On the evening of Monday, August 28th, two days before the official start of school, the Concord-Carlisle High School auditorium was already teeming with eager students and parents from CC’s performing arts family.
It was a union of the old and the new: nearly one hundred current and incoming students spanning band, orchestra, chorus, theater, the radio station, and the rock band Reverb (with many students participating in multiple performing arts disciplines) filled the space they consider their home away from home for the first-ever Performing Arts Convocation.
The convocation marks a major milestone in the ever-growing collaboration between the various branches of CC’s performing arts.
“The major goal of the convocation was to continue to break down barriers between the performing arts disciplines at CCHS,” Band & Orchestra director Christopher Noce said. “By getting everyone in the room, literally… we hoped to start building our community early in order to start the school year with clear goals and visions in place.”
Students were welcomed both by familiar faces among the evening’s hosts — CC Theatre director Melissa Charych; CC Theatre production manager Nina Davidson; director of CCHS Bands & Orchestras Christopher Noce; Colonial Sound recording studio Manager Owen Curtin; and WIQH radio station Manager and CC Theatre technical director Ned Roos — and thrilled to finally meet a new one: Choral Director Sarah Grina, who was hired last spring after the retirement of Deborah Smith. The excitement Grina expressed at joining the community was mirrored by an earnest and enthusiastic welcome from the audience.
After students and parents (re)united over pizza, guest speaker Paul Dumas shared inspiring insights from his experience as an avid lover of the performing arts in high school who became a professional in the realm.
Noce, who invited Dumas, called him “a friend and former classmate of mine from Peabody Veterans Memorial High School… He was an integral member of the choral, instrumental and theatre programs and was also really active in the rock and roll scene at our school.”
After “living” in his high school’s performing arts wing for four years, Dumas has gone on to gain impressive experience as a drummer, recording, performing, and touring (and even tour-managing) around the world with artists Ben Folds, Tall Heights, and Ross Livermore, among many others.
Even without noting his additional experience as a percussion instructor, Dumas’ reflections made it evident he was equally passionate about performing and sharing that love with others. His candid depictions of his journey in pursuing a higher education in music, as well as of the combination of the thrill and exhaustion of performing and managing tours, were insightful and heartening for many of the aspiring student artists in the crowd.
The evening concluded with a long-awaited announcement of CC Theatre’s fall play amid the excited drumroll of theater and tech students. Charych announced that the production will be Clue, a comedy-murder mystery based on the popular board game. With auditions on September 5 and 6 and rehearsals starting almost immediately after, CC Theatre is moving fast to get the production underway in anticipation of the performances, which will be held on October 26th, 27th, and 28th.
Noce reflected the sentiment of both the department’s faculty and students when he expressed his hope that the evening allowed students to walk away “feeling inspired and empowered to go forth as stewards and ambassadors of the performing arts at CCHS.”