With themes of isolation and loss but also humor and celebration, this spring’s Dance Concert explores life’s extremes. Last spring, Dance Concert was the last major event on campus before Milton had to shut down due to the pandemic. This year, the event is fully virtual with more than 40 student dancers who will perform 15 dances choreographed by students.
“It’s a smaller show, but feels like a bigger undertaking because of the way we are producing it,” says Kelli Edwards, Performing Arts Department chair.
The performance showcases modern dance, ballet, Latin dance, and an Irish dance. All the dances are being filmed—some in person on the King Theatre stage, some in more of a dance film format, and others in a Zoom format with dancers individually in their spaces. Edwards says the student choreographers have “embraced the format and are utilizing all the ways they can film.”
Fifty-six Milton students received recognition in the 2021 Massachusetts Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The students earned 124 Gold Key, Silver Key or Honorable Mention accolades in the competition. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards began in 1923 and are considered the most prestigious awards for teenagers in the country. Milton’s 31 Gold Key pieces are submitted to the national Scholastic competition, and results for the national contest will be announced in March.
Anne Kwok ‘21 earned six Gold Keys, one Silver Key and two Honorable Mentions for her poetry. One her poems that earned a Gold Key is “After Warfare.”
“In my work, I’m captivated by the role of aestheticism in healing,” says Kwok. “I love using fantastical myths for my poems to find truths even in the ancient and the uncanny. Poetry is a mirror I hold against the alien-ness present within us, to both surrender my fears and to empathize with the vulnerabilities of those around me. I especially love diving into the Chinese myths that were my grandma’s bedtime stories for me when I was younger. For example, I set my poem “After Warfare” in the Legend of Hou Yi, wrestling with how vulnerable groups of people are forced to bear the consequences of war after the glory and victory are over.”
Students on the Community Engagement Board are urging members of the community to take a “polar plunge” in support of athletes with intellectual and physical disabilities between now and spring break, said Andrea Geyling-Moore, director of Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP).
The Special Olympics Polar Plunge is an opportunity to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics by pledging to take a “plunge” if donors commit to giving. Milton’s plunge is open to interpretation, Geyling-Moore said: Between now and spring break, participants can jump into cold water, do an ice bucket-style challenge, or complete another icy stunt as a pledge for fundraising.
“When the weather is better, our students have been practicing with the Special Olympians on Sunday mornings,” she said. “We don’t know yet whether we’ll be able to have an event of any kind in the spring, but the Special Olympics of Massachusetts is running their annual polar plunge to keep awareness and fundraising going.”
A wildly popular musical and an opportunity to perform original poetry are slated as productions from the Performing Arts Department this spring.
Auditions have begun for High School Musical, a stage production of a 2006 Disney Channel movie that chronicles the behind-the-scenes comedy and drama of putting on a high school show. Co-directed by faculty members Eleza Kort and Peter Parisi, the production will be a true collaboration by teachers in the department.
“This is a show that’s familiar to a large percentage of, if not the entire, student body, and it has a message of inclusion and acceptance,” Parisi said. “We wanted something that would appeal to actors and audiences, something that would allow us to work in person and remotely. We decided to collaborate, and as the project picks up steam, we’re adding more and more folks to work on it from both in the community and outside Milton.”
English Department faculty member Josh Quiñones had just graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in political science and art history when a chance opportunity sparked an enduring passion for teaching. The Massachusetts native returned home after college and reached out to his former music teacher at St. Mark’s School to volunteer to help with the a cappella group.
The teacher told Quiñones, who joined Milton this academic year, that there was an assistant position open if he was interested. Although he’d initially thought of teaching as something he might do later in his career, Quiñones accepted the job.
Writing fiction cannot replace activism, but it can shine a light on problems that demand action, author Lauren Groff told students during her talk on February 17.
Paraphrasing the poet William Carlos Williams, Groff noted that although literature cannot save lives, it is still crucial to humanity: “Poetry has never saved a life, but men die every day for lack of it,” she said.
We hope that you have continued to enjoy the presentations each month. March and April meetings will be held by Zoom on the following dates (more details to follow):
- Monday, March 1, at 7 p.m.: Todd Bland, Head of School, David Ball, Upper School Principal and Indu Singh, Dean of Teaching and Learning
- Thursday, March 4, at 7 p.m.: Class III Parents’ Zoom Team Trivia Night with Host Brian Jones
- Saturday, March 6, at 8 p.m.: Class IV Parents’ Zoom Team Trivia Night with Host Brian Jones
- Monday, March 8, at 8 p.m.: Class II Parents’ Zoom Team Trivia Night with Host Brian Jones
- Tuesday, April 6, at 7 p.m.: Monthly update from Rod Skinner, Dean of College Counseling
- Tuesday, April 13, at 7 p.m.: Heather Sugrue, Academic Dean and Jose Ruiz, Dean of Students
Please note that all meetings will be recorded and emailed to parents after the meeting for those who are unable to attend.
