BULLETIN â€¢ SPRING 2017
BOA R D OF T RU ST E ES
The chandelier in the Auditorium. A similar chandelier hangs in the Frick Dining Hall.
President Steven R. Gorham ’85, P’17 Andover, Mass. Vice Presidents John R. Barker ’87 Wellesley, Mass. Whitney Romoser Savignano ’87 Manchester, Mass. Secretary Craig J. Ziady ’85, P’18, P’20 Winchester, Mass. Treasurer Valentine Hollingsworth III ’72, P’17 Dover, Mass.
T RU ST E ES Pamela W. Albright P’10, P’16 Topsfield, Mass. William N. Booth ’67, P’05 Chestnut Hill, Mass. Kamilah M. Briscoe ’96 New York, N.Y. W. J. Patrick Curley III ’69 New York, N.Y.
Anthony H. Everets ’93 New York, N.Y. Jonathan F. Gibbons ’92 Needham, Mass.
Shawn Gorman ’84 Falmouth, Maine
Ashley Wightman Scott ’84, P’11, P’14 Manchester, Mass.
Paul L. Hallingby ’65 New York, N.Y. Robert W. Hughes P’16, P’19 Andover, Mass. Booth D. Kyle ’89 Seattle, Wash. Zachary S. Martin P’15, P’17 Wellesley, Mass.
Juliane Gardner Spencer ’93 New York, N.Y. Ramakrishna R. Sudireddy P’15 Andover, Mass. Isabella Speakman Timon ’92 Chadds Ford, Pa.
Brian McCabe P’18 Meredith, N.H. Timothy H. McCoy ’81, P’14, P’15, P’18 Wellesley, Mass. John R. Packard Jr. P ’18 Head of School North Andover, Mass. Daniel J. Riccio P’17, P’20 Los Gatos, Calif. Belisario A. Rosas P’15 Andover, Mass. Lynne A. Sawyer ’83 2 New York, N.Y.
Alessandro F. Uzielli ’85 Beverly Hills, Calif.
TRUSTE E S E M E RITI Henry M. Buhl ’48, P’82 New York, N.Y. Steve Forbes ’66, P’91 Bedminster, N.J. James G. Hellmuth P’78 Lawrence, N.Y.
A LUMNI TRUSTEES Zachary McCabe ’15 North Andover, Mass.
H. Anthony Ittleson ’56, P’84, P’86 Green Pond, S.C.
Albert D. Nascimento ’10 Somerville, Mass.
Michael B. Keating ’58, P’97 Boston, Mass. Frank A. Kissel ’69, P’96, P’99 Far Hills, N.J.
Peter A. Nadosy ’64 New York, N.Y. Peter W. Nash ’51, P’81, P’89 Nantucket, Mass. Cera B. Robbins P’85, P’90 New York, N.Y. Eleanor R. Seaman P’86, P’88, P’91, GP’18 Hobe Sound, Fla. David R. Williams III ’67 Beverly Farms, Mass. BROOKS BULLETIN
B CON TEN TS
BU L L E T I N • S P RI N G 2 0 1 7
Head of School John R. Packard Jr. P’18
“… we are pleased to report that the right side of the brain is alive and well at Brooks.”
Associate Head for External Affairs Jim Hamilton Director of Development Gage S. Dobbins Director of Alumni and Parent Events Erica Callahan P’19, P’20 Assistant Director of Alumni Programs Carly Churchill ’10
Director of Admission and Financial Aid Bini W. Egertson P’12, P’15
28 Director of Communications and Marketing Dan Callahan P’19, P’20 Director of Publications Rebecca A. Binder Design Lilly Pereira www.aldeia.design Alumni Communications Manager Emily Williams Assistant Director of Communications Jennifer O’Neill
THE ARTS AT BROOKS
FE AT U R ES T H E PAST
18 The Shoulders We Stand On
The Auditorium has been a friendly, familiar space for generations of Brooksians, and it has nurtured the Brooks theater program since the school’s founding. Here, we look back on the history of the building, and the growth of students and a community within its walls.
Faculty emeritus and former chair of the arts department, Michael B. King, writing in 1988. A tribute to Mr. King begins on page 68.
D E PA RT M E N TS 02 Message from the Head of School 03 News + Notes 47 Brooks Connections 54 Class Notes
T H E P R ES ENT Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome. Opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and not necessarily of Brooks School. Correspondence concerning the Bulletin should be sent to Editor Rebecca A. Binder: mail Editor, Brooks Bulletin 1160 Great Pond Road North Andover, MA 01845 email firstname.lastname@example.org phone (978) 725-6326 © 2017 Brooks School
28 The Final Performance
“Cabaret,” the final performance in the Auditorium, brought down the house in February. The Bulletin journals the production from its early rehearsals to its closing notes, and meets the actors, crew and faculty that bring the script to life. T H E FU T U R E
38 Introducing the Center for the Arts
The Center for the Arts will anchor the Brooks arts curriculum — and the Brooks campus — far into the future. Here, we present a detailed look at the new structure, and ask Brooks arts faculty about the ways in which the new facility will improve their teaching and allow Brooks students to flourish.
ON THE COVER: The Auditorium has stood on the Brooks campus since the school’s founding. The building, which has steadfastly housed the school’s theater program since the 1930s, will be demolished this summer to make way for the Center for the Arts, a modern, innovative landmark for the campus that will enhance and solidify the school’s arts offerings and provide stunning, centralized community space.
A MESSAGE FROM JOHN R. PACKARD JR. HEAD OF SCHOOL
Moving Forward The excitement of the spring always grows
“We move in this direction because delivering on our mission to provide the most meaningful educational experience our students will have in their lives requires it.”
as April turns to May, and that is certainly the case this year with the Class of 2017 moving closer to Prize Day. This year’s sixth form has enriched the school in countless ways, and we all have mixed emotions about saying goodbye through this final stretch that we have with them. We look forward to celebrating with these young men and women we will be proud to count as graduates of the school. Yet, this edition of the Bulletin adds to the customary surge in enthusiasm we feel each spring. In taking a broad look at the central role the arts have played on our campus, we will focus on the central component of The Campaign for Brooks. We are thrilled to be beginning construction in June on a center for the arts that will deepen the good work we have done and are doing in an area that has been underserved for too long by space that is tired and limiting. This project will also transform the feel and function of the center of our beautiful campus by extending the work we have done to pedestrianize this part of the school, while adding appealing community spaces in and out of doors. The opportunities in front of us are incredibly exciting. We move in this direction because delivering on our mission to provide the most meaningful educational experience our students will have in their lives requires it. Our faculty and student body deserve and need theater, music and visual arts spaces that facilitate and inspire great work. The fact that we have done well in our overworked and makeshift arts spaces gives me great confidence about how we will do in a building that will open all sorts of new possibilities. In so doing,
we believe the depth and breadth of our whole program will grow in ways that will improve the degree to which we are a mission-driven school. From my seat, that is an exciting notion. I will close by making clear that we are also mindful of the space we are replacing. I have noted on numerous occasions over the past few years that the Auditorium is a space that the full range of our alumni and alumnae would recognize. Indeed, this is a primary reason why we need a new arts center! However, the fact that we have been holding Brooks School performances of one kind or another in the Auditorium dating back to the 1930s led another trustee to hope that the new facility would serve the school equally well going forward. In my 27 years as a faculty member at Brooks, I have developed a deep fondness for the feel of our campus and the manner in which we travel in groups along our Main Street. The Auditorium sits prominently on the school’s pedestrian thruway, if you will, and we would fail future generations of Brooksians if the new facility did not succeed in amplifying the wonderful sense of where you are that we all enjoy. So, as we say goodbye to this former barn that has served the school incredibly well for more than eight decades, we do so with great confidence that what lies ahead will take us to new heights as it honors and attempts to emulate what the Auditorium has meant to so many for generations. We hope that all of you enjoy a pleasant transition from spring to summer wherever you might be in the world, and that we will see you at 1160 Great Pond Road if your travels bring you this way. Take good care.
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NEWS + NOTES IN THIS SECTION 04 News from Campus 10 Campus Scene 14 Athlete Spotlight 16 Athletics News
Elsa Grant â€™17 busy at work in her Winter Term class, Making & Looking at Art in New England. Students immersed themselves in their art while also visiting galleries and museums in Boston and across the North Shore. The course culminated with a three-day trip to the Provincetown, Mass., studio of artist Cynthia Packard and an exhibit in the Robert Lehman Art Center.
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Surveying Our Community The results are in on a series of surveys given to Brooks parents, alumni and prospective families.
BY THE NUMBERS ADMISSIONS Most important factors respondents consider when they choose a high school:
During the last year, Brooks asked its
parents, alumni, and admitted students and their parents to complete surveys in regards to various aspects of the school. Hanover Research, a custom research and analytics firm based in Virginia and New York City, facilitated the series of surveys. Associate Head for External Affairs Jim Hamilton reports that Brooks hopes to engage a firm to analyze similar data every three to five years. Hamilton says that while Brooks has conducted in-house surveys of admitted students and young alumni in the past, this round of surveys included a current parent survey and an alumni donor survey. “Our hope was to have surveys from across our constituency that might give us great data so that we could make datadriven decisions,” Hamilton says. “We hoped that we’d collect data that identified and illustrated areas of strength, and also areas where we could improve.” The parent survey results suggest that academics are the driving factor in many parents’ decisions to enroll their children at Brooks and their overall satisfaction with the school. Brooks has delivered on these expectations: More than 90 percent of respondents rated the quality of academics at Brooks as either “excellent” or “good.” Specifically, they indicated a very high level of satisfaction with class size, quality of physical classroom space, quality of teaching faculty and rigor of the academic program. “The high level of satisfaction
that our parents have with the academic program, and also our emphasis on the breadth of the academic program to our prospective students, are important,” Hamilton says. “These are things that we knew, but it’s nice to have the data to support them.” The survey of alumni focused on alumni who have graduated in the last 15 years. Hamilton points to one of the alumni survey results. “One thing we were testing was the meaningfulness of a Brooks education,” he says, “which is important to us. Do people feel as though this experience is among the most meaningful educational experiences they have had?” The survey results are loud and clear: Ninety-four percent of respondents rated their experience at Brooks compared to their other educational experiences as “meaningful,” with 44 percent rating their Brooks experience as their “most meaningful.” The survey results also pointed to areas where Brooks may not be meeting the hopes of its constituency. According to Hamilton, the results both clarify and reinforce the improvements that Brooks plans to make. “The areas of concern that came up were not news to us,” Hamilton says. “Any time you do surveys like this, you have notions of things that aren’t working as well as they might be working. To have that amplified by the data is helpful as we think about evolving, getting better and creating new practices.”
Respondents also emphasized important factors in their decision:
35% 26% 18%
QUALITY OF FACULTY
Enrolling respondents said that their interactions with
FACULTY were extremely or very influential in their decision to enroll.
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of respondents found the transition to college “easy,”
felt more prepared
than their peers and
were satisfied with their collegiate educational experience.
of alumni who were boarding students at Brooks said that experience was “very”
of respondent donors credited their POSITIVE EXPERIENCE at Brooks as a reason why they donate.
of donors give to Brooks because they feel their DONATION WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE to the school.
PARENT SATISFACTION or “extremely” helpful in preparing them to live on a college campus.
of respondents said that ACADEMIC PROGRAMS were one of the three most important areas of consideration when they were making enrollment decisions.
“PROUD” of their Brooks educational experience.
said their educational experience was “high-quality.”
Other frequently mentioned factors in enrollment included:
43% 39% 35%
QUALITY OF FACULTY
STRENGTH OF COMMUNITY
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Pictured here, at sixth-former Kate Donovan’s signing, front row, left to right: Molly Carabatsos ’17, Donovan, Alexia Ames ’17, Kathryn Delaney ’18; back row, left to right: Mia Karras ’17, Ellie Cordes ’17, Shannon Ryan ’17, Callie Scala ’18. Donovan, Karras and Ryan signed with Syracuse University, Boston College and Fairfield University, respectively.
of respondents said that the quality of the STUDENT EXPERIENCE at Brooks was either “excellent” or “good,” pointing to the school’s student services and close-knit community.
