Good Riddance, Seniors

“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life” 

Ledyard has been known for its musical abilities for years and years now. The music program has touched hundreds of Ledyard Colonels. For some, it has been their passion and their life for the past four years. And for all of them, this spring’s production of Pops will be their last hurrah. Ledyard’s music department produces a colorful and upbeat performance at the end of every school year for the student body and the community to enjoy. Students dress up in costumes and break into dance all night long, inspiring their peers and the community to stick it out for the finals days of school. The concert will feature performances by Premier, Acabellas, Final Cut, Women’s Chorus, Men’s Chorus, Concert Choir, Select Singers, and Chamber Choir. Some of the senior Colonels shared their thoughts on this year’s upcoming Pops concert and their experiences as a Ledyard musician.

Senior Ariana Murray knew from the spring of her freshman year that she wanted to make a mark in the music program, and she did just that. Murray has made some of her best friends and memories through the music program. But not only has the music program given her another family, she has learned so much from it as well. When asked about her favorite memory throughout the years Murray said it was, “when she cheated the fastpass system in Disney World with some of her closest friends and Mr. Hammond so that they could ride Rockin’ Rollercoaster two times in 20 minutes.” Setting goals was what Murray learned so about much and is what she encourages underclassmen to do, “Freshman year I saw Marquadt lead the musical her senior year and from then on that was what I wanted to do, and although there was not a musical this year, I’m in all of the top musical groups and feels like I finally achieved my goal.”

Anybody familiar with the music program knows senior Carter Smith as the recurring face. He will be leaving Pops “heart-broken” as he has loves singing for Ledyard and has created his best and most prominent high school memories in the music department. He not only made his memories, but he gave others some things to remember. Sophomore Anthony Zinno reminisced when Carter, “tried to get me to smell the ram horn during Godspell, then proceeded to chase me around with it. But regardless of what he attempted to make me do, he is an absolute powerhouse and an amazing role model”  Smith advises future Colonels to, “take every opportunity you can and to work hard at everything that the music program presents you with.”

Growing up surrounded by music, senior Haley Mikkelsen said it was a “no brainer” coming to Ledyard and participating in the music program. When she was younger, she was constantly being shaped by her musical role-models, which consist of her family and music teachers, and she thanks all of them for her pursuit in music. Like the others, Mikkelsen describes her last concert for Ledyard as bittersweet. When it comes to Pops, she’s “really excited, happy, and a bit sad.” The Chamber Choir trip to Europe was one that shaped her forever and an experience that she will look back on fondly. Seeing how the music that her and her peers were creating touched other people made her appreciate music on a “deeper level” and she’s grateful for that opportunity. Not only did she touch her audiences, Hammond describes her as having a loving and nurturing attitude. Mikkelsen says  she is “only a bit sad because I’ve had my time and I know it’s time for others to enjoy. I have loved every bit of this but I understand it’s my turn to continue on my journey in life.” To the others after her she says to not let failures keep you down, to keep your head up and keep trying.

Senior Sean Healy is a veteran to music and drumming since he was in 5th grade, but he was a newbie singer this year. Being new didn’t seem to inhibit Healy’s love for music. According to his fellow musicians, he seemed to fit right in. Sophomore Anthony Zinno reminisced Healy being his other turtle dove when singing “12 Days of Christmas” during the holidays. The senior said Pops will be a hard weekend for him and his fellow classmates, but he is looking forward to seeing what opportunities and experiences singing in college brings. He leaves future Colonels with the advice not to be afraid of auditioning for a group or a solo because you never know what you can do until you try.

Much like this year’s seniors, music instructor Russell Hammond is in for an emotional weekend. After 30 years of putting on a production as successful and impressive as Pops, this year will be his last.

“Each year’s production is unique and different, but they all aim to do the same, to create a special evening for the students and community,” Hammond said.

When asked about his thoughts on the upcoming start to retirement, he mentioned how fortunate he was to have been in the best profession for him for so long.

Senior Carter Smith describes his time working under Hammond as full of “focused rehearsals, wonderful perspective, and passionate instruction.” The music program has a big loss coming its way, but also a fresh perspective to gain. Ledyard alum, Melanie Cometa will be taking over the music program and is looking forward to this new opportunity.

Those interested in attending Pops and supporting the senior’s last goodbye can purchase tickets starting on Tuesday May 30. Tickets are $5 each or 4 for $15. Tickets are sold before school (7:00-7:35 a.m.) in the main lobby or during both lunch waves in the cafeteria (10:45-11:10 a.m. and 12:15-12:35 p.m.). If tickets are still available, they will also be sold at the door beginning at 7:00 p.m.. The student body and community is encouraged to come and enjoy the last hurrah for not only these five musicians, but for so many others.

Like every year, the community is left wondering what will this year consist of. There are no secrets being given away, but perhaps everybody should brush up on their songs from the hit Broadway show, Rent.

Olivia Strelevitz, Staff Writer

Sophomore Olivia Strelevitz is a staff writer for the 2016-17 Colonel. Not only is she an honors student, she is also a competitive swimmer competing for LHS and TAC. Outside of the pool, Strelevitz works as the Secretary of Key Club and participates in Student Congress.

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