The high school’s Rock Band fosters group connection to build an impressive reputation
The high school’s Rock Band, founded four years ago by Wellesley parents hoping to pass down their love of music to students, now flourishes as a student-led band of 18 musicians. Led by Sophie Coté ’24 and Mason Kahn ’24, the band exists not only as a means of expression through a variety of genres, but also as a safe space for collaboration and bonding. These students work passionately to share their love of music with others, composing and organizing two performances in the high school’s Little Theater and surrounding towns throughout the year.
This year, the band’s success and popularity can be most attributed to the new leadership of Coté and Kahn, who curated a constructive and supportive atmosphere to share their love of music with audiences. They took the initiative to elevate their club to a renowned group performing for the high school and beyond. Coté, wanting to build the band into something more than an unknown club, was inspired to become a leader with Kahn and immediately got to work.
“At the time, there wasn’t a lot of organization in place, and I thought it could be better,” said Coté. “I saw opportunities to become bigger than what we were, and I loved the prospect of it.”
The band experienced a significant breakthrough after being scouted by the Amazing Things Art Center (ATAC) in Framingham. They now eagerly anticipate performing there on March 25 and the outside exposure that the opportunity presents.
At the end of April, the band plans to perform for the Wellesley Education Foundation (WEF) with an audience of over 250 people. They picked up unprecedented traction this year after receiving a multitude of interest from performing arts centers to local organizations. They are becoming so popular that they are on the eve of having to turn down gigs.
“A lot of people are surprised with our success and talent, because they don’t expect a student-run band to do so well,” said Kahn.
Under Coté and Kahn’s leadership, the band has not only increased their visibility and support, but also has developed an open forum to foster communication and self-confidence.
“[Being student-led] is so freeing. Our first year , we were run by an adult, and it felt harder to speak freely or ask questions,” said member Kathryn Fischmann ’23. “Now it’s easier to get points across and understand things on the same level as others.”
To draft such an impressive and dedicated group of musicians, Coté and Kahn test for several attributes during auditions: one’s preparation, attitude, and potential talent. The most important one, however, is the passion that compels a student to audition. These standards are what led the club to where they are today, and remain active as they continue to grow their membership.
“Shaping the image of the band is the biggest change we’ve gone through in the past four years,” said Fischmann. “Who we are, and what we do, continues to grow.”
The way in which the leaders and members speak of the band is indicative of their enthusiasm for both music as well as the friendships made during collaboration among members.
“I simply adore everyone in the band,” said Coté. “Everyone is devoted to helping one another learn.”
To reach the current level of connection, the leaders integrated more ‘Rock Band hang-outs’ to initiate excitement and motivation. Together, they watch movies, play games, and hold friendly cooking competitions.
“[These plans] elevate the social dynamic, so we’re closer to a friend group performing music together rather than a strictly music-based group who come together for rehearsals and then go their separate ways,” said Kahn.
Any type of performing arts, more than anything, brings students from various grades, social groups, and personalities together.
“[In the band], one way or another, you’re going to be talking to someone that you might not normally interact with,” said Coté.
As they’ve grown the club to its impressive status today, Coté and Kahn work tirelessly to refrain from monopolizing their leadership roles. They work to foster initiative and leadership across the entirety of the band. Everyone has the opportunity to try new ideas and contribute to decisions and the creation of their setlists.
“We strive to cater to the skills of the members we have,” said Coté. “If they believe they can successfully do something different, we always let them try it out.”
Celtics and Bruins dominate their respective sports
Boston sports fans are used to expecting a high level of performance from their sports teams, and the teams have certainly lived up to these expectations, as the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins are arguably both the favorites to win the championship in their leagues.
As of March 21, the Celtics are 50-23, sitting 2.0 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference despite a recent slump. The Celtics, fresh off an appearance in the 2022 NBA Finals, are just behind the Bucks as the betting favorites to win the 2023 NBA Finals, thanks to their stellar regular season play.
The Celtics are led by forward Jayson Tatum, who is a candidate for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award, as well as guard Jaylen Brown, who along with Tatum was recently named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
The deep supporting cast includes reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, veteran big man Al Horford, athletic center Robert Williams, and two dynamic guards in Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White, the former of whom is the favorite for the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
“Having guards like Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon, who would be starters on most teams, come off the bench is a big luxury,” said English teacher Mr Daniel Joseph, an avid Celtics fan. “Having these additional playmakers will prove to be huge in a tough playoff series against a team like the Milwaukee Bucks.”
But this season has not been without adversity. Ime Udoka, who coached the Celtics to the Finals last season, was suspended by the team for the entire season after ‘multiple violations of team policy’, which was later revealed to be for inappropriate conduct towards a female employee. As a result, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla was named the interim head coach, now the NBA’s youngest head coach at 34 years old.
Under Mazzulla, the Celtics’ offense has thrived, scoring the 4th most points per game and the second most three-pointers per game in the NBA. The interim tag was removed from Mazzulla’s job title on February 16, officially ensuring he will be the head coach for the near future.
“I think Mazzulla has done a fantastic job this season,” said Joseph. “Being a first year NBA head coach, he is still learning things like when to call a timeout to stop a run or how to solidify the rotations, but I have a lot of confidence in him as the coach of the future.”
Meanwhile, the Bruins are 54-11-5 as of March 22, and have the most points in the NHL with 113. For comparison, the Carolina Hurricanes are second in the NHL with 100 points. As such, it’s not hard to see why the Bruins are also the betting favorites to win the Stanley Cup.
The Bruins made a controversial coaching change this offseason by firing head coach Bruce Cassidy, who previously led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2019, and hiring Jim Montgomery, the former head coach of the Dallas Stars. But under Montgomery, the Bruins have the best record in the league.
“Montgomery has been awesome,” said Matt Baldinger ʼ23. “We’re the fastest team to 100 points in NHL history. That says it all. He holds players accountable, and is a very likable guy.”
The Bruins are led by superstar right winger David ‘Pasta’ Pastrnak, arguably the most talented player in Boston sports right now. Pastrank has scored 44 goals this season, trailing only Connor McDavid in that mark. The 26 year old recently agreed to a monumental eight year, 92 million dollar extension that should keep him with the Bruins for a long time.
Another integral piece of the Bruins success is goalie Linus Ullmark; the 29 year old Sweden native leads the NHL with a 93.8 percent goals saved percentage. He also set a record by achieving 25 wins faster than any goalie in NHL history.
Like the Celtics, the Bruins boast a deep roster: a talented offense led by Pastrnak, veteran stalwarts Patrice Begeron and Brad Marchand, and recent additions like Pavel Zacha and Taylor Hall. The defense is also very strong, with Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, and Brandon Carlo leading the way.
Despite already being the best team in the league record-wise, the Bruins were aggressive at the March 3 trade deadline. They acquired defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals, and added forward Tyler Bertuzzi from the Detroit Red Wings, giving up a future first round draft selection in both trades. This win-now approach is not without risk, but it shows how committed Boston is to going all-in in pursuit of a championship.
“Their depth is their greatest strength,” said Baldinger. “The addition of Hathway, Orlov, and Bertuzzi was huge for the success of a team that has really good players already.”
Ultimately, the playoffs will determine how we remember these teams, and not the regular season. But if all goes well, it’s possible that Boston could have a joint Duck Boat championship parade this summer.