Avon Old Farms School announces the release of the spring 2013 issue of The Avonian, which celebrates many - but certainly not all - of our master teachers, of both yesterday and today. These men and women bring enthusiasm and expertise to their disciplines, and they creatively and skillfully prepare our students not only for further study, but also for the world at large. Varied as they may be, they all share a profound passion for bettering their students’ minds each and every day.
Also in this issue, we remember two recently departed alumni: Richard Loveland, a former faculty member and honorary alumnus, and Army Capt. Andrew Pedersen-Keel ‘02, who fell while serving in Afghanistan.
Finally, we say goodbye to Gail Laferriere, a veritable Avon legend, who retired this spring after 43 years of service. Mrs. L., you will be missed!
To check out this issue online, please click here.
And be sure to check your mailboxes in August for the summer special issue of The Village Green, featuring coverage of many of the exciting events at the end of the academic year, including Reunion, the Blue Blazer Ball, and of course, Commencement!
Have a wonderful summer!
As always, I welcome your feedback.
Morgan C. Cugell, editor
New Avon Sound Wins First Prize
New Avon Sound Wins First Prize
On Friday, May 3, the members of this year’s elite jazz band, the New Avon Sound, traveled to Ludlow, Massachusetts, to compete against other school ensembles from New England and New York in a Music in the Parks competition. With an average score of 90.95/100, the New Avon Sound was rated a Superior ensemble, and won first place for Best High School Jazz Ensemble. In addition, the band won Best Overall Jazz Ensemble of the entire festival. Led by conductor and Chairman of the Performing Arts Mr. Robert Volo, the band added two more trophies to its growing collection, and will look to compete in additional events next year.
Founded in 1980, Music in the Parks, in conjunction with Festivals of Music, hosts more than 40 competitions across the United States every year. Congratulations to the New Avon Sound!
Picasso at the Lapin Agile
Picasso at the Lapin Agile
The Avon Old Farms School Theatre Company recently debuted its spring play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, May 3 through May 5 in the Adams Theater. Written by the movie star Steve Martin, the play is a comedy and depicts a fictional meeting between Picasso and Einstein in 1904. The production charmed audiences, keeping them laughing and also entertaining and intriguing with thought-provoking conversations about science and art.
Winner of the 1996 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play, this long-running absurdist comedy places Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian café in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with Cubism. In his first comedy for the stage, Steve Martin plays fast and loose with fact, fame, and fortune as these two geniuses muse on the 20th century's achievements and prospects, as well as other fanciful topics, with infectious dizziness. Bystanders introduce additional flourishes of humor.
The play was directed by faculty members Gayle Robinson and Bradford Carpenter, with technical direction by faculty member Grace McGee. Students featured included Yusuf Mansoor ’15, Luis Consuegra ’14, Charles Carpenter ’15, Giuseppe Mellone-Reese ’14, Andrew Waltzer ’16, Pierson Bian ’13, Ramsey Heitmann ’15, and from Miss Porter’s School, Katie McElheny and Kelsey Perkins.
Click here for pictures from Picasso at the Lapin Agile
The Riddlers to Visit Lincoln Center
The Riddlers will be making their Lincoln Center debut on Saturday, May 18, 2013, at 8 p.m. in Alice Tully Hall. In collaboration with the University of Michigan men's Glee Club, the oldest ensemble of its kind in the United States, the Riddlers will be performing a repertoire of their own before joining the University of Michigan in a number of collaborative pieces.
To purchase tickets, please click here.
This opportunity signifies yet another superb achievement for the elite Riddlers group, which, under the direction of faculty member Bryan Zaros, have performed all over the world and recently released two recordings. Lincoln Center is counted among the top performance venues in the world.
Click here if you are interested in supporting this exciting opportunity for the Riddlers.*
*Note: please specify "Riddlers" in the special instructions section
On Friday, April 19, Choate Rosemary Hall hosted Acapelooza ’13, an inter-school a cappella showcase and competition, that featured nine groups from eight different New England private schools. Each ensemble performed one song in each of two rounds of competition, and were judged by a panel of five professional vocalists and vocal instructors from the Hartt School, the UConn Music School, and Berklee College of music. Avon’s very own Sing-ed Beavers took the top prize for Best All-Male Ensemble of the night. In addition, the group’s leader, Duncan Cooke ’13, won Outstanding Male Soloist for his part in “Loch Lomand.” Avon Old Farms School is proud of this accomplishment from our talented young singers, and we look forward to future successes. Well done!
