Artist of the Issue: Bennett Rush ’17

As Vice President of the B Flats and Belmont Hill’s most-beloved lutenist, Bennett Rush is a staple in Belmont Hill arts. Bennett started singing in Second Form, when two classmates approached him and asked if he would sing in their new Acappella group, as they needed a low voice for the bass. “I said yes because of the gesture,” Bennett recalls. “I didn’t expect to go in there and find my passion.” The seven Second Formers, named “Not The B’s,” performed at the spring concert with their one-song repertoire, singing “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. “I just sang bum, bum for the entire song,” Bennett laughs, “but we worked on something for so long, and it finally came to fruition. It didn’t matter what role I was in, and it’s a group of friends I’ve kept with me.” The ensemble added a member in Third Form and graduated to the B Flats the following year.

Now the VP of the school’s premier singing group, Bennett handles the logistical side of business, taking charge in organizing the choir’s upcoming spring break trip to Nashville, the first time that they have gone on tour in years. “In Not The B’s, we always talked about how we were going to bring the trip back when we were seniors.” Bennett sings in the bass section of the Flats, leading with fellow seniors Peter Knowlton and Dan Zakon, two singers whom Bennett has been singing with for years. “We all work and sing very well together,” says Bennett. “Bass anchors the song and really deepens the harmonic texture of the music.”

Bennett’s favorite performance is the annual Gospelfest, a concert featuring dozens of schools around the area. “There’s this spirit to the event that’s incredible,” he says, recalling their performance which was rewarded with a standard ovation from the audience.

His favorite style of song is folk/country, a genre the ever-innovative Flats have experimented with. Bennett’s first solo was last spring on Zac Brown Band’s “Remedy”, a song he arranged after pitching it to the group.

Outside of the Flats, Bennett sings first tenor in his church choir, and loves jamming with his uncle, a guitarist and fellow vocalist, on beach-esque Jack Johnson and Jimmy Buffett tunes. He made his theatrical debut in last weekend’s Of Mice and Men, playing Candy, a ranch hand with a Southern-drawl.

“You never know what you’re going to get with Brother P, but you know it’s going to be fun,” Bennett says of the B Flats director with a grin. “A lot of our time is put into making our pieces as fun as we can make them. The driving goal of our group is “We’re going to have some fun and enjoy doing it’. It’s visible on stage, too. People enjoy that style and the audience can tell that we like what we do.” Bennett thinks he might join another singing group in college, “but I need something that’s going to be as fun as B Flats, and that’s hard to do.”

Combining his interest in medieval culture with love of music, Bennett became the first lutenist at Belmont Hill in recent memory. “I wanted to be unique and do what I enjoy. I searched for an instrument that reflected my passions.” After searching overseas in Britain for a luthier, Bennett was connected to a local luthier through his lute teacher, Mr. Wright, who also teaches guitar at Belmont Hill, whom Bennett bought his lute from.

“There’s this bond with the instrument like no other. I don’t think that can be replicated with other instruments because they’re so readily available. I can go play drums or piano in any room in the music building–I can’t do that with a lute.”

“I can call this lute my own. This is my lute.”

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