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”.