On Friday, December 11, a crowd of parents, students, and friends gathered in the
HBHS auditorium to enjoy Blues and Funk Night, a musical production showcasing many of HB’s talented artists.
The stage was mostly dark, but bright lights beamed down from the high ceilings of the auditorium, illuminating the performers. Guitars, a keyboard, a set of shiny drums, saxophones, and trumpets were displayed onstage. A talented group of students gathered under the bright lights to perform, each showcasing a unique talent.
Supervisor Mark Illingworth said he thought the show “went wonderful[ly] — it was fantastic.” Illingworth is the head of events similar to this, such as Guitar Night. The only thing that was unplanned happened at the end of the show, when “the bands changed the order of the songs”. The show was incredible from the audience’s perspective as well. Wild applause filled the small auditorium after every song and often in the middle of the show after an impressive solo (of which there were many). “I thought the show was very good. Everyone is very talented,” said Nicole Poitras ‘17.
“It was a blast to have the opportunity to perform with senior friends like Andrew Carr, Nick Sengstaken, and Vanessa Hale, all of which will be carrying on their love of music into college next year. My favorite song would have to have been “Just the Two Of Us” by Bill Withers,” said Abbey Kotelly ‘17. Kotelly sang in many of the songs performed Friday night.
In between songs, while the musicians prepared for their next number, Ava Occhialini and Bradley Simpson acted as Masters of Ceremony, keeping the audience entertained while they waited. There were jokes, and lots of puns — that is until performer Takuma Okada ‘16 asked Simpson to “stop punishing us” with his humor. “It was my first time MC-ing, and it was a really cool experience,” said Ava Occhialini ‘17. The MC’s added a lot to the show, however there wasn’t much planning that went into their wildly funny improvisations. They discussed “some things to talk about, but we didn’t script ourselves,” said Occhialini.
A lot of behind-the-scenes work went into the show, something the audience can never fully appreciate. “Students prepare on their own. They auditioned a month ago. The night before [the show] we have a rehearsal together and they practice all together,” said Illingworth. “We rehearsed in garages and basements to prepare [for] the show,” said Kotelly.
Illingworth said that “one person who’s worth noting is Andrew Carr. He did a lot to pull bands together –– [to] make them rehearse.” Carr, a senior at HB, plays the guitar, and was a part of almost every song performed last Friday. Illingworth said that Carr plans on being a music teacher and hopes to bring Guitar Night to his future school. “So Guitar Night is having a baby” Illingworth said happily.
Another person who hardly gets the recognition he deserves is Mike Clark. “We’re always thankful to Mike Clark because he does the sound really well and that just adds a lot to the show. We’re really lucky to have him [because] he’s like top notch –– professional,” said Illingworth. Learn more about Clark by visiting his website www.clarkcreative.org.
“This year, Blues and Funk night was really about getting some new people involved in the Guitar Night series, like saxophone playing sophomores Jamison Muckstadt and Julia Wertz, and Peter Szczeszynski on piano,” said Kotelly. The music department is always looking for new musicians. Illingworth said that any students who plays an instrument but are unsure of how to get involved in shows like Blues and Funk Night can text @jimmypage to the number 81010 to receive announcements and information. If students are looking for other people to perform with, Illingworth said that “if they come and let me know [room 217] I can sometimes get them people to play with.”
At the end of the show, there was “a big funk finish”, as described by the program. A large group of students, almost everyone who had performed so far, gathered together on the stage to sing “Forget you”, “September”, and the popular song “Uptown Funk”. “Uptown Funk was so much fun and the audience [knew] all the words,” said Kotelly. Nick Sengstaken donned a Christmas hat, adding to the fun. The show was a huge success, and according to Illingworth, it may have been one of the music department’s best shows yet. Look for posters around the school for the next show you can attend — or even be a part of.