The Fall Play

—Jane Dubrova ‘20, Joy Wei‘22

The St. Mark’s Theater Department is happy to announce that this year’s Fall Play is Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by American playwright Tony Kushner. The play explores the AIDS Crisis and the anti-gay sentiment during the conservative Reagan administration of  the 1980s. It mirrors the fear and uncertainty about AIDS that engulfed the nation at that period. The setting of the play takes place in two New York apartments. The story centers around two characters: Prior Walker, a man who is abandoned by his lover when he discovers that he has contracted the AIDS virus and Joe Pitt, a Mormon lawyer who has a troubled marriage.

In addition to theses characters there are also certain supernatural beings, such as angels and ghosts who appear to the actors on stage. The characters in this play are: Prior Walter (a gay man with AIDS, played by Illia Rebechar), Louis Ironson (Prior's boyfriend, Reily Scott), Harper Pitt  (housewife, played by Sydni Williams), Joe Pitt (Harper's Husband, deeply closet gay, played by Kian Sahani), Roy Cohn (closeted gay lawyer, played by Will Lu), Hannah Pitt (Joe's mother, played by Anu Akibu), Belize (Prior's ex-boyfriend and best friend, played by Bethany Batista) and the Angel (messenger from heaven who visits Prior, played by Alex Chen).

Stay tuned for the performance November 14th, 15th and 16th!

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Southborough Sounds Concert Series is Back for Year Two!

—ELISE GOBRON ‘21

St. Mark’s is thrilled to once again host its Southborough Sounds concert series! Spanning from October to May, Southborough Sounds features a new visiting musical group to perform for both the St. Mark’s community and the general public seven times throughout the year. In past years, the Putnam Family Arts Center has been lucky enough to host pianist Ilya Kazanstev and Symphony Pro Musica. This year, St. Mark’s is hosting an equally talented lineup of musicians including the Hermitage Piano Trio as well as welcoming back Symphony Pro Musica and Ilya Kazantsev. St. Mark’s students and faculty are encouraged to attend free of charge. Lessons and Carols on December 9th, Wick Choral Festival on February 1st and 2nd, and Cutler Jazz Festival on April 7th performed by St. Mark’s students are free to the general public.

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Irish Play Blends Humor and Tragedy

—Rebecca Wu ‘21

The St. Mark's Theater Department brought "The Pillowman" to the Black Box Theater on May 10, and May 11.

This emotionally complex play, written by Martin McDonagh, centers around Katurian, a writer who is best known for his gruesome and dark stories. When Katurian is a young boy, he finds out that his brother, Michael, suffers abuse from his parents, and as a result he begins to write stories that resemble parental abuse and child murders. Riley Scott ‘21, who casted as Michael in the play, said the show’s storyline explores the themes of relationship and loyalty. “Michael still chose to get tortured at the end of the show when the Pillowman came up to him because he loved his brother, and his stories would endure getting tortured again just so Katurian could succeed,” he commented.

During the two performances, Angela Li '19, Will Lu '20, Illia Rebechar '20, and Reily Scott '21 gave stellar performance as principal actors. The company which includes Jack Griffin '20, Anu Akib '20, Alex Chen '20 , Libby Flathers '21, Kian Sahani '20, Reevie Fenstermacher '19, and Kevin Takayama '21 also portrayed a whirlwind of characters. Director Mr. Kent said that the company were incorporated into the storyline in a way that seemed seamless and unobtrusive. "Traditionally, all of the story moments are simply spoken by the main character, but I wanted to use a company of actors to create magical moments that transported the audience into the mind of the writer and show them how he saw each story, "he explained. The play was also wonderfully supported by stage managers and crew Felicity Keyzer-Pollard '21, Lauren Tran '22, and Sierra Petties '20.

In August, the cast will be performing at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world's largest arts festival. "I am beyond excited and cannot wait to see our cast on stage in Edinburgh," Mr. Kent said. "They have come together as a unit exceptionally well, and I know they will all soak up every moment. Being surrounded by theater for two weeks will be a real treat!"

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SMAF’s A SMASH! St. Mark’s first Arts Festival is a hit

—Elise Gobron ‘21

On the weekend of May 18th, the 2018-2019 Monitors hosted the very first St. Mark’s Arts Festival, SMAF, on the athletic quad. The Monitors hope that SMAF will help promote the arts and give all of the talented artists here at St. Mark’s a platform to showcase their talents. At the arts festival, there were several categories under which artists could perform including music, poetry, dance, and film.

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The girls A Capella group here on campus, the Royal Blues, were among the first musical acts to perform. After just two weeks of rehearsals, the group was able to debut “I’m Stuck” by Noah Cyrus. The performance featured solos by VI formers Clem McKeown and Mei-Mei Arms, as well as beatboxing by Padma Mynampaty. With seven graduating seniors including Cait Lochhead, June Seong, and Shelby Howard as well as co-heads Haley Dion and Mary Flathers, the performance was one of the collective group’s last performances. While seniors will be dearly missed by the Royal Blues, the group still has a few more performances left in the year.

