Upper School Rock Bands Wows in the Senior Talent Show

The atmosphere was electric in the Hamilton Chapel as students and faculty alike eagerly anticipated the start of the third annual Senior Talent Show.  The judges’ panel, boasting esteemed educators like Mr. Leonardis, Mr. DiResta, Dr. Tift, and Mr. Schneider, settled into their seats as Peter Tamasi stepped onto the stage.  

The first act of the evening was a fitting and memorable one.  Armin Thomas performed for the last time, putting forth a sensitive and articulate rendition of Friedrich Chopin’s Ballade No. 1, Op. 23.  Though the piece ate up a considerable chunk of time and logistically complicated the morning, nobody seemed to mind; the applause was thunderous, an echo in the Chapel that signalled the end of a musical dynasty.  Next, Cam Hall, Seamus Clair, Marshall Knight, Mack Perry, Scott Jackson, and Andrew Kaneb (a.k.a. the Upper School Rock Band) gave an impassioned and basically unintelligible performance of “Come on Eileen,” which, in their defense, nobody actually knows the words to.  Kaneb stayed on stage and was joined by Gus Lamb (drums) and Sebastian Themelis (piano) for the Zac Brown Band’s “I Play the Road.” Kaneb’s vocal reminiscence about his daughter was moving, and the performance blew away both the crowd and the judges.  As an audience member, the trio’s showing was compelling and easy to appreciate.  More of an acquired taste was the next act, a solo performed by Gifford Metz.  Gifford soldiered through the lyrics to cult song “All Star,” but sang them over the back track of fellow cult song “Wake Me Up.”  The audience reveled in his uniqueness and applauded deftly.  The performance notably lacked Gifford’s signature calisthenics; perhaps that might have pushed him over the edge of a winning act.  

Then, out of the blue, the crowd rose as “300 Violin Orchestra” blared over the loudspeakers, prepared to witness either the pinnacle of human achievement or its rock bottom.  Nate Miller stepped center stage, wielding a water bottle half-filled; what was a music stand moments before became a platform for a moment to end all moments.  Nate flipped, the bottle landed, and the Hamilton Chapel erupted in wake of his victory.  The football team’s hype machine kept churning as Will Stonestreet and Ray Hunt stepped to the stage, the former carrying his paints and his brushes with his muse in tow.  Stonestreet’s body painting act was completed to the Killers’ Human, and by the end of their show, Ray had emblazoned on his chest 29-19, the final score of the football team’s fall defeat of St. Sebastian’s.  If Stoney and Ray’s performance provided something of a throwback to the fall sports season, Dan Zakon and Jamie Feinberg brought it to a level of Jurassic proportions.  Whistling the Jurassic Park theme song with a dramatic dinosaur-conflict backdrop, they brought a new creativity to the Senior Talent Show.   The Show turned to The Ukulele Club to finish the morning with a bang, and Gus Lamb and Phil Bailey did exactly that.  Their rousing rendition of Chris Brown’s “With You” plucked at ukulele and heartstrings alike.  Bailey’s harmonies brought tears to many an eye, and Gus showed us that his talents stretched far beyond the drums.  

In the end, Kaneb, Lamb, and Themelis not only played the road; they played everyone else, too, and took home the Senior Talent Show trophy.  Congratulations to all the performers and thank you to the judges and to Peter, our gracious host!  

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