Seniors end their year with a bang at Senior Solo Night

A chilly and rainy night could not prevent an intimate crowd from arriving at East’s 2015 Senior Solo Night on June 4, 2015, hosted by MCs Yael Kortsarz (’16) and Katie Aylesworth (’16), where East seniors had one last opportunity for an individual vocal or musical performance. A small crowd mainly comprised of families and groups of friends gathered at the stage in the East theatre, where about 100 seats were arranged to face a single microphone under dim light. Even a microphone disruption could not disrupt the wonderful performances and the applause from the audience.

Kortsarz and Aylesworth came before the crowd to begin each performance with a light corny joke, which warmed up the crowd prior to each song. The microphone outage remained until intermission, when a replacement mic was brought in.

The performances began with Hannah Kim’s (’15) lovely rendition of “Ombra mai fu,” the opening piece from the 1738 opera Serse by George Frideric Handel. Kim sang high and soft, accompanied by East music teacher Laurie Lausi on piano. Kim will be attending Westminster Choir College.

Sreya Das (’15) continued with a soft, yet subtle, version of “Sweater Weather,” by The Neighbourhood. Accompanied by Sergio Parsi (’16) on guitar, Das continued to sing despite a microphone outage, ending the song on a high note that wowed the crowd. Das will be attending New York University in the fall.

Amrita Mitra (’15) continued with a passionately sung “Lions, Tigers and Bears,” by Jazmine Sullivan. Accompanied by Ibinye Peterside (’15) on vocals and Parsi on guitar, Mitra captivated the audience despite the microphone predicament. Mitra will be attending the University of Maryland.

Brielle Clearfield (’15) continued with a slightly slow rendition of Tiesto’s “Red Lights.” Accompanied by Parsi on guitar, Clearfield started low but powered through the chorus, gripping the audience with the interesting song choice. Clearfield will be attending the University of Maryland.

Drew DuBoff (’15) continued with “Nessun Dorma,” a piece from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot. Accompanied by Lausi on piano, DuBoff intensely sang the slow opera piece and held out both high and low notes. DuBoff will be attending Johnson & Wales University.

Sam Snyder (’15) continued with an original song called “Objects in the Mirror.” Clearly comfortable with her piece, Snyder played guitar with quick strums and soft vocals, earning a great applause from the audience. Snyder will be attending Camden County College.

Nicole Dublado (’15) continued with an emotional rendition of Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.” Accompanied by Parsi on guitar, Dublado started low but quickly turned powerful and loud, expressing deeply the emotion in the song. Dublado will be attending University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Eric Grayson (’15) continued with a slow and quiet tribute to Elton John with “Your Song.” Accompanied by recorded piano, Grayson owned the stage as an individual, gesturing to the audience and quietly shifting back and forth. As a fun fact, this piece was one of Aloe Blacc’s inspirations for his song “The Man.” Grayson will be attending Washington University in St. Louis.

Reece Young (’15) continued with Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team,” starting confidently and softly. With several pleasing changes to the popular tune, Young kept the song low and was accompanied by Parsi on both guitar and harmonica. Young will be attending Holy Family University.

Ibinye Peterside (’15) continued with an emotional version of “Apologies,” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Accompanied by Parsi on guitar and harmonica, Peterside stayed quiet but remained powerful. Peterside will be attending Rowan University.

Max DuBoff (’15) concluded the first half of the show with a well-known tune, “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul, and Mary.

“Most of us have heard this song, but I want you to really listen to the lyrics,” said DuBoff before he began.

DuBoff’s performance was smooth and lighthearted, which pleased the audience prior to intermission.

After about a 10-15 minute intermission, the performances continued. At this point in the show, a replacement microphone was used for the rest of the performances.

Unexpectedly, music department member Amanda Liu (’15) began the second half with Nikolai Kapustin’s “Concert Etude #8” on piano. Liu’s fingers flew up and down the piano, providing a great way to come out of intermission. Liu will be attending the University of Michigan.

Jesse Viggiano (’15) continued with A Great Big World’s “Say Something,” which he played on guitar.  A Mr. East contestant, Viggiano was accompanied by Parsi on guitar as well and began quiet and soft, which escalated to a more powerful chorus. Viggiano struck aggressive chords while Parsi worked with individual strings. Viggiano will be attending the University of Maryland.

Phoebe Millspaugh (’15) continued with an expressive and confident rendition of “Eye of the Needle,” by Sia. Accompanied by Parsi, Millspaugh stretched herself to the high notes and demonstrated her soft falsetto during the performance. Millspaugh will be attending Pennsylvania State University.

Paulina Levner (’15) continued with Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” a soothing and well-known ‘70s hit. Levner was slow and powerful, stretching out her soft and soothing notes. Levner will be attending Pace University.

Nicholas Montoya (’15) continued with Mitchell Gray’s “Inamorata.” Accompanied by Parsi on guitar with quiet strumming, Montoya sang mostly in falsetto, but chose to remain quiet and distant. Montoya will be attending Rowan University.

Richard Kirby (’15) continued with “Forbidden Fruit,” from the musical The Apple Tree, with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Accompanied by Amanda Liu (’15), Kirby delivered a very theatrical performance, running around the stage, holding an apple, and drawing a very comedic response from the audience. Kirby will be attending Tufts University.

Megan McCance (’15) continued with Brandi Carlile’s “The Story,” accompanied by Parsi on guitar. McCance started quietly but Parsi’s strumming picked up as McCance concluded with very nice high notes. McCance will be attending Rizzieri EDU.

Brittany Yesner (’15) continued with “Life of the Party” from the musical The Wild Party, sung by Idina Menzel. A very theatrical and bright song, Yesner sang confidently with Lausi on piano. Yesner will be attending Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Casey McKown (’15) continued with Tori Kelly’s “Paper Hearts,” an emotional song accompanied by Parsi on guitar and Winnie Cross (’16) and Sam Waldman (’16) on vocals. All three sang very softly, which culminated when they sang together at the conclusion of the song. McKown will be attending the University of Tampa.

Patricia Irwin (’15) concluded the performances with “Laurie’s Song,” from Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land. Irwin explained the importance of the song prior to the performance.

“The lyrics are very representative of what we seniors are experiencing right now,” said Irwin.

She also said that the song helped her get into the college she wanted—Oklahoma City University. Irwin’s theatrical performance was uplifting and light, with dazzling high notes that helped end the night with a bang.

“As someone who is pursuing a career in the performing arts,” said Irwin, “saying goodbye to East, while nostalgic, reminds me of how much there is to look forward to.”