A number of poets were also able to perform including Bethany Batista, Brendan Peters, and Crawford Wittman. Bethany showcased an original poem in an emotional and captivating performance. Brendan and Crawford found inspiration from the movie 22 Jump Street and preformed a slam poetry scene from the film. Titled “Cynthia”, the comedic slam poetry performance received an abundance of laughter from the audience as well as great applause. While Ms. Adams was unfortunately unable to attend the event, her poem “ ;-) ” was read aloud by advisee Alexander Sumner.

Anishka Yerabothu took the opportunity presented at SMAF to showcase a traditional style Indian dance along with the help of dancers Kate Normandin, Gift Paekul, Laura Sabino, and Ms. Zhu. During this spring term, Anishka taught a Saturday class on traditional Indian dance and choreographed a dance with the dancers who took the class. The dance was set to a mix between “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran and traditional Indian music. The class wore saris and showed what they they had learned over the course of seven Saturday classes classes on the grass of the athletic quad.

One of the other new changes made possible by SMAF was the debut of the annual student directed One Acts. While typically performed in the black box, these short three to five minute skits were instead set up on the athletic quad as well. Kate Normandin was among the sixth form members who chose to direct a one act. One of the two directed by Kate was titled “I Remember the Leg” and showcased actors Haley Dion, Frances Hornbostel, Megan Christy, and Hannah Hassara. In the skit, each actor explained a short interaction their character had with a sole leg creating a comical and entertaining story line.

To conclude the event, short films created by both Colin Capenito and Hans Wu were premiered. Overall the audience awarded great applause to both short films as well as the other acts. With snow cones, cotton candy, and other snacks, audience members were kept full and entertained as many claimed to have thoroughly enjoyed the arts festival. As it is a great way to showcase the artistic talents of many St. Mark's students and earned positive reviews by community members, SMAF was a successful event that students hope will be held in the future.

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Empty Bowls Fill a Need

—Cathy Zhou ‘21

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 11th, St. Mark’s hosted its annual Empty Bowls Sale in the cloisters to raise money for fighting hunger in the world. Led by ceramics teacher Mrs. Belt and her students, the sale successfully raised over $900 dollars for local organizations including the Southborough Food Pantry and the Worcester Country Foodbank. Coinciding with the Reunion Weekend, Spring Trustees Meeting, and Spring Groton Games, the event was highly supported by students, faculties, parents, Alumni, and Trustees.

St. Mark’s first Empty Bowls Sale was initiated by student Lucy Grogan in 2005. Since then, the sale is held annually. According to the organizer of the event, Mrs. Belt, the fundraiser has grown in student involvement, numbers of bowls produced, and interest of the community each year. $900 in raised money was a particular success this year, with a $200 increase from last year.

In 2019, more than 100 ceramics pieces were put up for the sale. These pieces include bowls, cups, mugs, and plates of various colors, shapes, and sizes. Some were coated by shiny glaze or vibrant colors, and others adopted plain colors with different patterns on the outside and curvy shapes. In addition to purchasing delicate hand-made bowls, buyers could also enjoy ice-cream in flavors of vanilla, cookie dough, and mint chocolate chip from Uhlman’s on a sunny afternoon. “The ceramics bowls made Uhlman’s ice-cream taste even better,” said Clara Hua’21.

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According to Mrs. Belt, the sources of this year’s pottery donation were especially diverse. Apart from donations from her Ceramics I and Ceramics II classes, the Empty Bowls Sale also received vases from faculty members, faculty families, and the Clay Club, featuring bowls from Mrs. Belt, Ms. Killeen, Ms. Michelson, Ms. Kiely, and eight pieces from Mrs. Belt’s son, Machias.

This event was much more than an opportunity for the community members to showcase their art, however. While describing her experience in making bowls for the sale, ceramics enthusiast Anni Zhang’21 said, “there’s a layer to the fun that’s added to it when I know there’s a purpose. All my bowls add up to something bigger, something meaningful. I am proud that I could make a difference with my passion for ceramics.”

Volunteers and organizers of this event include Stephanie Moon’19, Zenia Alaron’19, Laura Sabino’20, Bannon Jones’21, Anni Zhang’21, Cathy Zhou’21, Nashua Poreda’22, Jocelyn Cote’22, and Maya Scully’22. Bannon, who is also a passionate ceramicist, talks about her experience in volunteering at this event: “It’s really fun to see all the artwork from different people even if some of them have literally never done pottery before,” she said, “and I loved helping to scoop ice cream and just telling people about the event.”

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St. Mark's Musical Club Spring Performance: "Mamma Mia!"

——By Cathy Zhou ‘21 and Paige LaMalva ‘20

This year’s St. Mark’s annual musical production was “Mamma Mia !” The main character, Donna (played by Mary Flathers ‘19), is a self-employed hotelier in the Greek islands. She is helping her daughter, Sophie (played by Cait Lochhead ‘19), to plan out her extravagant wedding. Meanwhile, Sophie, the spirited bride, has another plan. She secretly invites three men from her mother's past in the hope of meeting her real father and having him escort her down the aisle on her big day.

St. Mark’s Musical Club has a long history. Founded by Ellis Gage ‘17 five years ago, it is a student-led club that puts on a musical in the spring every year. The club holds auditions in early October, and it takes six months of preparation to put together the production. This year, the club has over sixty members across all four forms in its cast and crew. “We are so excited to perform for the community because we have worked so hard to make the show the best it could possibly be,” said the head of the musical club, Shelby Howard.