Additionally, respondent parents of both boarding students and day students overwhelmingly reported that their student felt included and supported at Brooks.
DAY PARENTS rated the student experience as “good” or “excellent.”
A SUPER SOCCER SIGNING SESSION
Three sixth-formers ink their college commitments. February 1 was a banner day for the Brooks girls 1st soccer program. Three sixth-formers sat down, one after the other, in the College Counseling Office to sign National Letters of Intent. Kate Donovan signed with Atlantic Coast Conference contender Syracuse University; Mia Karras signed with ACC rival Boston College; and Shannon Ryan signed with Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference up-and-comer Fairfield University. At Brooks, Donovan earned All-ISL honors as a third-, fourth- and sixth-former. She finished with 30 goals and eight assists. Head coach Jaime Gilbert ’04 calls Donovan “one of the best players our program has ever seen.” She points out Donovan’s “advanced soccer brain and great vision of the field,” and says that “Kate has limitless potential. I’m looking forward to watching her continued growth on and off the field.” Ryan leaves Brooks coming off a career-high 10-goal sixth-form season. Over her high school career, Ryan notched 32 goals and 16 assists, and was recognized with All-ISL Honorable Mention nods as a fifth-former and sixth-former at Brooks. “Shannon has dreamed of playing college soccer for so long,” Gilbert says. “She’s become a more mature player over the years and sees the field very well. Fairfield will be a great fit for her.” Karras, meanwhile, was a versatile captain for the Brooks squad. She played defense, midfield and some forward for Gilbert, and earned three All-ISL Honorable Mention spots over her three years at Brooks. “Mia is going to be a star at BC,” Gilbert says. “Her growth as a player and a person over the last three years has been tremendous. I’m excited to take our Brooks team to some of her games in the future!”
N EWS + NOTES
NEWS FRO M CAMPUS
Why did you choose to attend Brooks? Brooks is the only school I looked at that didn’t have a poetry club. That intrigued me. I thought instead of joining a club that already existed, I could start one up myself. I loved the idea that Brooks offers a meaningful education that isn’t just limited to the classroom. Everyone seemed as if they were involved in things outside of class. That’s the type of person I am, too.
How did your interest in poetry start? I’m from Korea. I began boarding school in America when I was 9, and I didn’t have perfect English. I really struggled with grammar. Then, in eighth grade, I got introduced to poetry, and I was like, where has this been all my life? I liked the idea of being free from the rules of grammar. The goal of poetry isn’t structure; it’s to express yourself. That’s such a beautiful form of art. A theme I explore is identity: Poetry has probably been the biggest, most important piece to the puzzle of my identity. I grew up far from home, always aware of how I was different from my peers. Poetry has been a way for me to express that.
Fast 5 // Q+A James Kim ’17 isn’t the most outspoken student at Brooks, but he’s found a way to express himself that’s attracted notice. Kim came to Brooks with the intention of starting a poetry club; now, the Poetry Club he started is flourishing. The Bulletin asked the sixth-former about his love of poetry, his progression to spoken-word poetry and his plans for the future.
How has your poetry progressed at Brooks? I’ve moved into spoken-word poetry here. Brooks has such a friendly, nurturing environment. I’ve been encouraged to do what I love, and I’ve felt more comfortable sharing poetry. In written poetry, it’s hard to distinguish the poet’s voice. The beauty of spoken-word poetry is that if I read a piece and then someone else reads the same piece, it’s totally different. I took an independent in the fall on spoken-word poetry. I was able to spend time researching different styles, writing poetry and working on my presentation.
How has the Poetry Club grown since its founding? Kelly Raymond ’17 and I used to watch videos of poetry together during free periods when we were third-formers. We had this epiphany and decided to start the Poetry Club in the spring of our third-form year. At first, it was three people, including Kelly and me. Then, we had five people. By the end of our fourth-form year, we had 15 people, and it’s grown from
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by James Kim ’17 I write your name on the beach But the waves wash away the letters One by one each The tidal waves Kiss the tip of my fingers As I try to write your name again I was told that the mother nature is a jealous type So I walked along the shore As the sea-shells echoed my footsteps Matching the steady beatings of my heart And I let the waves wash away the traces of your name Because once the wave subsided And the shells washed away It gave me a new fresh canvas For me to draw your name on And carve it down to the skin of mother nature Until the waves washed me away So I can see you Once again And the stones will remember our name
there. I didn’t realize how much this club would mean to some people. Students from across the student body come together to share and connect through poetry. It’s amazing. It’s become an environment where we feel free to share everything, and I appreciate that.
What’s next for you? Ideally, I’d like to continue poetry, but I know I can’t realistically depend on that. I’ve known since I was a fourth-former that I want to be a teacher. For me, someone who has spent so much time at boarding schools, teachers have been parental figures to me. And, I love the idea of sharing my knowledge with other people. My dream is to come back to Brooks in a few years to teach, and see that the Poetry Club is still here!
“The goal of poetry isn’t structure; it’s to express yourself. That’s such a beautiful form of art.” JAMES KIM ’17
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A Collective Effort During Winter Term, Brooks’s Luce Library set out a unique project on a library table: Two large geometric drawings, each approximately four feet in diameter, and a set of markers. The library staff invited students to stop by in their free time to color the pattern. The results of one completed drawing are pictured here. “Different groups of kids worked on them at different times, and it was fun for everyone to see them transformed into stunning pieces,” says Director of the Luce Library Ann Massoth. The drawings, which were the idea of Librarian Paula Kass, also complement Brooks’s current emphasis on mindfulness and creativity. The drawings were on display in the library’s lobby this spring.
HELPING TO SAVE LIVES Over the course of two on-campus blood drives this year, the Brooks Community Service program partnered with the Northeast Division of the American Red Cross to encourage students, faculty, staff and friends of the school to donate blood. Each of the day-long drives, held in the Frick Dining Hall, was productive.
All told, the Brooks community donated
53 units, enough to save up to
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Double Exposure Two Brooks photographers got a chance to shine in mid-February. Hannah Latham ’17 won a “Gold Key,” the top designation in the highly selective Boston Globe 2017 Massachusetts Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Award competition. Nalia Medina ’18, meanwhile, exhibited the photography she snapped during an independent she took under arts faculty Tabitha Sherrell in the Danforth Room.
“Nasty Woman,” by Hannah Latham ’17. This self-portrait includes a view of Luce Library on the Brooks campus.
Latham won gold for her art portfolio “Identity,” and a “Silver Key” award for her portfolios “Red Rooftops” and “Baths of Budapest.” The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, founded in 1923 and presented by the non-profit organization Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, aims to “identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world.” A win provides recognition, the chance for young artists to exhibit and publish their work, and a chance at scholarships. As a regional award Gold Key winner, Latham was considered for a national award decided in midMarch at a ceremony at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. This award is not the first time Latham’s photography has been recognized. Her photography was shown in a gallery for The Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward Incubator Project in 2015 and 2016. She won Brooks’s Buhl Photography Prize in 2016 and the George A. Tirone Prize for unusual promise in the visual arts in 2015. Her imagery has been published in several issues of Poise magazine, and was previously highlighted in the Bulletin [see Parting Shot, pg. 84, Brooks Bulletin, Winter 2015].
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OVER H E ARD
THE BROOKS STUDENT BODY, in Chapel on March 6, 2017, reacting to a computer-simulated walkthrough of the new Center for the Arts. When the tour reached the new theater, the students broke out into spontaneous applause. Lee Berman ’07, an architect at Ann Beha Architects, gave the presentation.
Medina’s photography exhibit featured a Nalia Medina ’18 during the opening series of photographs of female Brooks reception of her students. Each subject had a statement recent photography exhibit in the written on her back and another Danforth Room. statement written on her upper chest. The statements on the subjects’ backs, Medina explains, were answers to the question: “What is something someone has told you that harmed your self esteem?”; the statements on the subjects’ chests were answers to the question: “What is something you have learned to be true about yourself that doesn’t have to do with your physicality?” “A friend once asked me to pose for a similar project knowing I would be challenged,” Medina says. “I now thank her so much for giving me the space to grow. I felt as though I owed that same opportunity to the girls around me. I wanted to give people the chance to acknowledge all the negative things that have been said to them, but also give them the chance to overcome. I was able to capture both the inner beauty and the outer beauty of every girl who posed for this series. I’ve never been a part of something more honest and human, raw and truthful, beautiful and accepting.”
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A Student-Driven Collaboration The Tavern, an online publication written, edited and published by a cross-section of students attending different boarding schools, debuts this year. The Brooks community got some new reading material this year, as did students at several other boarding schools including Phillips Academy, St. Mark’s School, Tabor Academy and Deerfield Academy. The editorial board of The Tavern, which has a student from each of its 10 member schools on the panel, publishes online art and essays from students at each school. The Tavern publishes monthly on different themes, ranging from relationships to religion to the 2016 presidential election. It’s billed as “a thoughtpaper, not a newspaper,” and Brooks Editor Rowan Beaudoin-Friede ’17 thinks that’s a valuable distinction. “The Tavern offers a little bit more freedom in terms of what we’re able to publish and what we’re able to write,” he says. “You’re supposed to express your perspectives and opinions. It gives students an opportunity to discuss things that might be considered taboo in a more traditional setting. And, you get to see the perspective from other schools, so there’s a sense of fraternity.” Beaudoin-Friede says that he’s noticed a diversity of thought and opinion across the contributions, but also similarities in how students relate to their faculties and administrations. “The Tavern lets students, who are dealing with a lot of external pressure, just express themselves,” he says. “Next year, after I leave Brooks, I hope that this is something that lasts, because I think it’s helpful.”
N EWS + NOTES
NEWS FROSC M ENE CAMPUS CAMPUS
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During Winter Term, the Brooks campus isnâ€™t limited to the buildings and grounds on Great Pond Road. Here, students in the course The Great Outdoors embark with an instructor to climb Tuckerman Ravine, a glacial cirque on the slopes of Mount Washington, for an avalanche awareness class. PHOTO: MATT BALDELLI
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To see more photos of Winter Term classes in action, visit www.brooksschool photos.com.
NEWS FRO M CAMPUS
A Broad Range of Knowledge Winter Term 2017 featured classes in creative writing, crafting TED Talks, marine science and aquaculture, and the history of jazz. Students spent the three-week period immersed in learning experiences that differ from those offered during the academic year, and they came away from Winter Term refreshed, inspired and intellectually curious. In An Introduction to Architectural Design , students were able to engage their creativity and technical prowess. Students acted as architects, meeting with a client, analyzing requirements and creating a final product in the form of detailed blueprints and a modeled representation. The third form kicked off Winter Term with a three-day trip to Camp Becket  in the Berkshires. The form bonded, engaged in outdoor activities and practiced many of the skills — independence, teamwork, discipline and communication — that are vital to Winter Term coursework. Students enrolled in A Whole New World: The U.S. Immigrant Experience  engaged in discussion and field trips to New York and Boston to better understand the past and present experience of immigrants to the United States. The group observed a naturalization ceremony at Boston’s Faneuil Hall, presided over by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal P’17, seen here speaking with students following the ceremony. The Mock Trial  class taught students the basics of American legal process in preparation for their participation in a mock trial. Students attended proceedings at Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston, visited with local trial attorneys and developed analytical, rhetorical and oratorical skills. Students in Brooks Goes to Preschool  worked in partnership with the Lawrence, Mass., YWCA to work in preschool
programs in an early education program. The Brooks students supported teachers and served as mentors to the young students while reinforcing class routines, school readiness, and reading and comprehension skills. The class also learned about the issues that the preschool students face and came away with a greater understanding of meaningful outreach.
Several Winter Term classes took advantage of Boston’s close proximity to campus. Classes traveled to Boston  to conduct research, visit a museum or gain context for their classwork. Here, students from two classes pose in front of a statue of school founder Phillips Brooks, located outside Trinity Church in Copley Square.
