By: Juliet Giangregorio '20
Each year, the Danvers High School Select Vocal Ensembles (Chamber Singers and the A Cappella Groups) hold their auditions for new members. Scary, I know. From the outside, the auditions might seem very competitive and intimidating. But, as someone who has auditioned a couple of times, I can assure you that it is not as nerve-wracking as it seems. Actually, it’s quite exciting. The process is simple to audition for the a cappella groups: pick a contemporary pop song you like, and sing a verse and the chorus. Then, Mr. Grover tests your range, and your ability to sing a part of one of the group’s songs. Voilà. That’s it. Mr. Grover also asks some questions about your day at school, your favorite class, or even your hobbies to break the ice and make you feel more comfortable if you’re nervous. Personally, I get very nervous. I always think of the worst thing that could happen, instead of focusing on reality. But, some of my friends have some pretty funny stories about their auditioning experience.
Even if you’re like me, and get freaked out about auditions, I promise that you’ll be okay. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get into a group, and every time you audition you gain more experience and confidence. I know that I’ve grown from the first time I’ve auditioned for anything to now. Plus, you’re supposed to do one thing that scares you everyday, right? Here are some auditioning tips:
Congrats to Emily DiStasio, Anissa Knight, Charlotte Larson, Gabby Sherrick, Victor Stiles, and Craig Zorzy for their acceptance into Chamber singers, John Ferriera, Anna Krisko, Amanda Larson, Sam Patterson and Jazmine Wallimann on their acceptance into Falconize, Lily Albiero, Cynthia Boyd, Caitlin Emery, Allison Kasprzak, Haley Murphy and Lilli Peluso on their acceptance into Ingrid Sound, and Ivy O’Connell on her acceptance into Deception! Everyone is so excited to meet the new members of the groups.
By Guest Blogger: Emma Quigley '18 from The Flying Onion
On Saturday, February 4th, Falconize swept the floor at the ICHSA (International Championship of High School A Cappella) quarterfinals. They secured first place with 389 points - 93 points ahead of the second place group. This wins Falconize a chance to move on to the ICHSA Northeast Semifinals at Worcester State University on March 11th, along with the other top groups from the quarterfinals in the Northeast.
Not to mention, all special awards, some of them being ties, were awarded to Falconize. Senior Siobhan Breen was awarded Outstanding Soloist for “All Too Well,” sophomore Jared Casey was awarded Outstanding Vocal Percussion for the entire set, junior Isabella Burrell was awarded Outstanding Arrangement for the entire set, and Falconize was also awarded Outstanding Choreography.
Out of the eight groups that performed, Falconize performed sixth. Many Falconize fans were impatiently waiting to see Falconize blow up the stage. In support of their student singers, Danvers fans came out in full force to cheer on the singers, confident that Falconize would place in the top three, and Falconize did not disappoint.
Isabella Burrell, Falconize’s pitch pipe, says she’s “extremely proud of how well” they “came together as a team and showed everyone what we’re made of!”
Falconize will work even harder for semifinals, because they will be competing against even better groups. There’s no doubt that they will do well, because Falconize can not be beat!
Guest Bloggers: Abby Lantych '17 and Kaitlyn Sullivan '17 from The Flying Onion
Recently, DHS’s Ingrid Sound won the N.E Voices Festival, moving them on to compete in the National A Cappella convention in Memphis, Tennessee. Ingrid Sound is an all-female a cappella group who take their name from singer, Ingrid Michaelson.
N.E. Voices Festival requires groups to submit videos in order to be chosen to participate at the festival. Many groups submitted videos, but only eight groups were chosen to compete.
The girls competed on Friday night, January 27th, against seven other groups in the Northeast.
On Friday night after their performance, it was announced that Ingrid Sound was one of the top three groups. These groups performed an encore performance the following night. After singing the high energy song “The Other Side” by Bruno Mars, one of the directors came out and surprised the group, announcing that Ingrid Sound would be representing N.E Voices in Memphis, Tennessee in April for the National A Cappella Convention.