“Mamma Mia!” was a very intentional choice. According to Shelby, the club chose to perform this musical because of its lively music. “The music in Mamma Mia is all songs that were performed and written by ABBA. Every single song in the show is a jam, including hits like Dancing Queen, Voulez Vous, and The Winner Takes it All.”

According to one of the leading actors, Tommy Flathers ‘21, his favorite part was the song “Slipping Through My Fingers,” Libby Flathers ’21 and Shelby Howard ’19 said that they are most excited for the song “Voulez Vous”. This song is set in a scene at a bachelorette party where Sophie attempts to find out who her father truly is. Lead actress Libby Flathers explained, “We worked so hard on that song. It’s going to be really fun, and I hope the audience enjoys the show.” Shelby Howard ‘19 talked about how the show is full of high-intensity and fun choreography.

Shelby Howard spoke to us before the opening night, Friday 26th. “Opening night is so special because everything comes together like magic. It is also super exciting to see so many kids put themselves out there, and sing and dance for our community. We have an amazing cast and crew, and I could not be more proud of them!” This performance is patiently awaited by the St. Mark’s community yearly. Faculty, students, and friends all gathered to watch their peers put on this incredible student-directed show.


”Mamma Mia!” video link (by SM Funny Movie Corporation): https://youtu.be/pNXzTFIHfto

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Poetry Week a Success

——By Clara Hua ‘21 and Suha Choi ‘22

In the midst of busy days at St. Mark’s, the appearance of green leaves and fresh breezes signal the arrival of spring. While some may choose to take pictures or tell friends about the nice weather, these actions are sometimes insufficient to appreciate the beauty we see around us. Poetry is a great way to capture moments we find meaningful and to express feelings we have towards them.

Celebrating National Poetry Month, St. Mark’s held a Poetry Week from April 22 through 27. Short poems were hung up throughout the hallways and classrooms. As the innumerable all-school emails from Ms. McCann show, various events successfully engaged the entire school in the spirit of poetry. One of the most popular events was the Haiku-for-a-Sundae activity that took place during co-curricular on Monday. Students could make their own sundae as long as they bring entry tickets, which they exchanged with haikus they composed. With food and House Cup points as incentives, no wonder the Hinkle room was buzzing with excitement on Monday! While haiku may have previously seemed unfamiliar to many students, the ice cream event was as a great opportunity for the students to experience haikus excitement. Furthermore, all students and faculty had the chance to wake up to something fun to read each morning thanks to poems Ms. McCann sent out daily.

Following these activities that encouraged students to dive into poetry, the bake sale was an event that influenced more than just the St. Mark’s community. Filled with cookies, brownies, and cupcakes, the bake sales on Wednesday evening was a delight for students going through the week with immense workload and stress. All of the profits from the bake sale were donated to PEN America (pen.org) to help support the freedom to express creativity. There were many more activities including magnetic poetry contest and poetry reading. The evening chapel on April 30th is dedicated to poetry, specifically presenting poetry works of St. Mark’s students. During the chapel, there were recitations of beautiful poems, setting it apart from traditional evening chapels. As the concluding event of poetry week, this evening chapel gathered St. Markers together one more time to appreciate the art of poetry.

While there exist celebration days for almost all kinds of things, not all events provide ways for people to truly connect with topics of celebration. Poetry week at St. Mark’s is an excellent example of celebration events which everyone is able to enjoy and get more out of.

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Cutler Jazz Festival

——By Suha Choi ‘22 and Thomas Li ‘22

On the Sunday night of April 7th, lively sounds of the jazz bands filled the Class of ‘45 Hall. Tthe Cutler Jazz Festival presented successful performances once again this year. The festival was named in honor of Tim Cutler ’89, an avid musician whose passion for music began during his time at St. Mark’s. Followed by his death in 1996 due to an unfortunate car accident, a fund was established in the memory of Tim to create the Cutler Jazz Festival at St. Mark’s.

In the past few years, students have collaborated with numerous talented musicians and bands for Cutler. The school is especially fortunate to have invited the BT ALC band this year. BT ALC is a professional jazz big band from Boston, dedicated to creating original jazz music.

The Cutler festival started with the lively and funky performance of SM Jazz Ensemble I. A group of talented musicians including Kareem Chambers’19 on drums, Jocelyn Cote '22 on trombon,; Ewan Leslie '22 on trumpet, Logan Matthews '22 on tenor saxophone and Arden Williams '22 on flute. They stirred up the atmosphere in the class of 1945 hall by playing Pass the Peas by James Brown and interacting with the audiences. Following is the SM Jazz Ensemble II, featuring Matthew Walsh '19 and Henry Sansone '21 on trumpet, Rick Sarkar '19 on trombone, Alan Zhu '19 on guitar, Leo Xie '19 on bass, Nick Bechard '19 and Julian Yang '20 on tenor saxophone, Truman Chamberlin '20 and Nolan Willoughby '21 on alto saxophone, Laura Drepanos '19 on clarinet, Holden LeBlanc '21 on drums and guest faculty artist David Lubick on baritone saxophone. Their skillful performance and dynamic expressions captivated the audiences. The performance pieces from Jazz Ensemble I included Kenny Dorham's 1963 "Blue Bossa," the 1972 composition "Pass the Peas," and Ben Tucker's 1962 "Come Home Baby." Jazz Ensemble II performed three showstoppers of their own: Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder" (1964), the Miles Davis 1954 classic "Solar," and Josef Zawinul's "Birdland" (1977). The festival concluded with the performance from BT ALC Band. Their splendid performance inspires SM musicians to persist in their practice of jazz in the future. Our very own trumpet player, Matt Walsh, also performed with the professional band and impressed the audiences. A big thanks to all the performers, directors, and audience for taking a part in this wonderful event!