Explore Your Inner Creativity: An Introduction to Sculpture Fabrication  asked students to immerse themselves in the world of metal sculpting. The class spent time in the studio, the classroom and on a field trip to meet a metal sculptor. Each student created their own artistic metal sculpture, building around the theme of retro robots.
Genetics & Genealogy  students conducted genealogical research at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. Students spent Winter Term learning about who they are and where they came from through a combination of genetics and genealogical research. Students drafted family trees, and met with genetic researchers and a sociologist. In The Complexity of War , students used the Vietnam War as a point of entry into considering more recent American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The students attempted to understand the challenges facing those who authorize and wage wars by speaking with veterans and examining primary source readings. The group traveled to Washington, D.C., to visit several sites, including, pictured, Arlington National Cemetery.
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NEWS CAMPUS AT H L E FRO T E SM POT LI G H T
A three-sport captain and school prefect learns how to harness her vocal nature into effective leadership.
Gabi Hillner ’17
On Fridays, Brooksians go to class, attend School Meeting and engage in their afternoon activities as usual, but they light up if they see an email from Gabi Hillner ’17 in their inbox. Hillner, a three-sport captain and school prefect, is charged this year with announcing so-called “Spirit Saturdays,” when students may wear Brooks gear instead of the standard dress code to Saturday classes. Her emails rise to the occasion. “Saturdays are the best,” one email subject reads, “when they are filled with SPIRIT,” concludes the body. In early December, “Santa came early,” a subject read, “AND HIS NAME IS WILLIE WATERS,” the body continued, announcing that the dean of students had approved the next day as a Spirit Saturday. “All green everything,” “This is not a drill,” and “SO MUCH SPIRIT,” other subject lines exhort. The emails are to the point, funny and festooned with emoji (any and all green emoji, it seems, are fair game), and they hit their mark perfectly. Hillner’s emails provide a window into her personality, and into the qualities that have made her a captain of the 1st field hockey team, girls 1st ice hockey team and 1st softball team, a leader of the student body and a student who cares deeply about performing at her best. “The thing about Gabi is, she’s loud,” says Associate Director of Admission Lori Charpentier, who is Hillner’s advisor and head coach of the hockey team. “She was loud as a third-former and she’s loud now as a sixthformer, but she’s learned how to harness that. She’s loud differently now.”
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Hillner is loud differently, Charpentier explains, because she recognizes that she’s a vocal leader and she fashions that outspoken nature into a manner that feels inclusive to the quieter, younger teammates she leads. “As a leader on the hockey team, Gabi connects with a wide range of kids,” Charpentier continues. “She had some leadership skills as a thirdand fourth-former, and she was very aware of that. So, she concentrated on and developed those leadership skills, and she’s worked hard to become a strong leader as she matures as a student-athlete.” Hillner — who is a tall, strong hockey defenseman, and the kind of physical presence that opposing teams tend to tread carefully around — has a lot of innate athletic talent. But, Charpentier says, “I don’t think Gabi’s ever taken anything for granted. In hockey, and across the board, she’s committed to working hard and improving. What’s really special is that she’s doing that not only for herself, but also for her teammates.” In her first days at Brooks, Hillner took on a challenge that committed her to working hard and improving: She picked up a field hockey stick for the first time, she says, “on my way to preseason practice.” This fall, she co-captained the program to a NEPSAC tournament bid. “Field hockey, this new sport that I just picked up on the fly, was probably one of the best experiences I had at Brooks. All of a sudden, I wasn’t on the field, I was on the bench,” Hillner says. “I appreciated that, and I recognized that. My two captains that year — Alesandra Miller ’14 and Jackie Murphy ’14 — may have been the best captains I’ve ever had. Their personalities, their humor — I think if you ask people, they’ll tell you I’m pretty funny — I saw how they worked with the team and made everybody
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“You have to trust your teammates because you’re not an individual anymore, you’re part of a team. I tell people, and I tell myself, that you need to do it for your teammates.” GABI HILLNER ’17
laugh. You can bring people together in a lot of different ways, and I liked that I wasn’t afraid whatsoever to approach them.” Hillner took that experience into her hockey and softball captaincies. Last winter, as a fifth-form captain, Hillner led a young Brooks hockey team to the New England Championship game. This winter, the All-ISL Honorable Mention pick helped drive the team back into the playoffs with a 4-1-2 run to finish the regular season and clinch a tournament bid. She was also a fifth-form captain for the softball team, which posted a winning record and solidified behind a solid core of players. Hillner is the team’s catcher, and her defense (“I love throwing runners out at second
base”) is outmatched only by her reputation as the team’s power hitter. “I emphasize that everybody has different talents and that everybody needs to work off each other,” Hillner says. “You have to trust your teammates because you’re not an individual anymore, you’re part of a team. I tell people, and I tell myself, that you need to do it for your teammates.” Hillner’s work ethic extends to the classroom, also. She points to a Latin class she took with classical languages faculty Deb Davies. “Ms. Davies might be the most important teacher I’ve had,” Hillner says. “First of all, it’s Latin. It was a one-year course in Latin grammar that was very hard. But beyond that, Ms. Davies helped me become aware of how I should be studying. She’s helped me realize how I do certain things, why I do those things and how I should do them instead. And, she did that through teaching me Latin!” Hillner took Latin because she plans a career in the medical field. “I wanted to be a soldier when I was little, then a firefighter, then a physical therapist,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to help people. Now, I want to be a nurse. Nurses are compassionate figures. They’re maternal figures. They’re important people.” At press time, Hillner planned to enroll in the nursing program and play hockey at Salve Regina University. “I think it’s cool that Gabi chose nursing as a profession,” Charpentier says. “I think that, in many ways, nursing will connect all these dots for Gabi. Being a good teammate, taking care of others, and depending on her specialty, competition — there’s a lot there, and I think it goes back to the fact that Gabi is always willing to take a step back and self-reflect.”
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NEWS FRO AT HLET I CSMNCAMPUS EWS
A Postseason Presence BOYS HOOPS HAS ETHEREAL SEASON
The Brooks boys 1st basketball team built on its dynasty this winter, turning in an undefeated season, an ISL championship and a NEPSAC Class B championship. Four sixth-formers — Fru Che, captain Tamenang Choh, Isaiah Godwin and Adonis Williams — were named to the All-ISL and All-New England teams. Head coach John McVeigh was named NEPSAC Class B All-New England Coach of the Year. “Sometimes after the season, you know you had a great season,” McVeigh says. “This year, I would
walk out of practice knowing that we were having a great season. This team was very deep, so practice was a lot of fun and anyone could beat anyone on a given day. That prepared us for almost every situation. And, the team competed with each other but also all got along, which is a delicate balance.” McVeigh credits his sixth-form leadership, which also included Alex Chaban and Ethan GabertDoyon, with fostering a team culture emphasizing team success over individual glory. “That’s what’s so great about this team,” McVeigh says. “All of them — one through 14 — could be leading
The boys 1st basketball team (above) repeated as NEPSAC Class B champions this year. The squad also hauled in an undefeated season and an ISL championship.
scorers or stars on other teams, but instead they all want to be a part of this beyond their own minutes or points totals.” Next year’s outlook is promising. There’s a strong group of fifthformers ready to take the reins. And, McVeigh says, 2nd team coach Kenya Jones has worked hard to prepare the 2nd team for ascension to the 1st team. “Kenya coaches all of 2nd team practice and then comes over and coaches
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the 1st team practice,” McVeigh says. “It’s a testament to him, but it also lets us have a program where the 2nd team is working under the same philosophy and tactics as the 1st team. If we need it, those kids can jump in and help the 1st team out.” Beyond Jones, McVeigh credits the rest of his longtime coaching staff, including assistant coach Michael O’Connor and McVeigh’s father. “Our kids benefit from constant contact with people who really know what they’re doing,” he says. He also credits the team’s managers — sixth-formers Amelia Burke, Mia Karras and Liza Peters. “As a coach, you hope someday to run into a group of kids who care as much as you do, who treat each other well and who play hard. That all came together in one year,” McVeigh concludes. “It’s awesome to coach them. I’m the luckiest coach around.”
WRESTLING STANDS STRONG
The 1st wrestling team had a season to remember, earning a second place finish in the Graves-Kelsey Tournament and sending eight Brooksians to the New England Championship tournament. Four grapplers — Jason Gold ’18,
Nick Konovalchik ’17, Owen Rosenberger ’17 and Matt Vieira ’17 — were named to the AllISL team; Gold, Konovalchik and Rosenberger also earned All-New England nods; and Konovalchik capped his career at Brooks with a spot on the All-America team. Head coach Alex Konovalchik is deservedly proud of his squad’s success on the mat, but he quickly points the focus to the team’s character off the mat as the reason for its success. “This team, we were very close,” he says, referring to the team’s 13 members as the Lucky 13. “We shared dialogue and conversation on lots of topics, and we shared a lot of life lessons. Success is one of the goals of any program; but we also spent a lot of time cultivating virtues that will serve us well.” This season, Konovalchik’s 24th, was his final season coaching the squad. He says he is proud of the success his teams have accrued, but that he takes particular pride in the relationships he’s fostered over the years. He applauds his wife, Admission Office Administrative Assistant Sheila Konovalchik, with helping parent his students, develop relationships with them and, as he says “watch these guys grow up.”
TRANSCENDING THE SPORT
Coach Konovalchik, or Coach K as he is known, is more than a coach of the “world’s oldest and greatest sport.” His teachings transcend the sport. Every day in practice, while he taught us new technique, he always incorporated wrestling lessons with real life lessons. Maturing through the sport was more important than winning a championship. After 24 years of coaching, Coach K’s legacy has reached hundreds of young men. Whether they were New England champions or athletes who began wrestling at Brooks, Coach K cared about every single person who stepped into the room. He has taught how to live a life of character, dignity, hard work and respect for all. He has truly shaped all of us into the young men we are today and the men we will become. He will be missed immensely on the mat, but it is certain that future wrestling teams will emulate his knowledge of the sport and of how to live life.— Jason Gold ’18
GIRLS BASKETBALL TURNS HEADS
The girls 1st basketball team came around the bend this winter, finishing with an 11-8 record, the sixth seed in the NEPSAC Class B tournament, and well-deserved accolades for its three-year co-captains: Alexia Ames ’17 made the All-ISL team and picked up NEPSAC Class B All-Star honors, and classmate Ellie Cordes got an All-ISL Honorable Mention nod as well as her own NEPSAC Class B All-Star nod. “It was a three-year process, and I knew we were heading in the right direction,” head coach Alex Skinner ’08 says about the team’s reappearance in the postseason. “We’ve been working on the basics, on creating good habits and on stepping back to understand the larger concepts of the game. This year at tryouts, I knew we had finally turned the corner.” Skinner gives much of the credit for the resurgence to Cordes and Ames, the team’s leading scorer and point guard, respectively. “Everyone looked to them during the games. They have great voices, and the girls listened to them,” Skinner says. “Their consistent leadership of the team, delivering the same message every year for three years — they made a huge difference.” Skinner loses a strong sixthform class, but he has high hopes for the future. “I wish that we had playoff experience heading into the tournament to understand what it was going to be like,” he says. “Although it’s a sacrifice for these sixth-formers to go in with no experience, now our young players have been there, and next time, it will feel more familiar.”
W MORE ONLINE: Please visit the Brooks athletics website at brooksschool.org/athletics for more information on your favorite Brooks team, including schedules, game recaps and up-to-date news. SP RI NG 2017
The Auditorium in fall 2016. The building has been used by the Brooks theater program since 1935.
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THE A RTS AT B RO O KS : T H E PAST
The Shoulders We Stand On
If the soon-to-be-built Center for the Arts is a dream home for the Brooks arts program, then consider the Auditorium its starter home. We’re gaining space, facilities, modern features, and a wealth of performance, rehearsal, classroom, studio and community space. At the same time, though, we’re bidding goodbye to the cozy, familiar building filled with memories that our community — our family — grew up in. The Bulletin invites you to take a final look around before we turn off the lights and lock the Auditorium door for the last time.
