Wintertide Arts Festival sees another successful year

The third annual Wintertide Art Festival found its way back into the basement hallways of Nantucket High School Thursday, January 10th. From 5:00 to 7:00 pm, a collaboration between the English, Art, and Vocational departments brought forth a display of both audio and visual student art to the public eye. While the temperature outside dropped to a chilly 29 degrees, the heat rose in the downstairs of the high school as over 75 bodies shuffled in and out of the cramped space. Previously, the Wintertide Art Festival consisted mainly of two dimensional paintings and drawings as well as some student ceramic works. However, this year the Art department welcomed in many new classes and events.

While the display was going on in the bottom floor, students climbed on stage upstairs at the Mary P. Walker auditorium for Poetry Out Loud, a poetry memorization competition amongst high schoolers. Phaedra Plank won the evening with a strong reading of her selected poem, and fellow junior Tori Dixon was first runner up. Poetry Out Loud has been a reoccurring event at the high school, but new this year as part of the Wintertide Art Festival. Students begin the competition in their English classes where two were selected to move forward. However, due to varying participation, students can enter the schoolwide competition without going into a preliminary round. As the winner, Plank will now be on the road to compete at the Southeast regional competition.

In addition to the poetry competition, the vocational classes at Nantucket High School were also given the opportunity to participate in the art festival. Culinary provided various appetizers including cod cakes, cheesy stuffed potatoes, and various pastries. While admiring the artwork, visitors enjoyed the these delicious treats. Culinary club members Deja Lewis and Dequan Thompson worked with Chef Tom Proch to create the snacks and were seen shuffling in and out of the basement all evening.

Mike Girvin’s woodshop classes were also newly displayed at the art festival. Perhaps one of the most impressive pieces was freshman Camden Knapp’s wooden surfboard made of pine. Cooper Norris, who has been taking woodshop for a couple years now, also contributed some stained Adirondack chairs displayed on both sides of the room. Cutting boards and shelving were also laid out for viewing, and many parents stopped to observe the results of weeks of work and preparation.

However, many of the original elements of the Wintertide Arts Festival remained. Most of the creations on display came from more commonly thought of arts. Art, Graphic Design, and Digital Art teacher Merrill Mason asked her students to pull together some of their favorite pieces they wanted on display for the show.

Mason admitted, “I love seeing all the people come to appreciate the work the students put in. I will say, although, there are far less traditional pieces than normal.” Mason points out the mass amount of art displayed in her room that came from her Digital Photo and Graphic Design classes. Most of the wall is covered by Digital Photo, in which there are four blocks of classes alone. The more traditional art is able to fit nicely into the smaller ceramics room, where they are displayed on easels. The traditional art seemed to get more attention as well, as many parents and visitors took photos of senior Britney Anderson’s portrait paintings.

NHS Athletic Director Christopher Maury, an attendee at the festival commented, “Every year I come to this, I see how talented the kids are at our school. The artwork displayed blows my mind, it’s truly impressive.” One of Maury’s favorite pieces came from Senior Marina Caspe, who painted various animals onto her ceramics bowl.

Teachers and parents were not the only ones who enjoyed this event either. Students from freshmen to seniors could be seen wandering the hall, whether they were looking at their own work or that of a classmates. While students are required to submit a piece from most classes, students have expressed their appreciation for the event. Sophomore Sydney King, a Digital Photo student, said, “I really love how people can see and comment on my work. It makes me feel confident and proud of all the hard work I do.” King’s favorite piece is a photo taken of sophomore Waverly Brannigan in which she used to post photo manipulation to change the physical look of the photo. Other students could also be seen admiring their work, including, Macy Crowell, Britney Anderson, Cooper Norris, and Marina Caspe.

The Wintertide Art Festival was more successful than ever this year. Participation had greatly exceeded expectations and the variety of contributions from live music to food made the evening all the more enjoyable. Once again, the art department pulled together an incredible event and added a whole new dimension to the art program here at Nantucket High School.