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The Arts vs. STEM

By Charlotte Bertsch ‘21

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In the current educational climate are the arts really seen as mattering as much as science, technology, engineering, and math, more commonly known as STEM? Is STEM seen as more important, or is it simply a lack of interest in the arts? And are the arts at St. Mark’s truly just as important as the STEM classes?


With new advancements being made every single day within the topics that encompass STEM, there is an endless stream of new ideas, techniques, and technology to learn about and expand upon. Students have the ability to learn: “‘21st century skills,’ or tools students need to have if they wish to succeed in the workplace of the ‘future’” (WeAreTeachers). However this so-called “workplace of the future” does not allow for the expansion of one’s own personal being. The arts allow for someone to explore themselves and how they feel without technology and the internet. Yes, art can encompass those things, but without them the premise of creating art remains the same: self-expression.


People need a way to express themselves. Whether that be through poetry, prose, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, or some other form of art, having a way to convey what you are feeling without having to speak it is proved to be beneficial, especially in developing minds as, “...simple creative activities are the building blocks of child development” (Lynch). They lead to improvements in one’s motor skills, language development, decision making, visual learning, inventiveness, cultural awareness, and academic performance. College students, high schoolers, elementary level students, and even preschoolers should all have some way to be expressive and experimentative in a creative sense. As explained by Americans for the Arts, “Numerous reports discuss the ways that increased access and involvement in arts education encourage students to stay in school, succeed in school, succeed in life, and succeed in work”. The true essence of creating art is expressing oneself. So why shouldn’t this be included with science, technology, engineering, and math when it is just as important in developing a young person’s mind?


The answer is that it should be, but it isn’t always. Compared to thousands of schools across the United States we have an outstanding arts program here at St. Mark’s. In many schools across the country, budget cuts lead to arts programs being given limited resources and funding. Although this is against many of the states’ laws, due to a lack of enforcement, these cuts are pushed aside as unimportant, especially under the Trump administration as the President has made budget cuts in art education departments across the country. Recognition is deserved for how lucky St. Markers are to have such opportunities to explore creative outlets. Ms. Putnam even acknowledges students’ interest in STEM by “ … [incorporating] the sciences within the arts so that students can address the issues that they will be facing in their own lives ― say climate change specifically ― it will let students know about the issues, how to communicate them, and some of the background and sciences.” Her inclusion of STEM topics within her courses, specifically the Studio 1 course, allows students to explore outside interests they might have while completing their art requirement.


Taking art courses is just as important as taking those in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Regardless of whether the two should be combined to form STEAM, or if they should remain separate, their importance to the development of young people’s minds needs to be acknowledged and acted upon.


“Arts Education.” Americans for the Arts, 29 Oct. 2018, www.americansforthearts.org/by-topic/arts-education.


Lynch, Grace Hwang. “The Importance of Art in Child Development.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 25 May 2012, www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-importance-of-art-in-child-development/.   


Miller, Hayley. “U.S. Students Are Struggling In The Arts. Donald Trump's Budget Would Make The Problem Worse.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 30 Apr. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/us-students-struggling-arts-and-donald-trump_us_58ff678be4b0c46f0782711b.

Torres, Zahira. “Arts Education in All Schools Needs to Be a Priority and Better Funded, Advocates Say.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2015, www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-hearing-on-arts-education-20151106-story.html.


WeAreTeachers Staff on March 16, 2018 “What Do We Mean When We Talk About STEM?” WeAreTeachers, 7 June 2018, www.weareteachers.com/what-is-stem/.

The Creation of Ensemble Plus

By Katie Park ‘21

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For numerous years, the ensembles were only offered as half-credit courses for everyone at St. Mark’s, but starting this year, they are also offered as full-credit courses for only the third formers. The immediate response from the returning music students was, “That is unfair because we did not have the option of taking a full-credit ensemble class.” However, the addition of Ensemble Plus, the full-credit music course, is for the betterment of the music program as a whole.   


All third formers are required to take six courses. However, since choir, orchestra, and jazz band are half-credit courses, third formers had to take music as their seventh course and give up their free blocks. Some students gave up taking music classes because they desperately needed the free blocks to finish their work. This led the music department to offer the Ensemble Plus to the third formers so that the six-class requirement does not hinder them from continuing their passion for music. However, the Ensemble Plus is only offered for the third formers because the requirement is to take five courses from the fourth form year.


The Ensemble Plus students meet three days a week whereas half-credit course students only meet twice. Also, they have written work that has to do with basic music skills and theory. For the returning musicians who think that the change is unfair, Mr. Wallace, the Director of Music, has responded by saying, “The Ensemble Plus students still have to take the course for two years to fulfill their art requirement just like everyone else.”  Also, Mr. Wallace emphasized how the Ensemble Plus “is a self-selecting process and that it is totally up to the students and their learning style” to choose if they want to take the course.


