Various music ensembles performed last Saturday night at Coffee House, a benefit event at the First Unitarian Church of Newton (FUSN) sponsored by the FUSN youth group. All proceeds from the event went to Communities Without Borders (CWB), a charity organization that helps children in Lusaka, Zambia access education and other services.
According to junior Ryan Park, who presented at the event about his experience on the Communities Without Borders service trip, the program is not missionary work, although it is organized by the church. “We help teach, bring supplies, and pay for kids’ tuitions, and we want to make a model school for other communities to follow.”
Park added that the organization is “definitely making a difference,” adding that the trip was “mostly good for me as an individual developing perspective.”
The event showcased a wide range of performances from both North and Newton South.
North’s all-female acapella group, Forte, opened the night with an impressive, cohesive performance. Multiple other acapella groups followed throughout the evening, including Northern Lights, Melocotones and Newton South’s Newtones.
In one high point of the night, Northern Lights performed a lively mash-up of pop music based on “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, which expanded to add many more songs, including “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye, “Hello” by Adele, and possibly most notably, “All Star” by Smash Mouth. The ambitious compilation was hilarious, well-executed, and highly spirited, prompting the night’s first standing ovation.
In addition to music, the night featured two acting performances. The first was from Newton South junior Constantine Foehl, a magician. With a humorous and engaging stage presence, Foehl performed an impressive set that incorporated audience participation and illusion. The second acting performance came in the second act, as North’s improvisational comedy troupe Spontaneous Generation performed brief improv skits that gave an amusing preview to their upcoming full-length show later this month in the Little Theatre.
In the night’s final performance, Upswing, a jazz quintet consisting of Park, juniors Brendan King, Noah Klavens, and Cameron Mastoras, and sophomore Aidan Devine played a long set in an impressive display of classic jazz music. The group was joined for one song by Newton South senior Team Siegel, a vocalist who had performed earlier in the night with the Newtones.
Overall, the event was a success, raising money for impoverished children while exhibiting varied high school talent from all over Newton.