BY RE B ECCA A. BINDER SP RI NG 2017
he 1933 Bishop reports on the glimmer of an idea at a Brooks School still in its infancy. “In the fall of 1931 a pair of ambitious souls thought how nice it would be to have a play on the weekend of the dance,” the Bishop reads. It continues:“[T]hus the Dramatic Society was started. [Former senior master Arthur] Milliken was duly appointed coach of the Society. At the outset he asked all concerned if they knew how much work they had to do. The reply was in the affirmative, although none had the faintest idea of the tasks involved.” The Bishop goes on to note that, “after much quibbling,” two plays were chosen by the fledgling Dramatic Society to perform in the spring of 1932: “The Crimson Cocoanut,” by Ian Hay, and “Where the Cross Is Made,” by Eugene O’Neill. “The audience came, the audience clapped, the audience went,” the Bishop concludes. “The actors hoped they were amused, and some of the audience claimed they were. The stage, a masterpiece of carpentry and art, disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.”
A page of the 1932 program from two one-act plays, “Where The Cross Is Made” and “The Crimson Cocoanut.” This performance was the first performance of the school’s Dramatic Society.
The stage may have disappeared as quickly as it had appeared — in the first years of the school, performances took place in today’s Frick Dining Hall — but the students’ desire to engage in theater didn’t dissipate as quickly. The next year, the Dramatic Society had officers, a constitution and another play in the works: “The Cat and the Canary,” which had recently enjoyed a run in movie theaters. Beginning with the earliest student performance on record — a 1931 student-written, six-act comedy titled “Faculty Frightfulness,” in which a fictional boarding school headmaster, Mr. Ashbomb, calls for a regimen of strict discipline to be carried out by his faculty — art, and the focus of this piece, the Brooks theater program, has been a steady undercurrent of the student experience. Theater at Brooks has humble beginnings (“Faculty Frightfulness” was performed without a set, and instead showed the characters in silhouette behind
a white sheet strung across the entrance to long-gone Jackson Dormitory). This evolved to the detailed scenery envisioned by faculty emeritus Fessenden Wilder in a newly renovated Auditorium. From there, further efforts by the school to modernize and expand the Auditorium allowed for student creativity to flourish. In the final years of the 20th century, the Brooks administration began to focus on making the arts a pillar of the school’s academic program, and today’s students take arts classes as a major subject.
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The cast of “The Tempest,” which ran at Brooks in 1951.
The Early Years Through most of its evolution, the theater program at Brooks has been housed in the Auditorium, which sits at the center of campus and has been a steady surveyor of daily life at Brooks since the school’s founding. The first production to take place in the Auditorium was in 1935, but the building dates to the 19th century and Brooks’s origins as Lakeview Farm. Today’s Auditorium was yesterday’s barn. The building, which was built in 1871, originally served as shelter for cows, horses and other animals. It measured 120
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“On Fessenden’s stage gas stoves could be lit, running water really ran, and if a newspaper was lying around, it was from the right city and of the right date of the play. The Auditorium began to become a theatre in the best possible way, growing organically and adding new features as they were needed.” FACULTY EMERITUS ERIC C. BAADE
A scene from 1939’s “Murder in the Cathedral,” which was the Dramatic Society’s first attempt at a poetic drama.
feet long and 40 feet high, and was one of the largest livestock barns in North Andover. The basement of the barn’s three stories housed animals, and the upper and rafter levels were built to hold more than 200 tons of hay. Brooks was established in 1926. Since then, the barn has been home to: a garage; a gymnasium; locker rooms; basketball and squash courts; music classrooms; and theater space itself, which has hosted theater productions and the student body’s traditional School Meeting. Brooks theater productions continued to take hold of the Auditorium through the 1930s. Notably, students performed Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” in 1938, despite most of the cast suffering from pink-eye, laryngitis, chicken pox or a combination of the three, as well as T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” in 1939, which was the Dramatic Society’s first attempt at a poetic drama. The Rise of Theater In 1941, a girl graced a Brooks theater production for the first time: Phyllis Ashburn, founding headmaster Frank Ashburn’s daughter, appeared in “Juno and the Paycock,” the second installation in Sean O’Casey’s “Dublin Trilogy.” In subsequent years, beginning in 1948, Brooks productions cast girls from Abbot Academy, a girls school in Andover, Mass., that has since merged with Phillips Academy; Abbot Academy students were routinely cast in female roles for Brooks productions into the 1960s. Faculty emeritus Eric C. Baade credited Fessenden Wilder as the architect of a new era of ambitious Brooks theatrical productions. Baade wrote in 1981, in an article titled “The Performing Arts at Brooks,” that Wilder “rivaled David Belasco in the detailed accuracy
“Only after all the new luxuries became accepted facts did one realize under what difficulties the Dramatic Association had been operating for so long, and how remarkably well they had made out with such scant facilities.” FORMER FACULTY J. TOWER THOMPSON
of his naturalism. On Fessenden’s stage gas stoves could be lit, running water really ran, and if a newspaper was lying around, it was from the right city and of the right
date of the play. The Auditorium began to become a theatre in the best possible way, growing organically and adding new features as they were needed.”
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Abbot Academy faculty Miss von Erpecom (left) and Brooks faculty Chychele Waterston during the February 1965 production of “The Cocktail Party.” Brooks turned to female students from Abbot to fill out its casts from 1948 into the 1960s.
The 1940s also brought new inroads to creativity with the founding of The Players’ Club, a student group that produced plays on a less formal scale than the Dramatic Association demanded. The Players’ Club presented its first show, Kenneth Sawyer Goodman’s “A Game of Chess,” in 1945. Baade suspected that the high level of student investment in the theater program related to the large amount of free time Brooks students had in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Baade wrote: “Then, there were fewer courses required, there were very few afternoon classes, lower athletic teams practiced about an hour a day, and the students were practically never (and the faculty
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hardly ever) allowed to leave the campus. Everyone was forced to have a hobby, just to fill his abundant free time, and the hobbies were usually either scientific, mechanical or artistic … It was like living in a juvenile version of the Italian Renaissance … There were years when there were as many as ten dramatic productions: Four official Brooks School Dramatic Association ones and six dissident or disgruntled student ones, all the products of spare time.” The Golden Years The Auditorium was renovated in 1948 through the generosity of the Rheem family, coinciding with the introduction of the Abbot girls to Brooks casts. Former faculty J. Tower Thompson, writing in the book “Thirty Years at Brooks,” described the renovation: “In place of the hard wooden folding
chairs, comfortable chairs fixed on a sloping floor were installed. In place of the shallow platform and the squash-court dressing rooms, we were given a deep stage fully equipped with every sort of theatrical device,” he wrote. “Only after all the new luxuries became accepted facts did one realize under what difficulties the Dramatic Association had been operating for so long, and how remarkably well they had made out with such scant facilities.” The Dramatic Association rose to the glories of the renovated structure, performing Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in 1951. In the 1961 academic year, the group performed three major productions in a year for the first time, turning again to Shakespeare and to George Bernard Shaw: “Richard II,” “Caesar and Cleopatra,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The 1964 production of “Coriolanus” was the most ambitious up to that date, with a cast and crew of almost 50 students, and the 1965 production of “Biederman and the Firebugs” was presented in English and German on consecutive nights. A 1969 update further enhanced the Auditorium. In October 1969, The Brooks Shield ran a front-page article that reported: “In its new role as a center for the creative arts, the enlarged Auditorium provides space for an art studio and several instrumental music practice rooms. The quality of dramatic productions should also be greatly enhanced by numerous improvements on the stage.” The article points to an increased number of lighting circuits, the installation of movable seats and the redesigning of the backstage area — including the appropriation of the lower floor of the former Rogers House as dressing rooms, a prop storage room and a study room — as some of the building’s improvements. It also mentions,
A Well-Rounded ARTS Education Brooks’s visual arts program has organic, student-driven roots that began in 1935 under the informal tutelage of faculty emeritus Alicia Waterston, the wife of faculty Chychele Waterston and a working artist. Mrs. Waterston nurtured student creativity for more than three decades. She worked with budding artists on their pieces and also exposed them to the world of art outside Brooks: Mrs. Waterston frequently took students on trips to nearby galleries and museums. Founding headmaster Frank Ashburn hired faculty emeritus Michael King as the school’s first arts department chair in 1963, following requests from students to incorporate Mrs. Waterston’s informal studio art and art history classes into the formal school curriculum. “She had an extraordinary intelligence,” King told the Bulletin in fall 2000, remembering Mrs. Waterston. “For the artistic boys at the time … she was incredible. She really encouraged them … and she was very proactive.” The arts department flourished under King’s direction and began to influence other sectors of the Brooks curriculum. Faculty emeritus E. Graham Ward helped King develop a humanities course — an interdisciplinary sixth-form seminar co-taught by the chairs of the English, music, history and arts departments. King was also the first director of the Robert Lehman Arts Center. To this day, the Lehman allows Brooks students, faculty and staff to engage with the arts outside of the formal curriculum and as a part of everyday life. The mid-1960s were a time when Brooks’s artists pushed to make art a part of the community’s environment. The Art Association, which had more than 100 members, ran a loan collection of original and reproduced works of art, which students and faculty families used to decorate their dorm rooms and homes. The Art Association also led a Sunday afternoon film series. And, Keating Memorial Room was the home to a constantly rotating art exhibit, much of it created or owned by Brooks alumni. The school also improved its facilities at this time: An anonymous gift of $60,000 allowed Brooks to expand its art studios and add a ceramics room, a graphics studio and a sculpture workshop. A 1983 gift by Roy R. Plum ’56 led to the construction of a darkroom. The music curriculum also flourished in the 1980s. And, dance became a course offering for the first time: Class met daily, and the course concluded in solo and group performances at the end of each semester. In 1983, the Bulletin reported on a celebration of the opening of the Russell Performing Arts Center following the 1981 renovation of the lower floor of the Auditorium. The celebration included a student vocal octet, joined by a string quartet, in a performance of Henry Purcell’s “Come, Ye Sons of Art” and other works. Former Music Director Kristin Sprague led a department that a 1988 article by Caroline Glesmann ’88, titled “A Musical Mosaic,” called “a mosaic of interests, talents and energies.” The article describes a bevy of activity, including: a madrigal group; a guitar student diligently perfecting a Led Zeppelin song; a music theory student deep in composition; and the leads of the school musical rehearsing a duet. Coursework inspired students to develop skills and self-motivation; private lessons allowed students to delve into their musical passions; and ensemble groups of varied size, musical era and instrumentation allowed students to find their performance niche.
almost as an afterthought, a new safety feature that may be of interest to our modern standards: “The installation of a floor 40 feet above the stage itself will be a great aid in making scene changes and will also be an added safety factor, since such changes have previously been made by boys crawling across open beams.” The Dramatic Association made use of the newly renovated space. Bertolt Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera,” the first musical produced in the Auditorium, debuted in 1970. The following year, students took advantage of the renovation’s movable seats to perform Moliere’s “The Misanthrope” in a theater-in-the-round. A Shifting Priority “After this heyday,” Baade wrote in 1981, “things began to crumble. A generation of actors arrived who had been educated by the then popular no-rote learning methods, and they found it hard to memorize. We couldn’t do plays with long roles; several plays we did try had to be cancelled. This meant that we could not advertise plays in the neighboring towns, and we lost our loyal audience from outside the school. At the same time, the new vogue for spontaneity in all things made the very concept of long rehearsals and planned effects repugnant to the students. Most of them felt that if they more or less knew their lines by the first performance, they would somehow invent the appropriate business, movements and expressions on the night.” Baade’s concerns aside, the 1970s ushered in a new era with lasting influence at Brooks: Musicals took hold, including “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” in 1974, “Man of La Mancha” in 1977, “The Boyfriend” in 1980 and “Anything Goes” in 1981.