The change in the music curriculum has truly opened up doors for this year’s third formers. Cathy Zhou `21 shared how she was negatively affected by the six-class requirement in her third-form year by saying, “I was interested in playing an instrument but ended up taking ceramics because I did not want to be overwhelmed with all the work and no frees.” This would not happen to any of the third-formers starting this year, and that is the exact purpose for adding the Ensemble Plus into the music curriculum.


This decision positively influences not only the incoming third-form musicians but also the music program as a whole. If there are more talented musicians taking the ensemble courses, this will truly raise the quality of the music. The ensembles are excited to see these positive changes, and Waverly Shi `21, the Concert Master of the Orchestra, shared, “Our orchestra sounds awesome as it is, but we will sound even better with more musicians.”  

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Visiting Artist Rebecca Goodale’s Ant Farm Comes to St. Mark’s

By Olivia Hammond ‘19

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This past month, everyone who has walked through the PFAC has seen the exhibition called Ant Farm. It was constructed collaboratively by several female artists who live and work in Maine. Meant to be an immersive experience, the artwork surrounds viewers and encapsulates them in a world of ants. A wide range of artistic media have been used to show these insects, but they are not arranged in the way many artists choose to display their work. Instead, every part of the room is used. Massive scrolls are draped over suspended bars, and large interlocked prints seem to pulsate as they hang in the center of the gallery, framed quilts on the walls make viewers stop and consider what they see.

There is so much depth and beauty in the way this exhibition was created, but also in the content itself. Ants are a powerful metaphor because they are small and often overlooked, yet extremely complex in many ways that we do not even understand. How can they compare to the human species, and how can they compare to our own lives? With a mixture of painting, printmaking, bookmaking, and architecture, the artists have combined their own visions to create one cohesive artifact. It brings up concepts of identity, culture, and nature that must be interpreted by visitors to the gallery.

Rebecca Goodale is one of the principal artists involved in this work. She lives and works at the University of Southern Maine, acting as the program coordinator for the Center of Book Arts. She also teaches and is the recipient of several awards, grants, and fellowship programs at elite colleges and beyond. She is extremely interested in ecology and wildlife, especially regarding the endangerment of plants and animals. In her own words, “Her intention is not to become a scientific illustrator; instead, Goodale wants to inspire sensitivity for these rare florae and fauna by using her background in book arts and textile design to interpret color, pattern, rhythm, and transition.”

On October 5th, the Advanced Art History and Advanced Studio classes had an “in-house field trip.” About twenty students had the privilege of attending a workshop taught by Ms. Goodale from 8:30 to 4:00. They constructed, both collaboratively and individually, three books ( you can see them on display in Taft over the weekend). She directed the class on their books and also displayed a number of examples from classes that she had taught in the past. Learning the complicated processes of book making, even those that were supposedly simple, gave the students a new perspective on how much care goes into a massive exhibit like Ant Farm.

The exhibit is on display through the end of the month- don’t miss it!

Fall (Fantasy role) Play

By Daniella Pozo ‘22

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This year’s Fall Play, She Kills Monsters by young playwright Qui Nguyen, follows the story of Agnes Evans, whose younger sister Tilly has just died. As she gets pulled into a Dungeons and Dragons game that her deceased sister created, she encounters deadly fairies, devils, mean girls and even a Jello for of her boyfriend. The play has been described by Samuel French Publishers as a “comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games.” In the course of the performance, Agnes learns about her sister as she follows a journey of self-discovery in an imaginative world full of adventure.

“The goal this year was to outdo ourselves and I think that by the end we will succeed in that,” said cast member Felicity Keyzer-Pollard ‘21. “I can honestly say that it is going to be the best show we have done while I have been at St. Marks. There are so many amazing moments in the show that make me so proud of what we have put together. It is such an amazing group of people working on the Cast and Crew this year. I am so proud of all the work they have done.”

June Hyunoo Seong ‘19 commented that “[the] play is incredibly intersectional and provides thoughtful commentary on identity issues. This play will relate to everyone.”

Opening night is November 14 and performances run through November 16th. Don’t miss this special production that is sure to enchant its audiences with iconic moments, battle fights, dragons costumes and more!



Advanced Art’s Summer showcase

by Sanjna Patel ‘19

Over the summer students in Advanced Art Studio started work on their portfolios. Students are asked to choose a topic or theme to focus on that investigates content or a visual idea. Over the course of the year students develop their work into a portfolio for a 2-person exhibition in the spring. A selection of the work shown here is currently on display in Taft Hall.

Cecily Bradley

VI Form

“My concentration is Saturday Night Live and comedians. Comedians tend to be unhappy people, and so they have set out with the goal to make sure no one ever feels as low as they once have.”

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Mary Flathers

VI

“This year, my focus is my family. I chose this theme because it has both personal and universal significance. Because I have many siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, I always have material to work with. However, not every family is the same as mine. Universally, each family is different. As the year continues, I am shifting my focus from my own family to worldwide interpretations of this aspect of identity.”