As part of a special annual tradition, this year on April 16th a group of 24 students from the drawing, photography, printmaking, architecture, design, and ceramics art classes spent a day in New York City. Accompanied by the Visual Arts Chairman Gail Laferriere, visual arts teachers Cristina Pinton and James Kassel, and Library Director Deb Garber, they learned about the art of hand papermaking at Dieu Donne Papermill. After a tour and demonstration, students submerged their screen molds in a vat of paper pulp and got hands-on with the process by creating their own decorated papers with bottles of colored pulp.
After lunch at Tuscan restaurant Pepe Giallo, the group visited the studio of photographer William Wegman, most famous for his photographs of weimaraner dogs in props. Not only were students able to ask the artist questions about his inspiration and motivations, they also toured his studio, his home, and a basement full of clothes, costumes, materials, games, and other items he's used over the years in the most famous of his images.
"It was truly an amazing opportunity to meet with Mr. William Wegman at this point of my life,” commented Jackie Chen ‘15. I can't help but admire his courage, vision, and humor after listening to him talk about his journey to be an artist. The opportunities Avon offers are once-in-a-lifetime."
The group finished the day with a few extra hours of free time in the hip Chelsea district of the city.
One of the perks of the Avon Old Farms School academic calendar is a lengthy spring vacation. Many groups of students made the most of their spring breaks by participating in Avon-sponsored trips. Here’s where our Winged Beavers were this March:
New Director of Community Service Tyler Wuthmann sent a group of students from Avon Old Farms School and The Ethel Walker School to Franklin, West Virginia, to participate in a project called “Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity.” Students and faculty chaperones worked side-by-side with residents of the area for more than 10 hours a day in a work/camp environment, cooking their own meals and working with other service groups to help construct affordable housing for residents of that area.
“Our students constructed part of a deck, tore a second floor ground, helped install electrical outlets, and made minor storage units,” notes faculty chaperone Som Sonenarong. “Overall, each student came away with a different, profound memory as they were all exposed to mountain weather, small town culture, and the experience of living in a communal setting for an entire week. I am proud of our boys, who sacrificed their spring break to help others, while representing the core values of Avon Old Farms.”
Faculty member Jake Spearman, along with colleague Ryan Davey, took a group of students on an eight-day tour of Italy. The trip was diverse and magnificent in its offerings, covering several parts of the country and exposing students to a multitude of sights.
The trip began with three days in Campania, including excursions to Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius, and Ostia Antica. Following their departure from Campania, the group headed to Rome, where they spent three days. The group explored the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, and the Vatican, in addition to many museums and piazzas. One highlight was the time spent in Piazza Navona, a square full of life and enhanced by one of Rome’s most awe-inspiring fountains, Four Rivers.
During their trip, the group was also privileged to experience the historic election of Pope Francis, and saw him deliver one of his first public addresses. In fact, several students sprinted to St. Peter’s Square to catch the moment, just barely arriving in time before the gates were closed. “To see the Pope with my own eyes was something not only unforgettable, but heart warming,” says Giuseppe Mellone-Reese ’14. “It was truly breathtaking for me to witness the leader of my faith in the flesh.”
Varsity lacrosse candidates, ranked 11th in the country in preseason polls, traveled southward to the greater Tampa Bay area from March 17 to March 22. Fifty-five students and six coaches took part in the trip, which included games against Kent-Denver Country Day, a powerhouse from the Rocky Mountain Conference, and Millbrook School. Scrimmages were scheduled on the off days and the Winged Beaver stickmen were pitted against Roxbury Latin and Holderness. The squad stayed at The Post Card Inn on the shore of St. Pete's Beach, Florida.
They defeated Kent-Denver 12-9 and defeated Millbrook 15-6. “The first game was thrilling,” said assistant coach Nate Green. “We went up 5-3 at half and had a great third quarter. Mike Herring was our high scorer with four goals.”
The team also had two scrimmages, handily defeating Holderness (NH) while the predicted JV squad lost a great game against Roxbury Latin. The lower half of the depth chart also defeated Deerfield's JV team.