Similar to N.E Voices, The National A Cappella Convention is a competition where groups submit videos, in hopes of being selected to perform. However, the convention is in Tennessee. This is the first time where N.E Voices has had the opportunity to send the winning group to compete in Tennessee. This is a very big accomplishment for Ingrid Sound because they are the only group in the Northeast competing.
Director Alex Grover proudly commented, “This year Ingrid Sound is committed and focused, and the group's enthusiasm for their music and performances is at such a high level. Every member's passion shined through at the N.E. Voices competition and the group truly earned the accomplishment of the top score.”
Ingrid Sound has also competed in the annual Salem Pitch Trials last May and Haunted Harmonies in October, placing first in both of those competitions as well.
For the next couple of months, Ingrid Sound will be focusing on fundraising for the trip and practicing their set. We wish Ingrid Sound all the best as they are preparing their trip to Memphis!
By: Jamie Boghosian '18
A Cappella Night 2017 was a hit! This year’s headlining act was the Hexachords, a six person a cappella group similar to our own, Deception. Before call times and soundchecks, all chorus students, including those in the a cappella groups, were invited to a workshop held at 4:00pm led by the Hexachords. During the workshop, our three a cappella groups got the chance to take the stage and perform their sets. In return, the Hexachords gave commentary and advice to make the sets even better.
Deception was the first to perform, followed by Falconize, then Ingrid Sound. Members of the Hexachords gave their input on what each group could do to improve. Most of the comments were about having confidence and really getting into the songs. I found the workshop to be very beneficial and helpful towards our performances later on that evening.
As a junior, this was my third year being a part of A Cappella Night. I’ve been in Mixed Chorus, I’ve watched Swingtown, the Northshoremen, and Falconize, and I’ve actually seen the Hexachords in concert before. I was very eager to see Deception, our newest group of the high school, open the show. This year was also the first year that Hawks-in-Harmony, Holten Richmond Middle School’s new group, was invited to make their A Cappella Night debut.
MCing the event was freshman Sam Patterson, member of the Mixed Chorus and the Chorus Executive Committee. He introduced every group with animation and enthusiasm despite how many times his microphone cut out on him. The first two groups he introduced were Deception and Hawks-in-Harmony.
After Deception and Hawks-in-Harmony finished their sets, it was time for the largest group of the night to perform, DHS Mixed Chorus. The group of ninety Danvers High freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors sang “How to Save a Life” by The Fray and “Electric Love” by Borns.
Every year, each student in chorus brings in a song that they’d like to sing and through rounds of voting, we narrow it down to two songs. This year I was very excited because I was the student who brought in “Electric Love”.
Next up was Swingtown from St. John’s Prep who make an appearance at A Cappella Night every year. Hawks-in-Harmony was not the only group to have middle school members. Last year, St. John’s Prep began to include grades 6-8 at their school in addition to grades 9-12, therefore so did Swingtown in their group.
The Northshoremen, who also make yearly appearances at A Cappella Night, came on right after Swingtown. Their group consists of 54 members ranging from men in their forties to men in their nineties. They have been around since 1948 and have been singing at A Cappella night since the very first one in 2013. Along with Hawks-in-Harmony and Swingtown, they created a widely diverse age group of a cappella lovers.
Ingrid Sound was up next! Our set featured songs were “Time Machine” by Ingrid Michaelson, the artist who our group is named after, “Out of the Woods” by Taylor Swift, which was placed on the Varsity Vocals Best of High School A Cappella 2017 compilation album, and “The Other Side” by Bruno Mars, which won “Best Halloween Themed Song” at the Haunted Harmonies Competition held in October. The weekend after A Cappella night, Ingrid Sound competed at NE Voices and won first place for this set! We also won “Best Visual Presentation” and we will be traveling to Memphis, Tennessee this coming April to compete at NACC, the National A Cappella Convention.
When we were finished with our award winning songs, it was time for intermission. Everybody either remained in the auditorium or went towards the lobby to buy something from our annual bake sale. The money raised from the bake sale will go straight towards the Danvers High Choral Program.