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Mei Mei Arms

VI Form

“My concentration is on the people that have had a major impact on my life, whether that be current or past.  Most of these people I will never meet.”

 

Helen Huang

V Form

“My concentration is Mythical Creatures because I've always enjoyed reading fantasy books as a kid, and I wanted to choose a topic that I could have a lot of fun with.”

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Kevin Huang

IV  Form

“My concentration is Social Media, I chose this concentration because of its relevance in our lives today, and the negative repercussions that it causes.”

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Waverly Shi

IV Form

“My focus this year is on architecture and the impact and role it plays for humans. For example, architecture influences human emotions. It is also a way of expressing cultural differences.”


AP End of Year Artwork Showcase

by Sanjna Patel '19

Students in Advanced Studio Art choose an area of keen interest and pursue it all year in a variety of media. Topics have included Economic inequality, Ocean pollutants, Treatment of wild animals, Water, the concept of Narrative deconstructed, Portraiture, among many others. Students research their topic thoroughly through articles and books and through the work of artists whose work connects with their own thinking. They explore materials and meaning in their work and overtime, develop a portfolio of images that constructs an understanding that takes the viewer into a broad and deep exploration of a topic.
— Barbara Putnam (Studio Art Teacher)
Jenny Tang '20

Jenny Tang '20

Jenny Tang '20

Jenny Tang '20

Julia Danielsen '18

Julia Danielsen '18

Julia Danielsen '18

Julia Danielsen '18

Leean Li '19

Leean Li '19

Leean Li '19

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Lulu Eastman '18

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Lulu Eastman '18

Lulu Eastman '18

Rosanna Zhao '19

Rosanna Zhao '19

Rosanna Zhao '19

Rosanna Zhao '19

Hairspray: the Musical

by Olivia Hammond '19

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On April 20th and 21st, the St. Mark’s Musical Theatre Club ran a production of Hairspray. It was an impressive display of planning, insight, and leadership by student leaders: Shelby Howard, Cait Lochhead, Jack Griffin, Jonathan Shakespeare, Reevie Fenstermacher, and Katherine Ewald. They took the beloved musical and adapted it to our black box theater. Talent, hard work, and humor combined to make a very enjoyable show that represented many different groups in our student body. In the following interview the leaders discuss their roles and how certain aspects of the show came together.

 

 

What were your expectations going into the musical this year? How had the musical last year shaped them?

 

Shelby: Last year it was super fun. I had done it with a lot of us just for fun, kind of, as trying something new, and then after show last year Ellis had said, “Hey, do you want to join,” to me, Reevie, John, and Jack, “and maybe help lead the musical next year?” And I was like, “Sure, I can help with a couple things, maybe help organize.” So those were my expectations. I thought it would be pretty small and I wasn’t going to do that much. But it ended up that we all had to do a lot and it became a big commitment for all of us.

Jack: Last year I didn’t really do much but I saw all of the things that Ellis did, so I thought it was going to be a big step up. It was really hectic the last few weeks and it took a lot of time, but it was definitely worth it just like I expected it to be.

Reevie: I would say that it was as I expected. Going in I knew that it would be a lot of work and a lot of time.

Cait: Yeah, last year I went to probably about two rehearsals and then two dress rehearsals, but over the course of two weeks this year I went to more than last year. It was definitely more hectic than last year but so worth it.

 

What is something you’re proud of?

 

Reevie: (immediately) The way it turned out, definitely.

Shelby: Yeah.

Reevie: That was such a great turnout with the audience and how excited they were about it all, especially the first night. There was such a huge crowd and the energy was really, really fun. It turned out to be such a good show.

Jack: I was amazed at how proper of a show it was. Last year it was run by Ellis, who was on Broadway. This year it was six of us, and some of us have acting experience but I still thought it was going to be a little more thrown together. But it turned out that it was actually a more proper show and I was impressed that everyone came together.

Shelby: I’m proud of the cast that we had. I think it’s awesome to be able to put something together where a lot of different types of people can contribute to one product. I would even say the musical might be one of the few student clubs on campus that can represent our school. I’m glad it was a really good representation of our student body. And I think it’s great that we showed how we can all have fun together. Also so proud that it was basically completely student-led.

Everyone: Yeah.

 

What is something unexpected that you were very happy about?

 

Reevie: That it came together.

(all laugh)

Shelby: I think we all had that thought.

Jack: I didn’t expect to get to use the mop as a mic, I was very excited about that.

(all laugh)

Cait: Honestly, I was not expecting everyone to work together as well as we did. Some people felt very strongly about the way they wanted the show to go. Even in the very beginning it was hard to choose the musical. Everyone had different opinions so I was not sure what to expect in terms of making the smart decisions about props, casting and all that stuff.

Shelby: But getting a stage crew, that was so unexpected. That was one of the many things that just hit us. We were like, “Crap! We need to actually get people who can like, play the music!”

(all laugh)

Shelby: It was like, “I can’t do these things because I have to be on the stage!” It was moments like that that were so unexpected.

Cait: Since Ellis did everything last year, we weren’t necessarily expecting it to be so stressful having six of us and having the stage crew and having all of the actors commit to it. I didn’t think it was going to be as stressful or that there would be as many moving pieces because he handled it so well last year.

 

How would you describe the cast?