The varsity baseball team enjoyed eight days in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Twenty-five players and five coaches traveled for seven games and 10 practices from March 14 to March 21. In addition to the on-field action, they were privileged to experience a behind-the-scenes tour of the Mets spring training complex, as well as attend the game March 17 versus the Braves. The team also enjoyed a cookout and reception at the home of Bobby Mark '80, who generously hosts the group each year.
The baseball team finished 7-0 in Florida with particularly impressive wins against Dexter, Germantown, and Rivers.
Finally, the varsity golf team traveled with six students to Florida to play on some of the most prestigious golf courses in the state, thanks to the support of many parents and alumni.
The team visited courses including the Old Marsh Golf Club at Palm Beach Gardens, where member Connor Qvale '06 joined them. Member Fred Trump P’15 hosted the team at Trump International in West Palm Beach, while Karl Ravech P’13 and Norby Williamson P’14 P’16 hosted the group at the Dye Preserve Golf Club in Jupiter. Michael Murphy P’12 P’14 welcomed the group to the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club in Boca Raton, and Skip Gozzo P’11 P’12 hosted the team at The Bears Club, also in Jupiter.
“The courses that we were able to play were fantastic,” commented co-captain Dave Szewczul ’13. “I really don’t know how Mr. Deckers always puts together a great experience for us! This year we played five rounds at five world-class courses. I can’t thank him enough for all of his efforts!”
Avon Old Farms School presented its winter musical, Damn Yankees, to eager audiences who sought refuge from winter storm Nemo in the Adams Theater. Originally scheduled for February 8-10, the show was postponed until February 10-11 after Nemo brought ice, wind, and several feet of snow. But the show must go on, and audiences were not to be deterred! Featuring the men of Avon Old Farms, the women of Miss Porter's School, several Avon faculty children, and guest performers from the Evjen Academy of Performing Arts in Farmington, Connecticut, Damn Yankees brought the house down with music, comedy, and a little help from the devil.
In Damn Yankees, middle-aged baseball fanatic Joe Boyd trades his soul to the devil, also known as Mr. Applegate, for a chance to lead his favorite team to victory in the pennant race against the New York Yankees. As young baseball sensation Joe Hardy, he transforms the hapless Washington Senators into a winning team, only to realize the true worth of the life he's left behind. Joe ultimately outsmarts Applegate, returns to his former self, and shepherds the Senators to the World Series.
Damn Yankees featured Duncan Cooke ’13 as Joe Boyd and Joe Hardy. Sera Takata, of Miss Porter’s School, played Meg Boyd, Joe’s loving wife. Jas Spearman ’14 played Mr. Applegate, the devil, while Olivia Wilcox, of the Evjen Academy of Performing Arts, played Lola, the devil's assistant. Katie McElheny, also of Miss Porter’s School, acted as Gloria Thorpe, a sassy reporter who loves the Senators, while Seamus Donovan ’13 took on the role of Van Buren, the Washington Senators’ coach.
The musical was directed by Rebekah Hawkinson, with Joe Lampe serving as co-director and production manager. Musical director was Bryan Zaros, while Gayle Robinson served as artistic director and James Kassel as technical director. Robert Volo was orchestra coordinator and Morgan Harris provided sound assistance, with help from sound technician Charlie Carpenter ’15 and lighting technician Devin McKenna ’15.
Damn Yankees - Monday performance at 7:30pm
Monday evening performance scheduled for 7:30pm.
Avon Old Farms School is delighted to present its winter musical, Damn Yankees, Friday through Sunday, February 8-10, at 7 p.m. each night in the Adams Theater. The play will be performed by the men of Avon Old Farms, the women of Miss Porter's School, several Avon faculty children, and guest performers from the Evjen Academy of Performing Arts in Farmington, Connecticut.
In Damn Yankees, middle-aged baseball fanatic Joe Boyd trades his soul to the Devil, also known as Mr. Applegate, for a chance to lead his favorite team to victory in the pennant race against the New York Yankees. As young baseball sensation Joe Hardy, he transforms the hapless Washington Senators into a winning team, only to realize the true worth of the life he's left behind. Joe ultimately outsmarts Applegate, returns to his former self, and shepherds the Senators to the World Series.
