October 23, 2017

Students take home gold at New England Theater Conference

By Carolyn Hale '18, Arts Editor

The high school blew away the judges at this year’s New England Theatre Conference (NETC), with students winning 1st place in the Dance and Musical Theatre, second place in Musical Theatre, and 3rd place in Dance and Acting.

The NETC is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the careers of those who participate by awarding recognition to talented actors and dancers. It hopes to nurture support for New England theatre and promote theatre activity.

This last conference marks a decade of participation for the high school. The competition is open to all students, and draws kids students from throughout New England.

The dancers performed several combinations in a group of three.

“We got taught a ballet combination and a jazz combination…we were judged individually. We were judged on technique, performance level, body awareness, and overall performance together,” said Pierce Gillim ’18, who won third place.

Gillim, who won first place in dance at the conference last year, remarked that “[The performance this year was] a lot harder. There were more judges, the combination was harder, and it was more thorough.”

Sofia Ko ’19, who won second place in Musical Theatre, could not believe the unbelievable talent at the competition. “I did not expect to win at all. I had to go first, so then I sat and watched everyone else go. Everyone was so amazing and I really didn’t expect it. When they called my name, I was shocked… I was frozen. It was awesome, a great feeling!”

Each actor performed in front of a panel of three judges and the rest of the competitors. Ko compared the experience to “the X factor”.

The Musical Theatre performers each choose two songs to present to the judges.

“I sang Take Me or Leave Me from Rent and Blue Wind from Spring Awakening. Each of the judges sent you home with a score card,” said Ko. “It was just how well you get into character and the song. Everyone was really nervous, so faking a lot of confidence really helps!”

Ko attributes some of her success to Stephen Wrobleski, the acting teacher.

“For musical theater, the competition asks you to choose two songs and I asked Wro for a second song. I would go in his office every day after school and sing for him. He’d give me advice, and he’d do that for all the other kids too….the [Musical Theatre] program is so great because of Wro. He creates a safe space for us that allows us to act and express ourselves in any way that we want. It really helps us improve our skills overall,” said Ko.

Wrobleski loves sending kids to the competition, believing that it makes each student a better actor. “It’s great for students to perform at a high level and to perform in front of students from all over New England. Also, it’s great for the students to watch other students perform so they can examine the work and then compare it to their own.”

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