 

Reevie: I would say very diverse in the people’s personalities. Some gave it their all because they wanted a good show and some people were just there to have fun. It all came together eventually, which I think the audience could tell from the performances. There were definitely those who were more committed than others, but everyone ended up pulling their weight at the end, no matter how close to the end it was. (haha)

Cait: I think it was interesting because there was a role for everybody. I could not see anyone else playing the gym teacher.

(all laugh)

Cait: Everyone played their part so well and I think it was because everyone had these different energies and personalities that they brought to the table.

Shelby: I would describe our cast as very willing to try new things. They adapted so well. As we got closer to the show certain things would fall through or we would lose some people, but our cast was just very willing to go with the flow. If we had very headstrong and stubborn people the show wouldn’t have gone on, but because people were ready to change and do what was best for the show it ended up being really great. There was a strong sense of teamwork and selflessness.

 

Finally, in the coming years, what is something you would love to achieve?

 

Jack: A Tony.

(all laugh)

Shelby: Definitely a Saturday class.

Cait: With other things, such as acapella, there’s a huge amount of time to prepare but right before the show it still feels like you’re going to freak out. I know that’s still going to happen with this but maybe in future years there’s a way to dress rehearsal week a week or two before. So we’re not as freaked out because it does come together and it will come together but it’s a little less stressful. Ooh, and we should get help with props early on. Our props were really, really good but it was so rushed.

Jack: I’d love to see the cast help out. It would be fun if we got everyone together.

Reevie: That’s what we do for the school productions, everyone helps build the set. That’s what I thought was going to happen but a lot of people couldn’t make it.

Shelby: I want there to be a legacy of the musical. I want it to continue past us. So when we come to our reunions we see if it’s still awesome and it’s still alive. There were musical productions at St. Mark’s before us, but if this could be something established I think that would be amazing. Also to see how it evolves over the years.

 

Overall, the musical was a smashing success. The leaders worked together to create a wonderful rendition of a classic musical. It was clear that they were all invested in making the best show that they could. I am certain that in years to come the St. Mark’s community will again be entertained by this newfound tradition.

Wick Choral Festival 2018

by Luke Lee '21

On Friday, January 26th, the school received the biggest number of visitors it has had for a school musical event this year. The parking spaces were filled with cars and school buses. The campus was packed with students from other high schools and even a few universities. They were all dressed sharply, wearing coat and tie or dresses. Everyone seemed excited and confident. Over two days, January 26th and 27th, St. Mark’s held the annual Wick Choral Festival at the Class of 1945 Hall of Putnam Family Arts Center.

The Wick Choral Festival was established to remember St. Mark's  alumnus Myron A. Wick and to honor his lifelong passion for singing. Performances were held on Friday evening and Saturday evening. A total of of 8 high schools sent their A Capella groups: Algonquin Regional High School, Middlesex School, Noble and Greenough School, Northfield Mount Hermon School, Pomfret School, Roxbury Latin School, the Wheeler School, and Groton School. A Capella groups from two colleges, Northeastern University and University of Richmond, also offered marvelous performances to the audience.

Alumni, parents from other schools, the acapella groups, and students were waiting in the audience. The Royal Blues were the first to perform. As Mo Liu, the head of Royal Blues, returned to her group after hitting the note on the piano to find the right pitch, the audience was watching them with great anticipation. At first, the girls seemed slightly nervous. The Royal Blues started out with Sigrid’s “Don’t Kill My Vibe.” Sure enough, their first song was a success. There was uproarious applause and also a few shoutouts after which their stiff faces seemed to soften a bit. Then they continued, singing Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," Clean Bandit's "Symphony," and VV Brown's "Shark in the Water". In between the songs,  Paula Hornbostel '20, Frances Hornbostel '21, Maeve Ahern '20, Kaela Dunne '18, Katherine Ewald '19, and Caitlin Lochhead '19 all had some incredible solos.

After the Royal Blues exited, the Marksmen stepped onto the stage. Watching the Royals Blues, the expectations from the audience were high. They kicked off their set with Ben E. King's "Stand by Me” and Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls," with Reily Scott '21 and Conrad Krapf '21 as soloists. Because those two songs were well-known, many students and faculties smiled when they heard the two songs. Some shifted their bodies to the rhythm of the songs. Then, they sang Bastille's “Pompeii”; with Steven Burke ‘18 as the soloist. The audience was stunned by his high voice. The highlight of their performance was their last song, “Classic” by MKTO. Jon Shakespeare ‘19 rocked the stage, going up to a girl and singing to her. Tommy Flathers ‘21 ended the song with his rap. It was awesome how he used his crutches to dance to the rhythm. It was wonderful to see the other groups too. Their performances were superb. The acapella groups from Northeastern University and the University of Richmond were at another level. It was great to see Blake Normandin ‘15 back in the Wick Festival.

A Curious Winter Play

by Lauren Menjivar '18

Mark your calendars everyone! The winter play is just around the corner. There is much to anticipate for the new production because it is  like nothing we have ever done in the past.

This winter, the cast is performing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time based on the national bestseller novel by Mark Haddon and adapted by Simon Stephens. The plot revolves around a young, intelligent fifteen-year old boy named Christopher Boone (played by Angela Li ‘19), who finds himself at the front lawn of his neighbor’s house one night, staring down at the dog who was recently murdered. No one knows who may have killed the neighbor’s dog, so Christopher decides to investigate on it himself, and throughout his journey, he discovers a secret that changes his life forever.