Directed by Rebekah Hawkinson, the show features Duncan Cooke ’13 as Joe Boyd and Joe Hardy. Sera Takata, of Miss Porter’s School, will play Sera Boyd, Joe’s loving wife. Jas Spearman ’14 will be playing Mr. Applegate, the devil, while Olivia Wilcox, of the Evjen Academy of Performing Arts, plays Lola, the devil's assistant. Katie McElheny, also of Miss Porter’s School, acts as Gloria Thorpe, a sassy reporter who loves the senators, while Seamus Donovan ’13 takes on the role of Van Buren, the Washington Senators’ coach.
Winter Musical Seating
Friday, February 8 - CANCELLED
Elephant 2, Elephant 3, Brown House, Brown House Annex, Jamerson, Day Students
Saturday, February 9
Parents/Visitors, Miss Porter's, Day Students
Sunday, February 10
Diogenes, Pelican, Eagle, Jennings, Day Students
NOTE: At 6:45, students and advisors should proceed to the Adams Theatre. Day students please check in with the AOD on the night you attend. The production will start at 7 p.m. each night. Smart casual dress on Friday and Sunday evenings.
The Avon Old Farms Theatre Company presented Almost, Maine on November 8, 9, and 10, to packed crowds and rave reviews. In this modern play about love, John Cariani, the playwright, stretches the limits of the audience’s ability to suspend disbelief. By taking liberties with the confines of reality, Cariani creates a world of magic. Characters find themselves falling out of love, falling into love; standing at the precipice of what might be love; and being somewhat perplexed by love. This play was first performed professionally in 2006. It is the most modern play that the Avon Old Farms Theatre Company has produced. With its episodic scenes involving two to three characters, this play is a great piece for budding artists.
The play included an ensemble cast of nine boys and three girls from Miss Porter’s School. The cast received assistance from three devoted tech crew assistants who worked closely with Mr. James Kassel designing and building the set, finessing set pieces, and painting. Mr. Morgan Harris led a group of boys to assist with props and sound effects. This production truly was a team effort, with a terrific team of actors, tech crew, and faculty members working together to make magic happen.
Almost, Maine by John Cariani
Almost, Maine by John Cariani
The Avon Old Farms Theatre Company is proud to present Almost, Maine. In this modern play about love, John Cariani, the playwright, stretches the limits of the audience’s ability to suspend disbelief. By taking liberties with the confines of reality, Cariani creates a world of magic. Characters find themselves falling out of love, falling into love; standing at the precipice of what might be love; and being somewhat perplexed by love. This play was first performed professionally in 2006. It is the most modern play that the Avon Old Farms Theatre Company has produced. With its episodic scenes involving two to three characters, this play is a great piece for budding artists.
The play includes an ensemble cast of nine boys and three girls from Miss Porter’s School. We also had the assistance of three devoted tech crew assistants who worked closely with Mr. James Kassel designing and building the set, finessing set pieces, and painting. Three boys assisted throughout the season, and Mr. Morgan Harris led a group of boys to assist with props and sound effects. This production truly is a team effort, with a terrific team of actors, tech crew, and faculty members working together to make magic happen.
The play will start promptly at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 8; Friday, November 9; and Saturday, November 10. The seating in the Adams Theatre will be limited on Friday. We strongly encourage family and guests to attend the performances on Thursday and Saturday evenings.
FALL PLAY SEATING
Thursday, November 8
Any Headmaster’s List, Dean’s List or Honor Roll Student from the 1st Quarter who wishes to attend this evening.
Friday, November 9
Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors all who are not attending on Thursday evening.
Saturday, November 10
Parents/Visitors/Miss Porter’s and any student who wishes to attend this evening.
Please note: At 6:45, students and advisors should proceed to the Adams Theater. Day students please check in with the AOD on the night you attend. The production will start at 7:00 pm each night. Smart casual dress is required on Thursday and Friday evening.
If you missed last week's yearbook photos, there will be a make-up session on Tuesday, October 2nd from 11:00AM-1:30PM in the Wrestling Room.
Students should wear vespers dress and faculty should wear classroom dress.
A friendly reminder that all faculty and staff need to have their pictures taken, regardless if you had them done last year.
Thank you for your help!