 

By Anna Steadman

Features ediotr

Plank wins third Poetry Out Loud competition

For the third year in a row, Phaedra Plank was named the winner of the Nantucket High School Poetry Out Loud competition after a hard-fought contest at the High School Auditorium on January 10th. Plank has emerged victorious in the competition all three years she has competed, this time winning for her recitation of the poem “Through a Glass Eye, Lightly” by Carolyn Kizer. Tori Dixon, the second place winner, recited “Love of My Flesh, Living Death.” by Lorna Dee Cervantes.

“It’s been a wonderful experience participating in Poetry Out Loud these past few years,” Plank said. “It’s a special program that I really hope we continue embracing at NHS.” Plank will now advance to the regional round, and potentially the state or even national level.

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest, created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, working with State Arts Agencies in all 50 states, Washington D.C, the U.S Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. State winners receive 200 dollars, along with another 500 dollars for their schools, and runners up are given 100 dollars and 200 dollars for their schools. The state final will be held on March 10th. The national semifinals will occur on April 30th, and the tournament will conclude with the national finals on May 1st. Both the national semifinals and the national finals are hosted in Washington, D.C.

Students competing in the state finals, national finals and semifinals will be judged by the same criteria as they were judged by on the school level. While this includes accuracy, correctly remembering all of the words is only a part of a successful recitation. Students are also graded on voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding of the poem’s material, and overall performance. There is more complexity to the higher levels of the competition, however. Students will, of course, be performing at larger venues in front of larger crowds. More than that, however, they will have to have multiple poems memorized. Both the state and national finals require that the competitors have three poems committed to memory, at least one of which is under twenty-five lines, and at least one of which was written before the twentieth century, though the same poem can fulfill both requirements. They will then have to recite all three of these poems, to provide judges for a wider frame of reference from which to judge the contestants. At the school level, students only need to memorize and recite a single poem.

The contest actually begins at a classroom level, with students memorizing poems to recite in the classroom, in keeping with the rules given by Poetry Out Loud. This way, students could judge whether they would want to recite their poems in front of a crowd beforehand, and they would have experience with the poem and a better understanding of it. Then, the students chosen to move on to the school wide contest have more time to continue memorization and work on their performances before the contest.

A total of 26 students recited poems that night on January 10th, which lasted from six in the evening to just after seven, bravely taking the stage and performing under a spotlight in front of the darkened auditorium. Aside from the microphone at the center of the stage, students were not allowed any props and had to command the attention of the audience with just their voices and the poems they were reciting. This audience was a mix of parents and students, with a handful of teachers in the mix, totaling around 50 people. All four grade levels were represented among the contestants, though freshman had the largest contingent, perhaps signaling a bright future for the event.

Organizer and English teacher James Kuratek was excited about the event from the beginning, and about its future, saying “I think it’s going to be a great success… we were very impressed with the performance last year and we are anticipating an even better performance this year.” He was proven right, as the competition went off without a hitch.

The competition was judged by a variety of teachers. Cyrus Peirce Middle School teacher Deanna Avery, Stephen Sheppard, and Rebecca Hickman scored the participants, while Nantucket High School teachers Robert Norton kept track of accuracy, Page Martineau prompted, and Elissa Gilgen emceed. NHS english teacher Stacey Edzwald tallied the scores to determine the winner at the end of the performances. While Edzwald calculated, sophomore JohnCarl McGrady recited “Jabberwocky,” by Lewis Carroll.

It was after this that Plank was named the school champion, and Dixon was awarded second place. They shook a few hands on stage and the event concluded.

After the event, Plank had a few words of advice for prospective competitors. “I think the key to doing well is picking a poem that really connects with you. If you feel passion for your poem, it will be easier to put emotion and meaning into your performance, and you’ll get more from memorizing and analyzing. The other key is to try to ignore self-consciousness and doubt; you have to put your all into the poem, and the chances are good that no one’s laughing at you.”

 

By JohnCarl McGrady

Finance director

Nantucket Culinary Club to travel for state competition

 

The Nantucket Culinary Club has been working hard and continuing to improve in preparation for the 12th annual Massachusetts ProStart Student Invitational. The competition will be held on February 12th in Gillette Stadium. Mr. Proch, the Culinary teacher for Nantucket High School, is entering with a team of four students: seniors Michael Bartley, Malkia Blake, and Vainius Valentukevicius, and junior Sydney Higgins. The students will be competing against thirteen other high schools from Massachusetts.