For the last two months and a half, actors Grace D. ‘18, Kaela D. ‘18, Rachel H. ‘18, Alex Jeong ‘18, Caroline M. ‘18, Reevie F. ‘19, Angela L. ‘19, Anuoluwa A. ‘20, William L. ‘20, Illia R. ‘20, Alex C ‘21, and Rebecca W. ‘21, Mr. Kent, and the stage crew have been working non-stop to give the best performances for the St. Mark’s community. Unlike past plays, there is no set change, but instead the whole play is performed in the round, and for the first time in a couple of years, we are finally opening the fourth side of the black box for the audience. There are also many lights and music cues that set the stage of the mood perfectly. The actors have been polishing up their British and Irish accents for their characters. There will be a couple of intense sequences to watch out for by the cast. You will be amazed!

Come out and support the St. Mark’s theater production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time! The cast will perform it from February 28-March 3. Reserve your tickets by emailing back to Mr. Kent. We added an additional night instead of the usual three performances, and the fourth night is open to the public so spread the word! We hope to see you all at the Black Box Theater!

 

Photography: More Than Just Pressing a Button

by Filip Kierzenka '19

Photography is one of the most underrated and misjudged forms of art. People assume that the camera is doing all the work and that a photographer is just there to order the camera to do its magic. It isn’t art because anyone can just whip out their phone and take a picture of their Starbucks for Snapchat, right? This is where people go wrong. Just like with any art, there is good and bad photography. A great photographer doesn’t just take a photo of their Starbucks for the sake of getting some “likes” on social media; they take pictures with a purpose. Photos capture moments in time. They convey emotion and meaning.

Photography is underrated because the meaningful photos are often drowned out by pictures of no purpose. For instance, whenever my family travels, my mom will stop us every five feet to take a horribly staged photo. I ask her every time, “What is the point of taking thirty pictures that are exactly the same?” Every time she would respond, “because I like them.” This answer is not very convincing. Also, I’m positive that the vast majority of these photos are never looked at again.

Not that taking personal photos to remember a moment is a bad thing, but I do believe that good photos should inspire feelings in the viewer. To take a good photo with a DSLR camera, you need to make sure that all settings are set right (ISO, aperture, exposure, etc.), that the scene is established properly, not to mention that the object needs to be worthy of a picture. It actually is quite hard to get it all just right. It becomes a very nuanced art with a variety of elements, a change in any of which would lead to a slightly different picture. In fact, all of this work is just to get the photos to look good. It doesn’t even include the most important part: finding the subject. Great photographers should not only master their tools but also know where and when to capture a moment. It’s a shame that people don’t recognize this part of photography because once you recognize it, it becomes the most impressive element of a photo. The object is what separates a good photo from a great one.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you appreciate photography in a new way. Please don’t just look at photos for their visual appeal, but rather for the stories behind them. If you are interested in learning more about photography, I would strongly encourage Ms. Gilbert’s Fundamentals of Photography Saturday class. She teaches all of the pieces which come together to create a great picture, and it’s a lot of fun. Some of the photos in this article are from her Fall ‘17 class, and others are pictures which I think are examples of “great” photos.

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Photo Citations:

  1. Elise Gobron

  2. Preston Dotson

  3. 2001 The Record (Bergen Co. NJ)/Getty Images

  4. Andrew Burton / Getty Images

Storyteller Turned Philosopher: David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water”

By June Seong '19

 

This is Water

By David Foster Wallace

137 pp. Little, Brown and Company. $10.25

 

As the school semester enters its thicket, I find myself often questioning the value of my education. Apart from questioning the value of miscellaneous information I am asked to know, my real questions are about value of learning.  What is learning? Should it be limited to the classroom? Alongside my slew of questions runs a corrugated path of minute observations that attempts to place value on this education. I am left with a hunger for a single answer. In this pursuit, I realize that my peers and those educated around me are also confronted with this same search. Rather than realizing the value of our education, the real goal is to actualize its value in our day to day lives. After all,  what is the value of a realization of one’s purpose if the purpose is not put into action?

At Kenyon College, David Foster Wallace gave his commencement speech, “This is Water.” In it he addresses the vast multitude of the educated in society. In attempting to define the value of education, he speaks of the “banality” of adult existence. Questioning the connection between knowledge and acclimating to the “banalities” of adult life is, as Wallace defines it, what defines our consciousness; “how to keep from going through your comfortable...adult life dead, unconscious....and to your natural default-setting of being...imperially alone, day in and day out” (3). In this sense, education means survival as a conscious being in a banal world. In gaining an education, you obtain the ability to “adjust”- to be critical of your own vastly deluded assumptions and to chose a conscious, engaged life.

This connection between aloneness and the value of an education that Wallace makes is especially poignant to me. In the morbidity of my own corporeal self-centeredness, I realize that an education takes me out of my “skull sized kingdom.” (7) I am able to transcend my own limits through knowledge. I find myself here and there turning to “This is Water” for consolation. Consolations in the face of my ego, that tells me I am either superior or mediocre.