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In this undated photo, Brooks students try out for a musical.
“What role will theatre arts play in the school curriculum in the future? We are hopeful that it will be an integral one, wherein every graduate of Brooks will have the opportunity to participate fully in some form of the arts through course offerings in drama as well as music and art.” FORMER FACULTY TOM BURGESS
This push toward an integration of acting and music performance was reflected in a push to turn the Auditorium into a space for all of the performing arts at Brooks. It also reflected the new perspectives and priorities that Brooks students and faculty brought to the
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theater program. The Auditorium saw additional improvements in 1981, when gifts from Mrs. Richard Russell and the Vanoff family facilitated the renovation and expansion of the lower floor of the building, renamed the Richard and Katherine Russell Performing Arts
Center. This renovation included the construction of the Vanoff Black Box Theater. The addition of music classrooms and the black box theater helped productions excel by using the space more efficiently: Actors could rehearse and musicians could practice while scenery was being constructed on the main stage, for example. The black box theater also allowed students to expand their repertoire toward more experimental plays and smaller, often student-led or student-written, productions. The lower floor of the Auditorium had previously been used for athletic locker rooms and equipment rooms. The black box theater took the place of the equipment room. (To meet building codes, the floor had to be lowered four feet, leading to the current “well” surrounded by stairs and an L-shaped walk.) “In addition to providing an opportunity and locus for small productions,” former faculty Tom Burgess wrote in an article titled “The Drama Laboratory in the Russell Arts Center,” “we hope that this laboratory may be a focal point for a curricular program in the theatre arts which will make the entire Auditorium complex a fully integrated part of the Brooks curriculum.” Burgess concludes with a question, given the “threshold of construction of the arts center.” He wonders, “What role will theatre arts play in the school curriculum in the future? We are hopeful that it will be an integral one, wherein every graduate of Brooks will have the opportunity to participate fully in some form of the arts through course offerings in drama as well as music and art.”
A scene from “Steel Magnolias,” which ran at Brooks in 2010.
An Academic Push Until the late 1980s, the spring 1997 issue of the Bulletin reported, the Brooks theater program “was considered more of an extracurricular school activity or workshop rather than a serious part of the academic day.” By 1997, according to then-Director of Theater Michael Walczak, the tone had changed. Brooksians had become committed to their theater classes, and, Walczak said, more came “with theater in their soul.” The 1997 course catalog, the Bulletin continued, offered a variety of performance-based courses. The number of quality student projects was rising as Brooksians explored performance or dramatic literature outside of the classroom. Brooks had also connected with several professional groups, including
Shakespeare & Company, Boston University’s Huntington Theater and the American Repertory Theater, to offer students valuable experience. And, the broadening theater offerings weren’t only benefitting a self-selecting group of students: All students were required to complete a year-long course, Integrated Arts, as third- or fourthformers. The interdisciplinary course rotated between visual arts, music and drama segments. Since then, the arts have become even more integrated into the Brooks academic day. Two years ago, the administration categorized arts courses as major course selections, and today’s Brooks bustles with courses in visual, musical and performing arts. The program has grown, substantially, in the Auditorium. The
Auditorium has hosted more than 80 years of performances, 80 years of effort, 80 years of meaningful experience. Under the Auditorium’s watch, the theater program at Brooks grew from a group of boys eking out the beginnings of the Dramatic Society, to a collective, impressive effort at beauty and realism in scenery and performance, to the introduction of musical theater and an integration of art forms, to today’s well-run productions that mimic the professional stage. A 19th century barn gave way to a 20th century space for high school students to experiment, to push their boundaries, to showcase their strengths and brave their weaknesses in front of their peers. Now, in the beginning of the 21st century, few buildings on campus have both the depth and breadth of history that the Auditorium has: Every Brooks student has sat in those seats, has walked across that stage, has learned and grown within those walls. In 2017, the Auditorium can no longer accommodate the school’s growing vision for its arts program or its community spaces; but the failure of the Auditorium to meet the school’s current needs is a function of its success at meeting and incubating the school’s past needs. It’s fitting that the new Center for the Arts will be built largely in the footprint of the building it replaces: The new structure will usher in unbeatable opportunities for Brooks students, faculty and community members, and it will do so resting on the foundation of the starter home — the simple, outdated, humble barn — that sheltered, fed and supported the Brooks arts community as it grew.
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The Auditorium, shortly after its 1948 renovation.
“A Remarkable Edifice” BY HAL HAMILTON ’53
The pending demolition of the great barn brings sorrow of a personal kind. Old Brooksians might make for the Chapel upon return, but for others, the great barn beckons. From my very first view, it seemed a remarkable edifice. Once home to a prize dairy herd, the handsome building went through many identities during 100 years of use. From the cupola with the weather vane, from which the campus could be surveyed far and wide, to the spacious attic that hosted a rowing machine for the crew: The Auditorium had been more than ample. Outside the front door hung a locomotive bell — there to be rung in cases of emergency — a relic of earliest Brooks. The stage and proscenium shone as the jewels in the crown. This wonderfully balanced and much-used area equaled any other in the prep school kingdom. Scene dock, green room and catwalk, all next door to a faculty residence that flanked SP RI NG 2017
one end, two squash courts the other, while below were locker rooms, a weight and wrestling room that abutted the coaches’ office, and various storage areas. The great barn hosted events such as the Harvard glee club, plays of Shakespeare and Shaw, operettas, and later on a cascade of musicals, films, even revues — satire lampooning imagined faculty meetings or rowdy songs mirroring school life. Many legends were composed about the great barn. Saturday afternoons in 1950 found intrepid music lovers surrounding “professor” Nemo McClellahan ’52 playing the best of ragtime. Sam Phillips ’52 recalls that the piano hammers had thumbtacks added to render the authentic honky tonk sound. Nemo performed in a bowler hat and shirt sleeves that were gartered. Ragtime! Another extracurricular activity not in the school catalog: Stagecraft reached
new heights when a mobile bat flown on a wire soared from the projection booth over the audience to land on Dracula’s coffin. This fiberglass projectile flew on a CO2 cartridge, which in dress rehearsal proved woefully underpowered. A CO2 flask would be substituted; emitting a python-like hiss, the bat hesitated at first, only to whirlygig, spinning the rocket over the heads of Abbot girls, scattering dry ice shards everywhere, landing on the vampire’s coffin with a tremendous thump and awakening the count (Ion Laskaris ’51) some lines too early. The stage became awash with prop blood, the air supercharged with laughter. Parody was never better. But what of an illicit concoction, still concealed in the locker room, that caused a gallon jug of Boxford cider and raisins to become yeast and fruit cocktail that exploded, having been left to mature over the Christmas holiday, thereby
“Those who felt its attractions might consider this one of the marvels of mystical Brooks, whose existence rests with the individual.” Hal Hamilton ’53
blowing open one of the locker doors? The stench thereof may well be imagined. In future exchanges with Leigh Perkins ’81, we both noted that the barn stage maintained its own tidal pull. Those who felt its attractions might consider this one of the marvels of mystical Brooks, whose existence rests with the individual. For my part, the muffled sound of the expectant audience, the curtains parting, heralded things to come. Finding out what you care about and are good at ought to be a subjective reward of an education. 27
Max Currie â€™17, one of the male leads, surveys the scene from backstage.
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T H E ARTS AT B RO O KS : THE P RES E N T
Final PERFORMANCE BY RE BECCA A. BINDER
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In February, the Auditorium hosted the final performance to take place within its walls: the musical â€œCabaret,â€? which follows the romance of writer Clifford Bradshaw and wayward British heiress-turned-cabaret performer Sally Bowles as they make their way through 1930s Berlin and the rise of the Nazi party. The Bulletin followed the production from its early rehearsals to its final bows.
t feels almost like magic. Once a year, a group of Brooks students and faculty turns a script into a show, turns choreography and notes into evocative musical numbers, and turns the aging stage in the cozy Auditorium into an ethereal performance space. More than that, though: Here, in this space, this old livestock barn, is where limits are pushed; where memories are cemented; where bravery is found; and where Brooks may be at its best.
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It’s early in the production schedule, but Max Currie ’17 moves as if he’s already logged some serious hours in pursuit of his role. Currie plays the Emcee, a showman who controls the goings-on at the Kit Kat Klub, the cabaret where Bowles performs. The freewheeling, adventurous, devil-may-care atmosphere inside the Kit Kat Klub plays in stark contrast to the increasingly harsh political and social realities of the outside world. As a male lead,
Currie provides a steady presence to a cast that resembles a young racehorse at the starting gate: enthusiastic and raring to go, but in need of a calm, patient hand at the reins. The group rehearses “Willkommen,” the show’s opening number, in which the Emcee introduces the Kit Kat Klub dancers through a bawdy song that drips with double entendres and knowing winks. The dancers, a group of girls, are clearly having fun as they explore their
new characters: They practice dance moves, collaborate on the choreographed milling around that takes place in the background, and, the self-consciousness fading as they go on, conceive of and refine the individual flourishes — the subtle wave of the hand, the coy wink to the audience, the confident arch of the back — that mark the character they’re inhabiting. Elizabeth Ford, arts and world languages faculty, is choreographing the show’s intricate dance numbers. “I will not give you a spot. You’re an actor — choose!” she exhorts to several dancers who are unsure of how to position themselves behind the Emcee. Ford is not the only faculty helping the students iron out early kinks. Kenneth Griffith, arts faculty and the prodcution’s music director, works with Currie on his timing. Rob Lazar, chair of the arts department and the show’s director, surveys the rehearsal from the audience. “We’re going to take it from the top!” Ford instructs. Dancers take their places, and a recording of “Willkommen” — in the early days of rehearsal, the actors practice with pre-recorded tracks — blares.
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Left: A rehearsal of the musical number “Money.” Right: The final scene, in which the cast is transformed into Nazi officers and prisoners. Below: The cover of the program for “Cabaret.” This production marked the third time “Cabaret” hit the Brooks stage.
DECEMBER 8, 2016
The Kit Kat Klub dancers and Currie are rehearsing “Willkommen” again, but with a twist: Several of the dancers are absent — due to injury, illness or other commitments — and have been replaced for the day by members of the tech crew, the stage managers and other available bodies. As a result, the run-throughs are shakier than they should be, as newly appointed dancers fumble to execute unfamiliar routines. “This makes things hard,” Ford acknowledges, addressing the ensemble. “You guys are a great cast because you look out for each
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other and you fill in for each other. I appreciate it.” “It’s not ideal,” Ford tells me the next day. “When kids aren’t able to be here, we rely on other cast members to fill their spot so that I don’t get confused and fill the space with a second person. It’s challenging to have to fill in for a dancer when you have no idea what the movements are, and then you get the movements wrong. It’s OK. They don’t know the part because they don’t know the part. I’ve been working with them to take ownership of the fact that we’re a team, and we’re helping each other out.” Ford relies on Kat Saunders ’18, her dance captain, to help her
teach the group. “Kat’s a girl who is already a dancer,” Ford says. “She understands the nuances of the movement. I’m able to keep choreographing while she pulls kids aside to work with them one on one. That’s her main role, which is really important this year.” Often, instead of dictating choreography, Ford will collaborate with students on movements: How to get from point A to point B, or when to introduce an element. “I incorporate the kids’ ideas if they fit into my overall vision,” Ford explains. “I think you succeed better at something when you feel like you have ownership over it. The kids have an understanding of the music from a singer’s point of view. The lyrics and the feeling of a song add another layer that I, listening to the musicality of it more than the lyrics, might not hear. Their interpretation of the music might be slightly different than what I imagined.”
Left: (l-r) Production Manager Deanna Stuart, Choreographer Elizabeth Ford and Director Rob Lazar at a December 2016 production meeting. Right: The Kit Kat Klub dancers spent hours of rehearsal time perfecting their dance moves, which were often challenging.