In the competition, Mr. Proch explains that “you are required to make two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts, and you have a total of 60 minutes to prepare these dishes. We practice our set menu every day so by the time competition comes these guys can do it with their eyes closed. During these competitions, there is a lot of outside stimulus going on so each student must focus and know what their jobs are.” The team has assembled a menu and practiced every day after school to get their recipes precise and prepare themselves for completing them in such a short amount of time.

Not only will each team be judged on the presentation of their menus, but also how each person carries themselves, how they dress, and how each team sets up their cooking station. The competition will be judged by an outstanding panel of chefs and guest judges.  The judges include Jarvis Green, who is not only the owner of the restaurant Oceans 97 but is also a former Patriots player; WCVB Channel 5 Anchors Maria Stephanos and Tatiana Rosana; Executive Chef of the Envoy Hotel and Boston’s most recent “Chopped” champion, Tiffany Lopinsky; Boston-based blogger and Founder of Boston Foodies, Patrick Renna; CFO of Wahlburgers, Ryan Dion;  and COO of 110 Grill, Evviva Trattoria.

The team hopes to impress the judges with their outstanding menu. Senior Vainius Valentukevicius commented, “our appetizer is fresh pasta with sautéed shrimp which is garnished with tomato, scallions, and basil. And then our main dish is duck breast with sautéed spinach, red cabbage, and a potato galette. Its garnished with thyme and tourneaud apples. Then for dessert, we have crepe suzette which are crepes with an orange flavored sauce. It has orange zest, mint leaves and a candied tangerine for garnish and there is whip cream on the side” They are confident that this menu will secure them a spot in the national competition.

If the group advances through the ProStart competition, they will take part in the  National ProStart Student Invitational on March 8th through the 10th in Washington DC. There they will compete against 48-50 other high schools from all over the country. We hope that they will come out with a win and that their hard work pays off.

 

By Ruby Dupont

Contributing Writer

Nantucket High School prepares for “Wonderful Town”

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One of the most anticipated events of each school year is the annual spring musical, directed by Erin Maciver. Following last year’s “The Music Man”, composed by Meredith Willson, this year’s actors will bring to life Leonard Bernstein’s “Wonderful Town”. The piece takes place in New York City in 1935, following sisters Ruth and Eileen Sherwood as they attempt to adjust from their life in small town Ohio and make it big in New York. The piece was written in 1953 as a musical adaptation of the autobiographical short stories of Ruth Mckenny titled “My Sister Eileen.” This book of short stories became a play under the same name in 1940 before the story made its final transition to a musical. Ruth and Eileen McKinley followed the same initial story as their characters, moving from Ohio to New York and living in a dingy apartment in Greenwich Village, however almost every other character and event in the play is fictional. “Wonderful Town” premiered on Broadway in 1953 and was eventually taken off broadway in 1966. It won five Tony Awards including Best Musical.

At Nantucket High School, “Wonderful Town” features many familiar faces on the stage as well as many new ones. The roles of Ruth and Eileen are personified through talented actresses Nicole LeBlanc and Maisie Cocker, respectively. The two quickly discover that the city life isn’t nearly as glamorous as they had hoped when they see their living arrangements: a dismal apartment owned by Mr. Appopolous (Ben Rudd), the village landlord. Whilst job hunting, Ruth meets Robert Baker (Beck Barsanti), who tells her the truth about how rare success is in New York, urging her to seek a writing career back home in Ohio. Eileen, however, is attracting the attention of most men in the city, most notably Frank Lippencott (Matt Nesselrodt), a manager at Walgreens, and Chick Clark (Peter Bulger), a sleazy newspaper editor. As the plot progresses, romances blossom and tensions arise as Ruth and Eileen realize that they’ve bitten off a lot more than they can chew. The dynamic between Eileen’s impulsive, good natured outlook on life and Ruth’s often skeptical and cynical attitude makes up most of the humor, conflict, and tension in the show.

