NOTEORIOUS is a Top 10 finalist in the ICHSA and heads to NYC to compete in the finals for a shot at the international championship title. Group members are (front row, l-r): Vinny Costantino, Colin Chin, Lucy Wagner, JJ Pruisken, Katie Leach; second row, l-r): Mason Murray, Piper Kirwin, Sophie Donavan, Dylan Mills, Fahd Benhafoune, Eddie McNeil, Becca Mooney-Green, Alivia Rowe and Eulalia Agganis. Not pictured: Director Allison Kane. (Courtesy Photo)

 

By MAUREEN DOHERTY

WORCESTER — Well, they’ve gone and done it again! NOTEorious, the NRHS a cappella group, competed in the semi-final round of Varsity Vocals ICHSA (International Championship of High School A cappella) last Saturday, March 12 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester – and won it all!

Competing against nine other groups from the Northeast region of this international competition, the semifinal round was mainly made up of schools from Massachusetts and New York.

“NOTEorious came out on top with a score of 432 points out of a possible 465,” said Allison Kane, the group’s elated director. “They also took home awards in three out of the four categories for Best Featured Solo: JJ Pruisken, Best Vocal Percussionist: Colin Chin, and Best Arrangement for the whole set: Colin Chin and Lucy Wagner,” she said.

NOTEorious now moves on to perform in the national championships, to be held in New York City April 21-24 against each of the best schools representing all the other regions of the international competition. “There will be 10 schools in total from across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. competing,” Kane said.

“We had a packed fan bus chaperoned by Mr. Ben Owens, Mr. Justin Reddington and Ms. Carla Lister. We had numerous NOTEorious alumni attend as well as friends and family members. Nearly 100 people in the 1600-seat theater at Mechanics Hall were North Reading families,” Kane recalled.

To celebrate, they all went out to dinner at the Olive Garden, but the best was yet to come. “When we arrived back in North Reading we were met by a police escort and a car parade of friends and family. It was awesome for the kids!” Kane said.

At Monday night’s Select Board meeting, Chairwoman Kate Manupelli offered congratulations to NOTEorious on behalf of the board for advancing to the national a cappella championships. She noted that Eddie McNeil, the son of Jennifer McNeil who serves as the board’s clerk, is a member of the group. “They have put in the time, they have put in the effort year after year… We are so very proud of them and it is nice to have North Reading on the map,” Manupelli said. “We wish them the best of luck. It is the Friday of April vacation. It is a big deal!”

 

ONE ACT, ONE FRAME. Thespians (l-r): Mason Murray, Dylan Mills, Molly Giunta and Caroline Schladenhauffen perform in the Masquers’ production of the children’s show “The Terrible Infants” by Oliver Lansley. They host and perform in Dramafest’s preliminary round on Saturday. (Courtesy Photo)

 

Gearing up for Dramafest

Not one to rest on her laurels, Kane is switching hats this weekend from vocal director to theater director.

This weekend, the Masquers will host the preliminary round of the METG Dramafest. “The featured thespians who will compete in this One Act Festival represent the high schools of Wakefield, Bishop Fenwick, Andover, Peabody, Billerica and of course North Reading. It begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 19,” Kane said. Tickets are available at the NRHS box office of the Performing Arts Center.

The NRHS Masquers will perform the children’s play, “The Terrible Infants.” It will be the second performance of the Festival with curtains going up at 10:30 a.m.

“This production is wonderfully entertaining for people of all ages. A $15 ticket provides admission into any or all of the productions throughout the day. Audience members can come and go as they please,” Kane said.

What is METG?

The Massachusetts High School Drama Festival is a competitive program that typically includes 112 one-act plays produced by member high schools of the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild (METG).

The competition is organized across three levels – preliminary, semi-final and State Finals. Student excellence in acting and technical design is recognized at each level.

Of the 112 one-act plays that enter the festival, 14 will be selected as State Finalists, of which three are typically named winners. Two schools chosen as the State Finalists typically go on to represent Massachusetts in the New England Drama Festival, the regional showcase of secondary school theatre.

For 2022 METG has made changes to its typical Festival format due to concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore METG is hosting the Preliminary Round weekend on March 19 and 20. The schools advancing from the Preliminary Round will compete at the 2022 High School Festival Regionals over the weekend of April 2 and 3. From that round, 14 Regional Winners will be chosen. State Finals will not be held in 2022.

Tickets will be available at the door of each site and for each round at a cost of $15 for the entire day, including the Awards Ceremony.

This METG Dramafest program is supported in part by grants from the Cultural Councils of North Reading, Andover, Beverly, Brockton, Chelmsford, Duxbury, Everett, Framingham, Franklin, Leominster, Swansea, Tyngsborough, Wayland and Westford. These local agencies are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.