DECEMBER 9, 2016
“Musical theater’s really always been my passion,” Currie tells me. “The musical at Brooks is always very important to me because it’s when I get to do what matters to me most, on stage, in front of our whole community.” Currie likes singing, likes music and has “always been kind of a loud person — I’m a Leo, that’s my thing,” and explains that musical theater hits all those passions. And, he adds, “there’s something about getting to become a new character and do those things you love to do through another person’s eyes, through another person’s body, which is really something special.” Currie saw “Cabaret” on Broadway two years ago, and he’s had his eye on the Emcee role ever since. “It’s a really interesting role because he doesn’t interact a lot with the other characters,” Currie points out. “Cliff and Sally might have a three-page scene with direct dialogue between them, and that’s where their characters come through. The Emcee doesn’t have that. He has these little announcements every now and then, where he’ll pop up to say something or introduce someone, and that’s where his character comes from. And, every song he does is, I think, in some way a metaphor for one of the themes that’s prevalent in the show at that point. He keeps the ball rolling.” Currie believes his responsibility goes beyond his duties to his
character. “When I came in as a third-former, the sixth-formers were very invested in the program here,” he remembers. “I’ve seen that in the sixth-formers as the years go on. It’s that dedication that’s important for a program to grow, and for cast and crew to connect and have a meaningful experience here. Sixth-formers have a job: to show that this is something we care about, and that this is something that we’re all putting our names on and want to make the best it can be.” DECEMBER 13, 2016
The group of adults clustered in the green room, a cluttered space that abuts Lazar’s office, has a long list of items on its agenda. This review of the progress of every aspect of the musical, from costuming to set design to rehearsal schedule, is critical to ensuring that “Cabaret” remains on track for its mid-February opening. Deanna Stuart, arts production manager and theater technical director, and the show’s production manager, is firmly in charge of the meeting. Stuart runs through her list of topics: the number of orchestra members, who will play from the top of the one large piece of scenery the production employs (approximately 12, according to Griffith, including several Brooks student musicians); the props that need to be procured (a minimal list, Lazar insists — some chairs, a steamer trunk and a telephone);
“Sixth-formers have a job: to show that this is something we care about, and that this is something that we’re all putting our names on and want to make the best it can be.” MAX CURRIE ’17
and Costume Designer Georgia Lagadinos’s vision for the Kit Kat Klub dancer’s costumes. The group devotes most of its time to the final scene. It’s a searing image, in which the cast transforms into Nazi officers and prisoners bound for a concentration camp. The focus of the scene is the group of prisoners being ushered into a gas chamber, which emerges from a door housed in the piece of scenery. Stuart notes that the way the final scene is staged will dictate the staging for the rest of the performance. The conversation touches on the ideal height of the door (it has to accommodate cast members walking through it while also seating the orchestra low enough to remain within the audience’s sightlines)
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and how to transform the scenery into something that suggests a concentration camp. The meeting also addresses long-range scheduling concerns. Stuart notes that Winter Term is approaching, and that Lazar and Griffith will be absent for three days while they accompany the third form on its overnight trip. The group plots out rehearsal times, future production meetings and crafts a rough schedule of how the production should progress. Lazar seems optimistic: “We could be running, even if it’s just stumbling, in early February,” he says. JANUARY 4, 2017
THE COSTUME SHOP
The cast and crew are thrilled to see Lagadinos, the costume designer: She makes her way from backstage, dispensing more than one “hi, sweetie” and enthusiastic wave along the way, and leads me through a nondescript door in the back of the Auditorium and into her costume shop. Surrounded by packed clothing racks, sewing machines, piles of fabric and even a stack of extra-large heads of cartoon characters (“Aren’t they cool?” she asks), she is in her element. Lagadinos has become an institution in the Brooks theater scene.
Eleven years ago, her children attended the same elementary school as former arts faculty Michael Walczak’s child: The children’s teacher knew that Walczak was looking for a costume designer, and, as Lagadinos says, “the rest is history.” Today, Lagadinos is here to watch rehearsal. “I’m trying to get a sense of the characters through the kids,” she says. “Unless I see them on the stage, the costumes aren’t going to work. I try to be fine-tuned to each kid. I’m not just going to put somebody in a red shirt because that’s what the text says. I’m going to make them a costume, a red shirt, that is part of who they are, so that they feel it. I always try to make the kids feel special.” Lagadinos says that she’s always been interested in fashion and design, but the theater is a special draw for her. “It’s the family that fills in with the theater,” she explains. “It’s putting my work out there and making the director’s vision work. I love to transform people, to do the research and make it look believable.” “Even though these aren’t my kids,” Lagadinos continues, “I love to see them perform. It’s their personal best, and I admire them. To learn these plays and do all this work in the middle of all their academic commitments — that’s amazing to me.”
JANUARY 4, 2017
It’s the first rehearsal after Winter Break, and the cast is trying to shake off the vacation lull. The Kit Kat Klub dancers are working through the number “Mein Herr.” They struggle with the physically challenging choreography. Currie, who sits in the front row of the audience, is trying to lighten up what feels like a heavy first rehearsal back. Currie smiles up at the stage toward Alex Comiskey ’17, who plays the female lead role of Sally Bowles and heads up the group of dancers. Currie mimes some of the dance at Comiskey, and Comiskey laughs. “Things are picking up,” Currie tells me during a break. He says that there’s a growing sense of urgency now that the holidays have passed. “The first part of a production is getting it all figured out, discovering the characters, discovering the show. Now, we know where we want to go, and we’re making it happen.” Ford corrects Comiskey on a nuance: “Right there,” Ford says, “when your arms are over your head. It makes you look more confident if your arms are straight above your head and not bent.” “OK,” Comiskey says, smiling wanly. “I promise to do that by the time the show happens.” Comiskey readily admits that dancing is “not a strength” of hers.
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Bottom left: Rowan Beaudoin-Friede ’17 as Clifford Bradshaw, an American writer who nurtures a romance with Berlin cabaret singer Sally Bowles. Left: The cast discusses the themes and messages they want to portray during a discussion in the Vanoff Black Box Theater. Bottom right: The cast and crew of “Cabaret,” the final production housed in the Auditorium.
She considers herself a singer, and then an actor. “Cabaret” is Comiskey’s fourth production at Brooks, and the role of Sally Bowles is her first lead role. Comiskey has put a lot of thought into her character. “I think Sally is a lot like Daisy from ‘The Great Gatsby,’” Comiskey says. “She wants to be a winner — she says that in one of her songs — because nobody’s ever really loved her. Then this guy, Cliff Bradshaw, comes along and tries to give her a chance. But what’s cool about Sally is that, unlike a lot of characters, she doesn’t change at all. She doesn’t go through a growing experience at all, and she ends up the same way she is in the beginning.” JANUARY 4, 2017
THE ARCHIVE S
Deanna Stuart is organized, practical and good at long-range planning. This makes her an ideal archivist, a role she’s performed for Brooks since last year. We meet in the Archives to discuss her theater responsibilities, which draw on the same traits. Stuart is credited as production manager, but, she says, “I wear several hats. I’m the technical director, the set designer and the production manager.” What this means is that Stuart is the linchpin between Lazar’s directorial vision, the physical aspects of the production, and the parameters of the academic schedule and its demands on students’ time. She is a workhorse of the production: a person who knows everything, sees everything and juggles everything. “As set designer, my job is to come up with the plan that mixes the director’s vision with the text to physicalize where this is all happening,” Stuart explains. “As technical director, I take that design
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“For anyone who is willing to throw themselves in, there’s always a home in the theater.” PRODUCTION MANAGER DEANNA STUART
and figure out how to bring it to life with this amount of labor, this amount of time and this amount of money. The production manager, my other role, has to look at the entire production and say, how does this whole thing get actualized? I have to make sure that costume has what it needs; I need to push the director to make sure we’re putting his resources where he’s said is the most important; I have to look at the whole thing.” Getting a production off the ground requires a rigidity, a set of calculations. However, Stuart also gets to engage in the creative process: As she says, she gets to use “both halves of my brain. Before we get into production, we have a lot of meetings where it’s just fun. Discussion after discussion, pushing the why? What’s important? Here’s the text; what’s your big idea
as the director? That’s the creative part,” she says. “Then, trying to figure out what you can bring to physicalize the whole thing and enhance the synthesis of vision and text. Is it all mathematical and detailed? Yes, but at different times. I like that I get to see across with the director and say, are we there yet? What isn’t working? What more do we need? That’s kind of cool.” There’s a certain type of student who fills out Stuart’s tech crew. “People that don’t like to work hard or don’t like to be held to a high standard don’t last long around me,” she says. “But for anyone who is willing to throw themselves in, there’s always a home in the theater.” Stuart’s tech crew takes on a lot of different tasks, but there’s an overriding theme. “Production management is about taking a big job and breaking it down into manageable pieces,” she says. “Hopefully, they’re learning the discipline and teamwork of backstage.” JANUARY 25, 2017
BLACK BOX THEATER
The usual clockwork pace of rehearsal has been dulled by the close, intimate confines of the Vanoff Black Box Theater. The cast is sprawled out, lying on the floor and sitting on stairs around the
space. Lazar is there too, and he poses a question to the group: “So,” he asks, “why do this show now here at Brooks?” “In this show, the characters make assumptions about each other,” a student says. “It’s important to do this show now to illustrate how assumptions we make about other people can be inaccurate.” “We can’t help it in our society,” a second student chimes in. “We look at someone and immediately make assumptions about them based on the way they look, walk or talk. But that doesn’t mean that’s who they are. Look at Sally,” the student continues, referring to Comiskey’s character. “She comes out and she’s happy and singing, but then she gets offstage and she’s a mess. That’s what we all need to think about.” The group nods and murmurs in agreement. “When you get back on stage, there are so many things you want to say,” Lazar concludes. “But now you know that you’re here for a reason — that there’s a meaning to this show. I know it sounds corny, but you are moving humanity forward. Shakespeare wrote that we — actors — hold the mirror up to nature. We’re reflecting back.”
Backstage is, by definition, the one part of a performance that nobody is supposed to see. At the same time, though, backstage may be the one part of a performance that everybody should see. 36
FEBRUARY 8, 2017
Comiskey has her eye on the calendar. The opening performance is eight days away, and she’s starting to feel anxious. She mentions that several of the cast have succumbed to the season and have been sick, including her: She is getting over “an awful head cold.” “It’s our bodies telling us to get it together and get ready for this,” she tells me. “We’re all nervous, and I think that for some of us, the reality hasn’t sunk in yet that this is a week away.” Tech week — a series of rehearsals that incorporates all the technical elements of the production, including lights, music, costumes and makeup — is the next benchmark. “Usually, the first day or two of tech week, we all spend a lot of time yelling at each other,” Comiskey says wryly. “But then, everything always just seems to fall into place the night before the show. You realize that this is the last time we’re doing it without an audience. That scares a lot of people — especially me! That’s why you have to be serious.” Two days later, the cast runs through “Don’t Tell Mama,” one of Sally Bowles’s numbers. Comiskey is flanked by the Kit Kat Klub dancers; the group looks well-rehearsed, confident and more precise in its performance than I’ve seen so far. “Guys! That was so good!” Comiskey beams, turning around to the ensemble as the music fades. “That was awesome! That sounded so awesome!” She claps her hands, proud and relieved. The dancers buzz happily; the performance is six days away. FEBRUARY 18, 2017
Lagadinos invites me to spend the final, Saturday night performance backstage (she also clucks at my light-colored shirt, calls me
“sweetie” and digs a black t-shirt out of the costume shop for me to wear). Backstage is, by definition, the one part of a performance that nobody is supposed to see. At the same time, though, backstage may be the one part of a performance that everybody should see. Here is when I finally see the cast and crew as something more than a group of high school students working together to put on a great show. Here is when I finally see them as a phalanx: a group of soldiers marching into battle together as one, each of equal importance to the whole. During every musical number — whether it’s an ensemble piece like “Willkommen” or a showstopper solo like Sally Bowles’s “Maybe This Time,” — for every actor singing their lungs out onstage, there are actors lip-synching their hearts out behind the scenery, just out of view. For every Kit Kat Klub dancer executing a kick line under bright lights onstage, there’s a boy in a three-piece suit, waiting to go on, kicking his way through the same steps in the dark. The offstage actors go through the movements and the lyrics to stay engaged with the show, but I think there’s more. They’re a team. They support each other. They help each other through the hard parts. Even when they’re not visible, they dance for those who are. Even when it’s not their song, they mouth the lyrics toward the stage — and, when it’s an ensemble piece, they sing, giving their voices to the actors onstage. They amplify the sound. They amplify the energy. They let their castmates — their people — know that they’re there, only feet away, clustered behind the scenery; that they’re literally right behind them. Suddenly, it’s over. The final scene concludes. The actors take their last curtain call. It feels almost like magic.