At the moment, the cast is blocking the show, meaning that MacIver and choreographer Amanda Harrington are bringing the scenes from the scripts to the stage and plotting where each cast member will move and what they will do. The cast of veteran actors and brand new thespians alike is very excited to continue with the rehearsal process and eventually get to the actual performances. When asked about what excites them the most about “Wonderful Town,” many of the veteran cast members agreed that acting with a lot of the new actors and seeing what the future of NHS theatre could be is very exciting. Likewise, many new actors are excited to try their hand at theatre at NHS and are looking forward to acting alongside of their peers. Seasoned senior actress Nicole Leblanc is mainly excited to “share the stage with some of my favorite people one last time,” and to “share a story of love, family, and chasing adventure. I think it’s the perfect way to finish senior year.” First-time actor Alec Vollans urges audience members to keep their eyes peeled during ensemble numbers for, “the fun little details contained within every scene.” Every actor plays a role in “Wonderful Town,” and even if you aren’t a main character, you serve to advance the plot in some way shape or form, making the musical excellent since every part is important and every actor is vital.

“Wonderful Town” is still early in production, but right now all members of the cast and crew are very excited to share this story with the wider Nantucket audience. The show opens on Thursday March 14th and runs until the Sunday the 17th. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday’s shows all start at 7 with a Sunday Matinee at 2.

 

By Beck Barsanti

Contributing Writer

NHS ensemble completes another succesful concert

The last band concert of first semester took place on January 23rd, when fourteen students filled the stage equipped with a multitude of instruments. This year’s band is comprised of three trumpet players, two saxophone players, a flutist, three guitar players, one bassist, four percussionists, and a trombone, with Mr.Wendelken accompanying on the piano. Freshmen Riley Williams and Ryan Downey make up the trumpet section, and sophomores Tadhg Cawley and Daniel Murphy perform the saxophone, while freshman Porter Corbett takes on the trombone. Freshman Marc Anthony Edwards, sophomore Jehren Buckley and senior Colin Harrington take the stage as percussionists, with sophomore Jordin Graves, junior Alecsander Volans, and senior Sawyer Phillips shredding on guitar. Senior Michael Humphrey ties it all together with the bass.

To kick off the night, the band opened with a rendition of “Uptown Funk” written by Mark Ronson, and arranged by Michael Sweeney. The rendition the 2014 pop single featured Daniel Murphy with multiple solos on the saxophone.

“I’ve been playing the saxophone for a couple years,” said the sophomore, “so it wasn’t too hard. My favorite piece to play was probably Norwegian Wood.”

Following a stellar performance of “Uptown Funk”, the band carried through the classic “Ain’t No Sunshine”, originally written and sung by Bill Withers, and arranged for the band by Rick Stitzel. This song was a crowd favorite, as Alec Volans highlighted the song with a colorful solo.

Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” made a debut in the arrangement by John Berry. The touching song was quite the choice for high school band, and brought across a genuine and heartfelt message to the older audience, many of whom grew up with Parton’s music.

To finish off the evening, the band took part in the original composition of Norwegian Wood by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. This concert marked the bands’ first use of a sitar, wonderfully maneuvered by Sawyer Phillips. It also served as Phillips last time performing under the guidance of Mr.Wendelken, as he will not be continuing the course into the second semester.

“It was cool,” Phillips looks back, “I’d played the sitar for two weeks before the show so it was definitely nerve wracking, the pros devote their whole lives to that instrument. It was gimmicky for sure, but so was when George Harrison was playing the sitar with the Beatles. I’m glad I got to play a Beatles tune at my last concert because they’re pretty much the best band in the world other than Black Flag, but Mr.Wendelken was never really down with the hardcore stuff. Plus we got to Reggae-ify ‘Ain’t No Sunshine.”

From another point of view, Phillips looks back in frustration. “I’m sad that the school requires gym, because I feel like a couple more band concerts would have been way more useful to me as a human being. Still I’m so happy I got as much time with Mr.Wendelken as I did. I’ve definitely grown as a musician because of him and his class.”

 

By Maeve Cawley

Assisstant editor