Singing at Carnegie Hall

Mastersingers Take Carnegie Hall”

Freshman Alisa Yakovenko and Sophomore Sarah Burton, both members of Archmere’s elite choral group, the Mastersingers, write about what it was like to sing at Carnegie Hall as part of the National Youth Choir. For the second time in three years, the Archmere Mastersingers were chosen as the featured solo choir

Archmere Mastersingers, featured solo choir at Carnegie Hall.

Archmere Mastersingers perform at Carnegie Hall.

“Ladies and gentlemen, from Claymont, Delaware, I proudly present to you the Mastersingers of Archmere Academy!”

Standing backstage before show time, we felt a mix of nerves and excitement. Archmere’s eight soloists prepared to sing their parts, while Mr. Ifkovits tried to frantically remind us of every detail to watch out for in each selection.

As we walked onto the stage, we couldn’t help but glance up into the highest balconies and search for familiar faces in the audience. As we began to sing the first notes of our first piece, all nervousness fell away and we became lost in the moment; singing with some of our best friends in the most prestigious concert hall in the nation. This was clearly different from any concert performance we had ever given.

At the beginning of the school year, it was announced that the Archmere Academy Mastersingers had been invited to perform in the National Youth Choir at Carnegie Hall in March of 2015. Soon afterwards, we were informed that the Mastersingers unanimously had been chosen as the Featured Choir at Carnegie Hall as well, meaning that we would perform our own selection. This was the second time in three years Archmere had received this honor, becoming only the second ensemble in the history of the National Youth Choir Festival to perform as the Featured Choir twice.

Since September, we had been working hard in the choir room in preparation for this moment; every hour of sleep lost, every eraser thrown, and every Claymont Steak Shop fry consumed was worth it as we finished our program and the audience rose to their feet to give a standing ovation.

Selected from Archmere’s Concert Choir, each year thirty young singers are chosen to travel, compete, and perform additional concerts in various venues throughout the region. Ranging from freshmen to seniors, this group is not just a choir, but a family.  Over the countless hours of practice time after school, we had grown inseparable. Without Archmere, this group of talented high schoolers would not have had the opportunity to bond and grow as musicians and people.

Archmere provides students the chance to excel in all areas, whether it is academically, athletically, or artistically. We both feel incredibly thankful to be members of the Mastersingers. The performance opportunities we have had this year alone are greater than what most people experience in a lifetime, and we can’t wait to see what experiences the future will bring.

— Sarah Burton ‘17 and Alisa Yakovenko ‘18

For freshmen at Archmere, it’s a great time of year!

Father John Zagarella, O. Praem, former headmaster and current guidance counselor for the Class of 2018, shares his thoughts on why 2nd quarter is the most wonderful time of the year, especially for our freshmen. 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Doesn’t that sound like a great opening line for a Christmas song? Ah yes, but drat the luck, I do believe that somebody already took it (namely Edward Pola and George Wyle when they wrote the song in 1963)! While they were certainly thinking about Christmas, they probably never dreamed it would apply to this time in the life of a freshman at Archmere Academy. You see, from my perspective as the Guidance Counselor of Archmere’s Class of 2018, it really is the most wonderful time of this particular year.

The flip-flops of summer are a memory, and so, it seems, are the flip-flops of a new Auk’s tummy as the thrills and chills of transition befell him or her like an emotional avalanche (or like confetti at a Lady Gaga concert). It stands to reason…new school, new teachers, new classmates, new schedule, even new school colors, for Heaven’s sake!   And a big, beautiful campus to figure out…with just four minutes in between classes to get un-lost! Then we need to figure out of it’s an A Day, an H Day or a D Day. Am I free this period or am I supposed to be in Honors Bio? Oops! I forgot my appointment with Father Zagarella!! OK, so that last one is still happening. But I am a counselor and I DO understand (and I DO run all over campus looking for them when they miss an appointment).

Yes, the first three months of life as an Auk are surely challenging ones. It IS a major transition for our students. But what a great place for our freshmen and transfer students to experience this new beginning. You see, Archmere is a happy place. The faculty, staff and students are happy (Mamma Mia, even the Principal is happy!)…and also are happy to help. Our new students know that from the minute that their parents turn onto Manor Ave that first day of school. You remember the scene…our seniors and faculty cheering the new Auks on with a warm and welcoming joyful noise. YES!

This time of year happens every year at Archmere, but only once in the life of a student. It is the most wonderful time of this year when our freshmen “get it”! They CAN excel academically and, at the same time, they CAN achieve athletically and/or artistically and at the same time they CAN figure out which class drops on an E Day! To be sure, from Labor Day to Thanksgiving the change within a new Auk is palpable…from blank stares to toothy smiles! They know they fit in and they do; they know they are in a safe place and that they are loved…and indeed they are! Go AUKS. Pietate et Scientia.

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Archmere Admissions in the Twittersphere

It’s official! Kristin and I have launched an Archmere Admissions Twitter account. We’ll use it as another great way to tell Archmere’s story and highlight so much of what makes it such a great place to be.

So why tweet? Twitter provides a unique window into daily life at Archmere, campus events, and news that would otherwise have been inaccessible to anyone other than students and staff. We’ll be able to quickly share updates, too brief to blog about, right from our smartphones so you can experience what’s happening on Archmere’s campus in real time.

We’ll be tweeting several times per week with campus and admissions-related events, student spotlights, and much more. Also, be sure to check in on Thursdays when we post some fun throwback pictures of people, events, and organizations in Archmere’s history. If you’re on twitter, please do follow us and re-tweet whatever resonates with you! If you’re not on twitter, you can still see our feed by checking back to the blog and taking a look at our twitter widget in the left hand column!

Follow us on Twitter @AuksFlyTogether!

Getting Excited for the 7th Grade Open House!

…And we’re back! With the admissions season now wrapped up for the Class of 2018, Kristin and I have started planning our spring events. The freshman placement tests and spring orientation for the incoming class in May will be here before we know it. But right now, we’re really looking forward to hosting our second annual 7th Grade Open House on Wednesday, April 30th from 7:00pm to 9:00pm!

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The 7th Grade Open House is an energetic, informative, and entertaining experience. You’ll be welcomed by dozens of cheering Auks as you enter campus from Manor Avenue, then after a short welcome, the students will go on a quick tour in small groups with our students and teachers as the parents stay in the SLC for a brief informational session.

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Everyone then meets over in our Performing Arts Center for a brief concert by our Band and Mastersingers.

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Finally, we’ll return to the SLC for a social with food and giveaways. Meet our faculty, ask us questions, and above all, have fun!

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Much like the Open House in the fall, we would definitely encourage all those interested in attending to pre-register online.

Hope to see you there!

Go Auks!