Falconize and the Hexachords were the last remaining groups when intermission was over. Falconize performed “All too Well” by Taylor Swift, “Maps” by Maroon 5, and “All Time Low” by Jon Bellion. Two weeks after A Cappella Night, Falconize competed in ICHSA Northeast Quarterfinals and won first place for this set! They also won “Outstanding Soloist” for Siobhan Breen in “All too Well”, “Outstanding Vocal Percussion” for Jared Casey, “Outstanding Arrangement” for Bella Burrell, and “Outstanding Choreography” for their entire set.
When Falconize was finished, it was time for our headliners. The Hexachords came on stage and introduced themselves. They then sang their set to which I was blown away by, even after seeing them prior to A Cappella Night. They were absolutely incredible and the crowd loved them.
When The Hexachords announced that their time at Danvers High was coming to an end, the audience expressed their disappointment. As they were saying their goodbyes, people in the crowd began to shout “Encore, encore!” The group made a last minute decision to invite all the singers from the evening up onto the stage with them to sing and dance along to “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5. The stage was so packed and full of people that I thought it would break! The audience was clapping along and everybody in the room was having a great time. It was a perfect end to a perfect night filled with music and excitement and I cannot wait until next year.
By: Jamie Boghosian '18
On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed into law, a bill which would institute a federal holiday to honor the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man, known by all, who dedicated his life towards peace and equality. Today, as we do every year, the community of Danvers gathered together at the high school to celebrate his memory and his cause. Several groups including Danvers High School’s own Chamber Singers and Students United for Acceptance (SUFA), joined together to commemorate and continue Dr. King’s work. Other communal groups such as the Danvers Committee for Diversity, Danvers Board of Selectmen, Danvers School Committee, North Shore Unitarian Universalist Singing Group, and the Follow Hymn Singers came to celebrate.
In addition to these older groups, there was also influence from the younger children through the abundance of artwork hung on walls and displayed throughout the space of the atrium. All of the artwork shown was made by Danvers students in grades 3 through 12 with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the inspiration. Every piece of art was original, filled with colors, faces, and designs that mirrored the spirit of the ceremony.
The ceremony began with a few speakers, sharing their words of inspiration and welcoming everyone to the event. Members from the Danvers Committee for Diversity, Danvers Board of Selectmen, and Danvers School Committee spoke and soon after, the Chamber Singers were called to the stage to perform. We sang three songs: “Imagine” by John Lennon, a gospel number “Shine on Me”, and “Make Them Hear You” from the musical “Ragtime”. Each song captured the message of the day, hope for a bright and diverse future.
When we were finished with our repertoire, Mrs. Ambrozavitch took the stage along with SUFA members to recite some of Dr. King’s inspirational quotes. The room was silent as the students shared Dr. King’s impactful words.
When SUFA was finished, The North Shore Unitarian Universalist singers stepped up to the risers to perform their set, singing powerful yet upbeat and inspirational songs that featured a tambourine player.
The last musical group, The Follow Hymn Singers made their way to the risers to sing. At the end of their set, they invited Chamber Singers, The North Shore Unitarian Universalist Singers, and other audience members to sing along in “This Little Light of Mine” and “Let There be Peace on Earth”. The audience rose to their feet to sing and clap along and the Unitarian Universalist Singers brought the tambourine.
The unity of the groups on stage echoed Dr. Martin Luther King’s own message of unity and peace and brought a fitting end to a very uplifting ceremony. It was a day where everybody could come together to share music, art, and inspiration, all while celebrating one of our country’s most influential figures.
By: Jamie Boghosian '18
Happy Halloween from Ingrid Sound and Falconize! This October 8th, we took a trip into historic Salem to take part in the Haunted Harmonies competition. To get in the Halloween spirit, our groups dressed up in costumes in hopes of winning the best costume award. Falconize dressed up as Johnny Depp characters ranging from classics like Edward Scissorhands, to the Mad Hatter and Jack Sparrow, while we in Ingrid Sound dressed up as classic vampires. The bus ride to the competition was full of excitement. Ingrid was scheduled to compete, while Falconize tagged along to attend workshops, street sing, and cheer us on. Our groups were the first to arrive at the Salem YMCA, so we made our way into the auditorium where we warmed up together and made last minute adjustments to our costumes. As other groups began to fill in, we saw their costumes, which included cats, skeletons, and characters from The Wizard of Oz.
