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WACS plans special March 16 concert

March 10, 2016
Westfield Republican

Along with its regularly scheduled series of March concerts, Westfield Academy and Central School will be presenting a special concert on March 16 at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Performing that evening will be the Westwinds vocal ensemble, the 7th and 8th grade chorus and the high school chorus. The high school chorus will be presenting a program of music written entirely by former Westfield students and alumni. Featured will be music by internationally known singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant, who is currently touring major cities in Europe this spring, and acclaimed Broadway composer Michael John LaChiusa. Also featured will be music recorded by The Shills, a Boston based band with whom Ryan Jackson ('02) is a guitarist, singer and songwriter. As well, music by locally known alumni songwriters including Ryan Laurie ('04), Shawn Wilder ('05) and Lucy Knappenberger ('14) will also be on the program. Student singers, instrumentalists and soloists will be interpreting seven selections written by former WACS students to be followed by the school song, to close that portion of the program.

WACS music teacher and high school chorus conductor Kent Knappenberger said, "Westfield has had such a history of talented students over the years who have gone on to become very successful both professional and recreational musicians. Our present students have the chance to share in this beautiful music that was written by people who are internationally known in some cases, where we bought their music online, to Ryan Laurie who besides being a musician, is actually a lumberjack. It's been moving to me to think of all of the music that has been sung, played and created in our community over the years and I'm thrilled that our present students can be part of this rich heritage."

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Westfield High School vocalists practice “Kind and Generous” by former Westfield student Natalie Merchant for their March 16 concert. From left to right are Sydnee Abele, Luke Stephenson, Austin Presto, Meghan Bodenmiller, David Kircher and Austin Bourgeois.

Bret Babcock, who is featured soloist in Ryan Laurie's beautiful lullaby, "Boy Lay Down," said "It's been really fun to learn about this music, some of which was written over 25 years ago, that is still going strong and comes from the same school I go to."

Ella Archer, also a soloist, said "It's cool to think that people from our school have made it so far in their lives."

"It inspires me and makes me feel good about our past accomplishment by people from our small town" noted ninth grader Matt See.

The concert is free and open to the public.



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