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A CHAPEL TALK
Alex Comiskey ’17 sings “Cabaret,” her bittersweet closing number.
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[Ed. Note: Chair of the Arts Department and “Cabaret” Director Rob Lazar gave a Chapel talk on the production in early February 2017. Here is a revised and condensed version.] “Cabaret” is a fascinating piece. It is an entertaining show, but it is not fluffy. At times it can be quite dark. It is set in Berlin on the eve of the Nazi party’s rise to power and the start of World War II. Some of the people in the story are people that would have been rounded up and exterminated by the Nazis. This is the backdrop for the story: a time when society shifted from the culturally free to the nationally oppressed. “Cabaret” looks at them, the other; as some would say, the morally compromised: The broken ones who, for reasons that may or may not be within their control, have ended up in the cabaret, living lives that force them to act in ways that are both demoralizing and dehumanizing. They are completely different from you and me, and yet in some ways they are exactly the same: At times, there is something that makes them feel or believe they are outside of society. Some of them, and some of us, mask that feeling very well, others not so much. But the undeniable truth, the human truth, is that they are all unique individuals who are bound together by their very existence. So why is it that this thing we see on the stage sparks so much reaction? I believe it is because it makes us see and feel in a way we can’t escape. And once there, we laugh or we cry, but we also think. For it is not solely the actions we see on the stage that move us. We are well aware that the people we see on this stage are our friends, our classmates, our students, our community. Even with this cerebral knowledge, we still let ourselves believe. The ideas we are forced to confront inspire or enrage us. The critical thought moves from the abstract to the human. I want you to look at the show through two very specific Brooks lenses. The first is empathy. I ask you to see the characters on the stage as the people they are. I want you to allow yourself to be taken on the journey and connect to and feel for and with them. The second way to see this production is through a very critical lens. I want you to look at the set, the blocking, the choice of casting, and ask: Why? Don’t be a passive audience and let the show wash over you. Instead, engage with it and let it give you more than what is on the surface.
T H E A RTS AT B RO O KS : T HE FU T U RE
THE CENTER FOR THE
The Center for the Arts, which will replace the school’s current spaces for musical, performing and the visual arts, will be a defining presence for Brooks. It’s also going to be a buzzing hub of the dayto-day learning, teaching and community-building that has always shone at Brooks. Here, we take a look at the planned details of the center, and explore how those details will nurture and support the arts program’s curriculum and capabilities.
EDITED BY REBECCA A. BINDER / ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF ANN BEHA ARCHITECTS
18 FACTS ABOUT THE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
The Center for the Arts bonds the visual, performing and musical arts together and places them in the center of campus. It will be a building where the entire Brooks community can gather, share and express itself.
The building presents a contemporary homage to the New England agricultural vernacular that is already present on the Brooks campus.
The planned exterior of the Center for the Arts, looking from Thorne House across Main Street.
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I see a lot of students who come to Brooks and say, ‘I’m not an artist; I’m not an actor; I cant do this.’ And then they take an arts class, or they try something on stage, and the faculty works with them. And then, suddenly, they discover that they can do this, and that the boundaries we place on ourselves are false boundaries. I love that part.” CHAIR OF THE ARTS DEPARTMENT ROB LAZAR
The projected floor plan for the Center for the Arts.
Top: Art Street, the main east-west corridor of the two-level center, will serve as a spine connecting visual, performing and musical arts spaces. Bottom: A view of The Crossing, which will intersect Art Street on both the center’s upper and lower levels. The Crossing will stand on the same spot as today’s Danforth Room. On the lower level, The Crossing will provide a cut-through passageway between Ashburn Chapel and Wilder Dining Hall. On the upper level, shown here, The Crossing will provide lounge space in which students can congregate and study.
The center is divided into three sections: Visual arts will occupy the northern side of the building; performing arts will occupy the eastern end of the building; and musical arts will occupy the southwestern side of the building.
The air quality and temperature of the center will be regulated. Not only will this provide a comfortable environment for students and faculty, but it will also provide optimal storage conditions for musical instruments, including Brooks’s many pianos.
The multi-purpose room will serve a variety of uses, and will feature a memorable view of the Brooks tennis courts, Great Pond Road and the hills beyond.
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Art Street will measure 220 feet long and 16 feet wide. Student art will hang on the walls, providing budding artists with exposure and further integrating art into the everyday life of the Brooks community.
“An architect’s goal is to have an opportunity to work on buildings that have a lasting impact on the community they serve. The Center for the Arts is one of those buildings.” LEE BERMAN ’07, AN ARCHITECT AT ANN BEHA ARCHITECTS, PRESENTING THE PLANS IN CHAPEL ON MARCH 6, 2017.
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We can do things that we want to do now. The program that we should have is the program we’ll have, and we won’t keep bumping into the physical limitations of the space we’re in.” CHAIR OF THE ARTS DEPARTMENT ROB LAZAR
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The mezzanine and lower entryways will open onto Art Street, providing a sense of openness to the community. When the doors are closed, though, the space will allow students to experiment with their creativity in a more protected space.
Above: The theater in the Center for the Arts will provide the flexibility necessary to accommodate both large gatherings, such as School Meeting, and small teaching sessions. Top right: The new black box theater will be a 1,250 square foot space. The windows will be able to either provide natural light or be darkened to allow for experimental productions. Bottom right: The scene shop will connect directly to both the black box theater and the main theater via large doors. The large doors will allow scenery and props to be fully assembled in the scene shop before bringing them to the stage.
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be able to stage productions that require multiple scene changes, including many of the canon of musicals from the 1940s and 1950s. Different productions will also be able to use the stage at the same time.
The theater will have a larger seating capacity than the Auditorium, but the use of balcony seating will pull the back wall of the theater closer to the stage than it is in the Auditorium. The space will feel grand, yet unintimidating to actors or musicians trying to connect with audience members in the back row of seats.
The backstage will feature a full fly system, a rigging system that allows scenery and other objects to be raised and lowered during scene changes. There will also be ample room in the wings. Brooks will now
The lighting system will be more accessible by catwalk, as opposed to by ladder. In the past, Brooks has had to rely on professionals to do much of its lighting work. The catwalks and greater accessibility will allow students with an interest in lighting work to take more of a lead and be more involved. The theater will be fully wired for sound. The system will include an installation of stateof-the-art speakers, a soundboard in the center of the audience and breakout boxes on the stage.
The visual arts studios are located on the northern side of the building. The ample natural, northern light will provide ideal lighting.
The high, warm wood ceilings will also amplify the quality of the light in the visual arts studios.
The center will have four visual arts studios: two 2-D art studios, one 3-D art studio and one ceramics studio.
Being able to see out and let other people see in as they walk up and down Main Street will improve the quality of our art. Students will be seen as doing something thatâ€™s not only fun and interesting, but also necessary to the life of the school.â€? ARTS FACULTY AMY GRAHAM
Above: A 2-D arts studio, located on the upper floor of the center in the northwest corner. The large windows look out onto Main Street, and the courtyard between the center and Wilder Dining Hall. Right: On the lower floor, the ceramics studio will open onto the Arts Terrace, which connects to the courtyard and provides another contemplative, beautiful, central gathering space.
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CO N T I N U I N G T H E C HA RG E FO RWA R D The Center for the Arts, the most ambitious capital project in school history, is the result of a $28 million drive through The Campaign for Brooks. The $60 million campaign promises to improve every aspect of campus life and is critical to the future success of the school. For more information on the Center for the Arts â€” including naming opportunities and other opportunities to contribute â€” and other pillars of The Campaign for Brooks, please visit www. thecampaignforbrooks.org, or contact Director of Development Gage Dobbins at (978) 725-6288 or email@example.com.
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Each musical performance room will be acoustically mitigated and treated for sound. The wood floors, vaulted wood ceilings and exposed structure will enhance the sound quality of the rooms. The music will sound better to the musicians, and it won’t bleed outside the rooms as much.
Each ensemble room will be wired for sound. Students and faculty will be able to easily record themselves playing and will also be able to easily listen to recordings of professional musicians through high-end speakers.
Top: One of four musical ensemble rooms. The center will also host a dedicated choir room and four individual practice rooms. Bottom: The center’s digital media lab, which will serve digital arts and photography classes.
Right now, arts faculty and students don’t get to see each other making art very often. The center will essentially be three different buildings connected by Art Street. As a musician, if you walk by and see an artist painting, there’s opportunity for some cross-pollination and inspiration that wasn’t there before.”
The increased number of ensemble rooms will allow groups to leave their setup as is when class is over. Less class time will be spent setting up and breaking down stands, chairs and instruments, and students will get the most out of each class and rehearsal period.
The digital media lab’s window looks into an ensemble room, and a MIDI system will connect the two spaces. Students will be able to use the digital media lab as a control room for a recording studio.
DIRECTOR OF CHORAL AND CLASSICAL MUSIC AND ARTS FACULTY KENNETH GRIFFITH
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B RO O KS CONNECTIONS
BROOKS CONNECTIONS IN THIS SECTION 50 Alumni News 54 Class Notes 86 In Memoriam
Patrick Ng â€™96 at work in a Brooks arts studio.
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BRO O KS CONNECTI O NS
ALU MNI NEWS
Crossing the Finish Line Taryn King ’03, who passed away from illness in 2006, left her mark on those she encountered. She was a dedicated student who majored in psychology at Bowdoin College. She was an accomplished pianist who loved to perform. She was a passionate athlete: At Brooks, King was a tri-captain of the 1st field hockey team, a co-captain of the girls 1st ice hockey team and also a leader of the girls 1st lacrosse team. At Bowdoin, King played lacrosse and field hockey. She was named the NESCAC Rookie of the Year in her debut field hockey season, and the 2005 NESCAC Player of the Year and a first-team All-American as a junior, as she led the Polar Bears to an undefeated record and a berth in the NCAA championship tournament. King left a legacy, but now, her memory will also have a tangible effect on current Brooks students. The Taryn L. King Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 2009 to be used by students who, due to a sudden unforeseen and
uncontrollable personal event, would not be able to continue at Brooks School without financial assistance. Recently, the endowed fund reached its $50,000 minimum; this milestone allows Brooks to draw on the fund to aid students. The final funding push was successful due to Pierce King, Taryn’s brother. Pierce ran the New York City Marathon in November 2016 as a fundraiser for the scholarship, which collected $21,000 toward the fund. “I’m so happy the scholarship is actually a real thing now,” says Kaylan Tildsley Alderson ’03, a close friend of Taryn’s. “Wanting to preserve Taryn’s memory in some way was very important to me, and to Pierce, and to other family members and friends.” Alderson raised a five-figure sum from donations supporting her own race early in the scholarship’s funding push, and then, she says, “Pierce really drove it home.” “I learned a number of lessons from Taryn, and I still think of her every day,” Alderson says, citing King’s work ethic and drive. “I think you can see that in Pierce’s dedication to get over the finish line. When he saw that the scholarship wasn’t fully funded, he literally trained for a marathon.” Pierce had never run a marathon before his New York City bid. He chose to run one, he says, because Taryn had dreamed of tackling one. “I knew there was a scholarship fund in her name at Brooks and that
there was still a sum of money that needed to be raised in order for it to be endowed,” Pierce explains. “I saw this as an opportunity to give back to Taryn and to Brooks, and to help her legacy live on.” The completion of the scholarship funding was “a great moment for my family and me,” Pierce says. “Taryn loved Brooks very much, and to know that there’s now a scholarship that will go to help fund a current student — that really strikes a chord with me.” “I’d really like to thank everyone who donated,” Pierce continues. “It was great to see the overwhelming amount of support I received from my friends, but also from friends of Taryn’s from Brooks that I haven’t seen in years, from Taryn’s friends from Bowdoin, even from older Brooks alumni whom I don’t know and have never met, who donated because they connected with my story. I’m so appreciative of them believing in me and believing in Taryn’s cause at Brooks. I think it ultimately speaks to the impact that she left on so many people’s lives.”