Once all of the groups settled in, Mr. Grover, cofounder of Haunted Harmonies, gave everyone a warm introduction and a run down of the day’s schedule. Before the competition could begin, Evan Northrup, a street magician, made a grand entrance by running onto the stage to give tips and tricks on how to “busk”, or street perform. He demonstrated one of his magic tricks, taught us how to get (and keep) a crowd, and told us the number one rule of improv; never say no. After Evan’s informative presentation, we made our way down Essex Street towards the Fountain Stage where we were scheduled to compete. Phoenix, a professional all-female a capella group from the Boston area, were the ones to host the event. They opened by performing two of their own songs, and once they were finished, the college division groups were the first to compete.
We waited patiently and nervously, while listening to the college groups sing their sets. Since we were the first high school group scheduled to perform, we took the stage when the collegiate groups were finished. “Don’t forget the point!” Mr. Grover said, in reference to the choreography in one of our songs. We grouped together closely, and a few of the girls shared some inspiring words. As the college group’s song came to an end, we put our hands in the middle and whispered, “One… two… three… Ingrid!”
We sang our hearts out, giving the songs all the energy we had. Everybody was dancing to our song, having a great time. Even some of the judges began to move along with us. (And yes, we remembered the point!)
Once we were finished, we listened to the two other groups we were competing against; The Sachimes from Saugus, and the ArgoNotes from New York City. Both groups were very talented, so we knew we were facing some tough competition.
After everybody performed their songs, we broke for lunch. Off we went into the streets of Salem. There were tons of cute little cafes right in walking distance for us to get a bite to eat.
On our way back to the YMCA from lunch, some of us saw Falconize street singing, earning money which will be put towards the making of our next combined album.
We made it to the YMCA, where we split up and each picked two musical workshops to go to. The four options were Solo Performance, Vocal Percussion, Marketing and Fundraising, and Arranging. I chose Vocal Percussion and Arranging, both taught by Vox One, a professional five person a cappella group. The other two workshops were taught by Phoenix.
Once the workshops were over, it was time to street sing. We were paired up with a group from Emmanuel College, Acapocalypse, and you probably already guessed it, but yes they were dressed up as zombies. We had three designated singing spots that we shared with Acapocalypse right in the middle of the busy Bizzare Bazzare. We sang our sets then moved from place to place. The streets were so crowded that there were points where we were at a complete stand-still trying to get to the next spot. Salem, busy in the middle of October? Crazy, right? The crowds worked to our advantage however, because they made good audiences. We earned a great deal of money to put towards our album using our newfound busking skills.
By the time we finished street singing, we had worked up quite the appetite, and Mr. Grover had something special planned for us. Along with Falconize, we walked down the street where we enjoyed pizza and soda, for dinner and cookies for dessert. It filled us up and it was really nice getting a break to bond a bit.
When everybody was refueled and ready to go, we walked towards Murray Hall where the final results were to be announced. Once all the groups were settled in, co-founder Tina Jordan and Mayor of Salem, Kim Driscoll gave some quick remarks and thanked the people who made the event possible. Phoenix took the stage one last time to give the final results.
The first results they announced were specialty awards including Best Costume. We might not have won Best Costume, but we did win best Halloween-Themed Song for arrangement of “The Other Side” by Bruno Mars. Also, Abbi Foglietta, one of our members, won Best Arrangement for her version of the song “Elastic Heart” by Sia. We stood up and cheered for our group and for Abbi as well.
Finally, the moment had come for Phoenix to announce the Best High School Group. “Drum roll, please…” the Phoenix announcer said. We had waited nine torturous hours for these results. “The best high school group is… INGRID SOUND!” We jumped up out of our seats and screamed. We were ecstatic. Phoenix then announced Upper Structure from Berklee College of Music as the Best Collegiate Group.
