For many students, what teachers do when they’re not in school is a mystery. The Faculty Talent Show gave students a glimpse into the lives of teachers and their impressive talents, while providing the audience with an opportunity to support a good cause.
The proceeds of the second annual Faculty Talent Show, which was held on Thursday, April 6 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium, benefited the Jennifer Price Global Leadership Fund (GELF), a program that helps students participate in exchange programs, regardless of financial means.
The show was organized by science teacher Sangeet Srikanth, who opened it with a dance called Atahan Jathiswaram, an example of the classical Indian dance style Kuchipudi. The emcees were world language teacher Samantha Mandel, a leader of GELF, vice principal Amy Winston, and principal Henry Turner, who joked that while Srikanth would be performing with a group later, this dance required perfect balance, so she would be performing alone.
Balance was vital in Srikanth’s act, in which she fluidly and gracefully danced, the bells on her ankles jangling in time with the music. Her precise, rhythmic movements, paired with a colorful and elaborate costume, created a riveting piece. Srikanth flawlessly executed the dance, which showcased a story from the Hindu scriptures, offering the audience insight into her connection to Indian culture.
The second act was a Ukrainian folk song called “You Have Tricked Me Again.” Science teacher Tatyana Osipenko took on the role of a woman who keeps planning dates with a man, played by math teacher Dennis Klem, but every time, forgets to go on the date. The teachers sang in Ukrainian together, their camaraderie readily apparent in the smiles on their faces and their embrace at the end.
A highlight of the show was science teacher Arielle Miles’ solo violin performance. The violin music was rich and serious, but lively; it was a nice contrast to the humor of the act before.
The show returned to humor with the next act, the English department’s parody of “It’s a Hard Knock Life.” English teachers Beth Cronin, Adam George, Dani Johnson, Maureen Kavanaugh, Kate Mannelly, Pam Pistiner, Mike Schlegelmilch, and Krystal Skwar sang a rewritten version of the song, detailing the hardships of life as an English teacher. As they put it, “Once a day don’t you want to throw the marker in?” They proceeded to throw whiteboard markers into the laughing crowd. The song ended with a kick line and roaring applause.
George said that last year, the teachers “did their own version of ‘Summer Nights.’ Keeping with the tradition, we’re doing another performance from a Broadway number. We’ve worked together to change the lyrics and whatnot, and we choreographed it ourselves.”
“It just kind of fell into place,” he added.
After the dance, Mandel, Winston, and Turner talked about the importance of GELF and read the stories of some students who had benefited from the program. They reminded audiences of the ways to donate to the program and how it helps students have amazing experiences abroad.
Next came a traditional Indian folk dance from Gujray, India, performed by Srikanth, her daughter, science teachers, Anndy Dannenberg, Emma Lichtenstein, Karen Tokos, and Deb Lund, EDCO teacher Krystal Chung, history teacher Kathryn Codd, and math teacher Melissa Perez. The song, called “Barso re Megha”, meaning let it rain, celebrates rain after a hot summer. The teachers, decked out in yellow, danced together, waving their arms, and later, mallets. The act was joyful and bright and literally sparkling—their gem-encrusted skirts swirled and caught the light.
According to Lund, “one important thing you need to know about our dance troupe is that we were invited to be on national TV, and we were filmed a couple weeks ago in Cambridge, Massachusetts to be on a PBS show.”
Technology teacher Chris Murphy delivered a set of cringingly funny jokes. “Over the weekend, I had a chance to use one of those 3D printers. I made a piece of paper,” joked Murphy. He was met with laughter and a few groans.
Next, Spanish teacher Chris Alberg, television production teacher Scott Dunlop, and Schlegelmilch performed in their band “Choir Practice.” Alberg’s stirring vocals combined with Dunlop’s impressive harmonica skills and Shlegelmilch’s guitar made the band an audience favorite as they played songs such as “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” by the Beatles and “Imagine” by John Lennon, while encouraging the audience to sing along.
The finale was the Bollywood dance act “Chittiyyan Kalayian”, which means beautiful wrists.
Science teachers Dave Bennett and Kevin Brosnan, math teachers Derek Hogan and Leslie Meyer, George, Miles, business teacher Ellen Novinsky, G.L. Srikanth, Turner, Winston, and special education teacher Betsy Waksman danced to upbeat music. The stage was filled with the faculty members’ red, blue, and gold costumes, the cheerful music, and the synchronized movements of the dancers. The dance was funny and beautiful and a great way to end the show.
“It was so incredibly fun,” said Lund of her act. “I think everybody had a lot of fun with the Faculty Talent Show because it was just good, clean, silly fun.”