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A group of Brooks community members pulls together to fully fund a scholarship in memory of Taryn King ’03.
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Giving Day Success! Thanks to you, our second annual Giving Day was a huge success. Our goal for the day was to collect
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An enthusiastic contingent of Brooks alumni met up on the court for the 2017 Alumni Basketball Game in February. From left to right: Michael Flanagan ’16, Assistant Director of Admission Alex Skinner ’08, Ronnie Dixon ’06, Austin Smith ’08, head coach of the boys 1st team and Dean of Faculty John McVeigh H’16, Anthony Barry ’12, David Berroa ’13, Emerson Rogers ’10, Aaron Davis ’12, Derek Murphy ’10, Tucker White ’12, Shane Rogers ’11, Jon Stronach ’11, Jordan Johnson ’10, Bert Nascimento ’10 and assistant coach Michael O’Connor.
A Young Engineer Honored Kate Haslett ’13, a junior at the University of New Hampshire, was recently named one of 10 “2017 New Faces of Civil Engineering” by the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE). Haslett joins a list of honorees from around the world. She is active in UNH’s ASCE Student Chapter and the Civil Engineering Materials Research Group at UNH, and she has presented her independent work at regional conferences. An undergraduate research fellowship she worked under focused on evaluating intermediate and low-temperature fracture properties of asphalt mixtures and their links to pavement-cracking performance. Haslett shines out of the classroom, also: She is a captain of and forward on the university’s women’s ice hockey team, which made a run into the Hockey East quarterfinal round this winter. Haslett was a pillar for the Brooks girls 1st ice hockey team. Her tenure in North Andover helped lay the foundation for the squad’s 2013–2014 run to the title game of the New England Championship tournament.
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gifts in support of the Brooks Fund, one for each current Brooks student. Our community came together in a resounding fashion, with results that we couldn’t be more proud of.
amazing members of the Brooks community donated a total of
to the Brooks Fund. The day was also a competition with The Governor’s Academy to see which school could collect more gifts from alumni in 24 hours. The results: BROOKS
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Along with ceding bragging rights, Govs will fly the Brooks flag on its campus for a day. We value your support, and we look forward to Giving Day 2018!
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Reassembling the Elements of a Scene Tjasa Owen’s “Coastal Living,” one of the pieces she is showing in the Lehman.
The landscape paintings of Brooksian Tjasa Owen ’89 will show in the Robert Lehman Art Center through Alumni Weekend and until May 20, 2017. Owen is a bicoastal landscape artist living and painting from her studios in San Francisco and on Cape Cod. Her paintings are inspired by her international travels, her love for coastal and inland landscapes, and by the colorful sketchbooks and written correspondence she works on daily. Having grown up by the Atlantic seashore, she is drawn to the ever-changing skies and coastal scenes. Owen incorporates her memories of different places, textures and colors. Rather than documenting any actual place, she reassembles the elements of scenes — the way one does with snapshots and scrapbooks — to create views that feel shared and remembered. She sometimes adds postscripts and incomplete phrases from her journals or sketchbooks to imbue these new places with a sense of time and history. By making paintings that feel like postcards, Owen invites viewers to invent their own stories about the places she creates. Owen’s work has been shown extensively in the United States and internationally.
Edge of the Map A graduate is at the helm of a company that provides remote travel experiences to students. Reed Harwood ’97 is the executive director of Where There Be
Dragons, a Colorado-based company that sends high school and college students and adults on trips to developing parts of the world. The participants live with local families, engage with local communities and, Harwood hopes, return home with “a sense of empowerment: who you are, why you matter, how you fit in the world and what you want to do with your lives in the world. It’s a very orienting experience for our students.” During its 25-year history, Where There Be Dragons has sent students to locations across the developing world, including Nepal, Laos, Senegal, Nicaragua and Burma. The idea, Harwood explains, is to avoid what he calls “tourist places.” “These are our comfort zone somewhere else,” he says. “We’re all about deep learning, and you have to go to the map’s edge to find that. That’s where discovery happens.” In November 2016, Where There Be Dragons hosted Malia Obama, the daughter of President Barack Obama, on an 83-day sojourn to Bolivia’s Cordillera Real mountain range. The New York Times reported in January 2017 that Ms. Obama performed chores, received no special treatment and, according to the trip’s description, had the opportunity to “examine current political trends, social movements and environmental conservation efforts in the mountains and jungles of Bolivia and Peru.” “Malia Obama’s trip brought awareness to a kind of education that is desperately needed in our educational system,” Harwood says. “Our educational institutions get to be a bubble pretty quickly. Brooks falls prey to that, as does any community. Dragons helps pop that bubble. It’s important that young adults and these students learn that people of difference are valued and valuable, and that their belief systems are as valuable as ours.”
A LASTING MEMORY
We are proud to announce the availability of a limited run of high-quality posters portraying a line drawing Sidney Lawrence ’66 created of the Brooks campus in the 1960s. A version of this drawing hung in the Lehman gallery as part of the “Class of ’66 Creatives” exhibit over Alumni Weekend 2016. Proceeds from the sale of the poster will benefit the Stephen J. Letarte ’66 Memorial Scholarship at Brooks. For purchasing information, please contact Director of Development Gage Dobbins via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at (978) 725-6288.
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A “Champion of Democracy” An award recognizes a Brooksian’s commitment to his field. Trevor Potter ’74 was named a 2017 “Champion of Democracy” in
March 2017 by Common Cause Illinois, a nonpartisan watchdog group whose mission is “to promote open, ethical and accountable government.” Potter was appointed to the Federal Elections Comission in 1991 by President George H. W. Bush, which he served as commissioner and chairman. He served as general counsel to John McCain’s 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns and was a member of the legal team that successfully defended the McCain-Feingold reform law in the Supreme Court. Recently, Potter has appeared repeatedly on “The Colbert Report,” where he has discussed the intricacies of current campaign finance law and the growing influence of Super PACs and 501(c)(4) funding structures. Potter is the founder, president and general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C., that is home to the nation’s premier election law experts and whose mission is “to improve our democracy and protect the fundamental right of all Americans to participate in the political process.”
Alumnus Tapped for Trump Administration In March 2017, USNI News followed a Newswire Bloomberg report naming Richard V. Spencer ’72 as President Donald Trump’s pick for nominee as Secretary of the Navy. If nominated by the president and confirmed by the United States Senate, Spencer will hold the top civilian post leading the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Spencer, currently the managing director of Fall Creek Management, LLC, is a former Marine aviator. He served from 1976 until 1981 and attained the rank of captain. He was the chief financial officer and vice chairman of the electronic commodities futures exchange Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. until 2008. He has since served on the Pentagon’s Defense Business Board and on the Chief of Naval Operations’s Executive Panel. In December 2016, Spencer was appointed an executive advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations. His duties include advising the Chief of Naval Operations on future warfare and how to reach out to technology business leaders.
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“George Washington: The Wonder of the Age,” by JOHN RHODEHAMEL ’66 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017) was recently termed “the only Washington biography you need” by the Wall Street Journal. Rhodehamel is editor of the award-winning Library of America collection of George Washington’s writings and a curator of his original papers. He examines Washington as a public figure and argues that the man — who first achieved fame in his early twenties — is inextricably bound to his mythic status. Rhodehamel is also the former archivist of Mount Vernon and curator of American historical manuscripts at the Huntington Library, the renowned research and educational institution located in San Marino, Calif. HAVE YOU RECENTLY PUBLISHED A BOOK? Has your album just dropped? Tell us about it. We want to hear about your creative successes, and we want to highlight your work in an upcoming issue of the Bulletin. To have your work considered for inclusion in a future installment of Brooks Works, please send a review copy to:
Editor, Brooks Bulletin 1160 Great Pond Road North Andover, MA 01845
The magazine does not purchase the materials listed in Brooks Works. The materials we receive will be donated to the Luce Library or another appropriate outlet. The Bulletin reserves the right to reject works that, in the judgment of the editorial staff, do not promote the mission or values of Brooks School or the Bulletin.
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REGIONAL RECEPTION Brooks alumni, parents, faculty and friends met at the Boston College Club in Boston’s Financial District in February. The group mingled, enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and heard remarks from Head of School John Packard. Brooks also hosted a reception in Florida this spring.
01 Karl Arakelian ’83, P’18, P’20 (left) and Brooke Arakelian P’18, P’20. 02 Head of School John Packard P’18. 03 From left to right: Director of Admission and Financial Aid Bini Egertson P’12, P’15, Director of Athletics Bobbie Crump-Burbank P’11, arts faculty Amy Graham P’19, P’20, mathematics faculty David Price P’17, P’19 and English faculty Mel Graham P’19, P’20. 04 From left to right: School Trustee Val Hollingsworth ’72, P’17, Carol Hollingsworth P’17, President of the Board of Trustees Steve Gorham ’85, P’17 and Vice President of the Board of Trustees John Barker ’87. 05 English faculty Leigh Perkins ’81, P’14, P’18 (center), Kevin Jacobs ’06 (right) and Susie Movitz. 06 From left to right: Kathryn Ferlito ’12, Katarina Curtin ’12 and Abby Hooper ’12. 07 Jamie Waters ’04 (left) and Mike Burbank ’07. 08 Meredith Mooney ’05. 09 Dawn Greenwood P’20. 10 Jeff Longnecker ’93 (center). 11 Kaitlyn Conway ’06 (left) and Nick Rocco. 12 Chapin Duke ’10 (left) and Vivi Duke P’10. 13 Phil Marchessault ’05. 14 Steve Kemper ’82, P’18 (right). 15 Allison Easton P’15 . 16 Steve Taber ’72 (right). 17 Hayden Lynch ’12 and Max Romanow ’12 (left).
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A wall in the paint shop of the Auditorium, which is scheduled for demolition this summer as construction of the new Center for the Arts begins. Over the years, countless Brooks students who participated in theater marked their place by leaving a handprint, their name, their initials or other tangible presence behind.
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Since its founding, Brooks has provided students with opportunities they need to grow, learn and excel. The campus, faculty and student body may have changed, but the core of the Brooks experience — depth and breadth of academics; extracurricular participation in athletics, the arts and service to others; and a strong sense of place, identity and community — remains. The Brooks Fund provides 10 percent of the school’s annual operating budget. It funds the crucial day-to-day expenses — the classroom equipment; the field maintenance; the electric bill — that maintain the school’s defining traditions while allowing the modern Brooksian to flourish.
Three easy ways to give: Credit Card — Check — Stock. Visit www.brooksschool.org to make your gift.
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[Ed. Note: The following is an excerpt from an article written by faculty emeritus Eric C. Baade in fall 1981, shortly before a renovation of the Auditorium, titled “The Performing Arts at Brooks,” in which he discusses lessons students learn from participating in the performing arts.]
A third lesson which can be learned from the performing arts better than elsewhere is that of the tremendous pleasure we can derive from doing a good job… [T]here is something at least very like perfection possible on the stage, and when it appears, you know. The audience tells you; the same audience that can be the sternest, cruelest critic of your work somehow lets you know when you have done it right. There is an indescribable but almost tangible message that comes over the footlights at such a moment; it may be accompanied by applause or by total silence, but whatever it is, it is unmistakable. With the facilities Brooks is soon to have and with the staff we have already, I hope to feel this pleasure a few more times before I retire, and even more to watch it dawning on young people who have never felt it before.
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