We were invited up onto the stage to sing “The Other Side”, our award winning song, and Upper Structure was invited up right after us. After adrenaline filled performances by us and Upper Structure, the night was closed with a special concert by Vox One, who are incredible by the way.
Everybody on the ride home was either exhausted and ready to fall asleep, or still singing songs. Our 14 hour day was full of excitement and adventure. Personally, I had an incredible time competing, street singing, and roaming the spooky streets of Salem and I’m glad I got to do it with my friends in Ingrid Sound. It was an experience none of us will ever forget and I hope we have the chance to do it again next year.
By: Jamie Boghosian '18
This past Tuesday night, the fourth annual Chorus Awards took place in the Danvers High Auditorium. Mr. Alex Grover, the head of the choral department, promised to keep the ceremony “short and sweet” while still honoring the dedication of the students. Parents and family members were invited to come and celebrate their students’ success throughout the school year.
Mr. Grover started off the awards with a short speech praising the “work ethic and talent” that the students have continuously shown. He expressed how proud he was of the chorus as a whole and the individuals who put in extra effort as well.
To begin the evening, participation certificates were presented to every member involved in the choral program including mixed chorus, chamber singers, and the A Cappella groups. Samuel Montanari, DHS senior and member of Falconize, presented the participation certificates to first year students. Jake Roy, also a senior and member of Falconize presented certificates to second year students, and Erin Wood, a senior and member of Ingrid Sound, presented certificates to third year students. Finally, Jared Casey, freshman and member of Falconize, followed the tradition of a freshman presenting seniors with their fourth year participation certificates. Mr. Grover felt especially attached to the departing senior class this year because they were his first freshman when he started to teach at Danvers High. He was very pleased to be able to watch these students mature and flourish throughout their high school careers.
The next three awards, Most Improved, Outstanding Performance, and Outstanding achievement were presented to two students in each grade level. The recipients of these awards were chosen by Mr. Grover for their showmanship of good attendance, good performance, and overall good attitudes towards the organization.
To keep the evening lively and moving along, Ingrid Sound and Falconize continued the tradition of joining together to perform the Elton John and Kiki Dee classic duet “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”. Soloists were Lindsey Richard, senior and member of Ingrid Sound, and Jake Roy, senior and member of Falconize. With the two soloists graduating this year, the parts will be handed down to returning members for years to come.
A large percentage of students were recognized for their extra help and service towards the chorus. Their awards commended them for their work in setting up stages, running bake sales, selling tickets to events, ushering, lighting, and accompanying the chorus with piano, flute, or drums. Mr. Grover says that the students go “above and beyond” to put in additional work which make the events run smoothly and successfully.
The last awards presented to students were plaque awards, where the receiving students’ names were engraved onto plaques in the chorus room. Rookie of the year, an award given to first year students who greatly attribute to the overall success of the chorus was presented to freshman, Clea Matt and sophomore, Nora Chan. The National Director’s award, otherwise known as the Fred Waring award was presented to Jake Roy and Erin Wood. Lastly, the National School Choral award was presented to Kevin Reidy. Mr. Grover explained how he has “a special place in [his] mind and heart for the recipients” because the students showed they were “willing to work really really hard to contribute to the program and to leave their legacy behind”.
As the evening came to a close, Mr. Grover had one last old tradition to fulfill. He called the senior members of Ingrid Sound and Falconize up to the stage to sign photos he took of them at graduation. Each year, the signed photos of senior members are added to the A Cappella cabinets in the chorus room. Mr. Grover started this tradition to recognize and remember the seniors and to have their autographs “just in case they become famous” which he says “is a likely possibility” given their talents.
After a night of following old traditions, Mr. Grover decided to end the ceremony with a new one. Students and family members made their way out to the auditorium lobby to enjoy a blue and white cake with “Danvers High Chorus” written in frosting on the top. Mr. Grover stated, “We were all excited to celebrate a great year of friendship and singing as we enjoyed our new tradition of cake after the awards”.