30 p.m., followed by a Friday show at 7:30 p.m. and a Saturday performance at 7 p.m., in King Theatre.