Three students casually singing together their freshman year have turned into an established trio with more than 43,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel. Henry Wilde ’21 and Conner Hartman ’21 became friends in freshman math class and they often discussed their common interest in music. Although Wilde and Hartman did not consider themselves singers, both knew Dash Evett ’21 was one, and the three decided to perform together at that spring’s Beatnik, an open mic event run by students.
In a typical year for the Robotics Team, members spend long hours in the robotics lab together, building and rebuilding their robots to get ready for tournaments. This school year, much of that work has gone virtual.
Although the pandemic restrictions on in-person building and competition have been challenging, the season—filled with virtual skills events and international tournaments—has demonstrated what makes robotics special: thinking creatively, developing solutions, and working together.
It’s been an unusual but successful year so far for the Speech and Debate Team. They kicked off 2021 competing at the Massachusetts Speech and Debate League’s Happy New Year Tournament, earning several first-place honors in all three divisions of debate as well as numerous speech categories. With all the tournaments held online, students have had to adapt and shift their approach leading to both opportunities and challenges.
Jack Burton’s ’22 primary event is Humorous Interpretation (HI), but he also competes in Duo Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation. He says the virtual format, especially for interpretive pieces, changes the way the competitor interacts with the audience.
Historian Brenna Wynn Greer spoke about “the perils of symbolic Blackness” and how popular Civil Rights history focuses simplistically on the nonviolent version of Martin Luther King, Jr., rather than the complexities of who he was as a person and an activist. Greer, an associate professor of history at Wellesley College, was this year’s MLK Jr. Day speaker.
Greer said the symbolic King is seen as a kind and gentle Black activist and that, “as a nation, we remain heavily invested in this symbolic King. This is a problem because symbolic King encourages simple and sanitized histories of the Black freedom struggle.”
She Kills Monsters
In this year’s winter play, She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms, sisters Agnes and Tilly couldn’t be more different. Agnes delights in fitting in and being an “average” high school girl, while Tilly, a Dungeons and Dragons aficionado with a wild imagination, can’t help but stand out. When Tilly, played by Talia Sherman ’22, suddenly dies, Agnes, played by Lucy Hirschfeld ’21, finds herself on a quest through the D&D world, following a module Tilly created and hoping to connect with her sister. As Agnes meets her sister and a band of interesting adventurers in the fantasy world, a series of funny and dramatic events unfolds.
In case you missed it, enjoy this special encore of the performance just for parents this week.
(Password is “SKM2021”)
A Tribute to Miles Davis
In Bob Sinicrope’s Advanced Jazz class, Milton’s musicians pay tribute to the legendary jazz trumpeter player Miles Davis.
Gracie Denneen (bass), Charlotte Torrey (trumpet), Ella O’Hanlon (clarinet), Quince Berkeley (drums), and Sebastian Park (piano) perform Footprints.
Jasper Burnes (drums), Sam Dunn (piano), Yavuz Shazhad (bass), and Oliver Weissleder (clarinet) perform Tune Up.
COVID-19 Essential Workers
Watch this short documentary film, COVID-19 Essential Workers, created by Lily Zavolas ’21 as part of her senior project in Milton’s Advanced Portfolio: Film course.
View more student projects on Milton’s filmmaking Vimeo site.
A Stroll Through the Nesto
Take a quick walk around Milton’s Nesto Gallery to view students’ work on display at the Drawing and Sculpture Show.
Visual Arts Virtual Exhibition
Boarders Are Back
It’s great to see the houses alive again with students this semester. Follow all the fun on Instagram.
Save the date
Milton’s Giving Day is Thursday, April 22, 2021. Join alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends from around the world as we unite around the common goal of supporting all that makes Milton exceptional.
The Development and Alumni Relations office regularly hosts events to connect parents and alumni to the School and one another and to spotlight members of our accomplished community. Check out past event recordings, including a webinar with Rudy Tanzi, PhD, P’26, a leading Alzheimer’s researcher. Dr. Tanzi offers insights on taking control of your brain health.