2013 Yearbook Staff
20+ Years of Excellence
In 1992, Mrs. Laferriere took over the role of yearbook advisor from legendary faculty member Sid Clark, and, now, in her 21st year as advisor (and 42nd year as faculty member), Mrs. L continues to make sure that each year at Avon is artfully represented in the pages of the Winged Beaver. In her work as advisor, Mrs. L rises year after year to “the challenge to make the difference between an ordinary book and one with character.” Of course, while Mrs. L provides the guidance, her staff of editors and contributors do their large part to come up with the theme for the book and ultimately execute the vision. The theme “We are” marks the 2012 edition of the Winged Beaver.
Over the years, some of Avon’s top visual artists have been the editor-in-chief of the Winged Beaver, and the pattern continued in 2012 with Sam Feibel taking the lead. Mrs. L remarks, “His talents as an artist, a writer, and photographer made the book a treasure. It is engaging from its cover to its closing pages.” Being talented certainly helps, but being dedicated to the job is another key qualification for being editor-in-chief, and Sam worked diligently during the year (and even gave a week of his March break along with fellow senior Matt Detora) to ensure that deadlines were met and the Winged Beaver would arrive in time for graduation weekend. And, while an objective of the yearbook might be to preserve memories of a year at the Farm for posterity, the Winged Beaver is not simply a collection of photos and captions—it is art. The Winged Beaver consistently wins top awards for artistic merit from two organizations, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the American Scholastic Press Association, and the 2012 Winged Beaver is sure to keep with that winning tradition. Says Mrs. L, “We have been Gold Medalists and First Place winners with our book for over twenty years. I am confident that the 2012 book will garner a few top awards.” We will have to wait until October to find out about the awards, but until then we all have the book and what it stands for to enjoy. Spend some time with it.
Avon Old Farms School is pleased to announce the release of the spring 2012 issue of The Avonian.
The residential life experience of our boys defines their time at Avon. For all Avonians—boarders and day boys alike—this village becomes their home during the years they spend as part of the special community here. This issue, we’re proud to highlight the way AOF’s residential life has evolved over time into what it is today: a comprehensive, diverse, and unique program with something to suit the needs of every single boy.
Also inside this issue, you’ll catch up with Director of Dining Services Jim Kirschner, as well as one of Avon’s most memorable, Seth Mendell ’52. Finally, you’ll meet Brian Conroy ’82, the new chairman of the Board of Directors, and say thanks to Peter Evans, who steps down from his post as director of development.
As always, you’ll also meet many of our outstanding boys, and take a peek at some of the exciting events occurring on campus.
Aspirando et perseverando,
Morgan C. Cugell
The Avonian - Spring 2012
The Woods and Zoo Story
The Old Farms Theater Group concluded the year with a double-feature. Michael Gagnon’s ’12 one-act play The Woods served as opener to Edward Abbey’s Zoo Story. The Woods was a genre-bending play, part comedy, part slap-stick, part psychological thriller, and part murder mystery; the play not only showcased Gagnon’s considerable writing talent, but also it showcased the talents of the next generation of student actors in a troupe defined by senior leaders in 2012. Jake Rochford ’15, Christian DiAntonio ’15, Ramsey Heitman ’15, Yusuf Mansoor ’15, and Mohammed Meraay ’15 entertained in their roles alongside seniors Gagnon and Tim Liptrot.
While The Woods announced Michael Gagnon as Avon’s auteur, Zoo Story was staged this spring as a “showcase piece” to spotlight senior actors Keith Boratko and Michael Nicolia. Ms. Gayle Robinson and Mr. Brad Carpenter directed Keith and Michael in Edward Abbey’s one-act play, which uses an austere set, comprised of two park benches. The dialogue-driven play depends on the engaging enactment of an unlikely meeting between the eccentric and disturbed character played by Boratko and the reserved, bookish character played by Nicolia. The show was a success, to be sure, causing Dean Peter Evans who has been at Avon for over 40 years to remark, “It was the best show I’ve seen. I thought I was watching a Broadway production.”
Speaking of Broadway, the Old Farms Theater Group celebrated their fine work this year with a trip to New York to see Philip Seymour Hoffman star as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, a play that many seniors read this year in English class. The trip to Broadway was a gift of the Parents Association and, indeed, it provided inspiration for the hopeful actors at Avon. “Jaw-dropping,” is how Keith Boratko described the show.