Band welcomes new teacher

Brooke Foster

As teachers and students flood the halls of Hanover this fall, a new band director moves into the arts department and she’s already made her mark on the students and the band. Continue reading “Band welcomes new teacher”


Newbies in the art departments

Brooke Foster

Admit it, you’ve seen them. The arts kids. Walking down that dark hallway at the end of the school. What do they learn in there? Who teaches them?

Debra Clinton, an astounding director, play writer, and now Hanover High’s inspiring theatre art’s teacher, may be recognized in the hallway after long term subbing for the department last year.

“I feel very invested,” Clinton said. “The reason I was interested in the job is because I was very inspired by the students. When I got here, there seemed to be a real desire for a stronger theatre program and I responded to that. As a theatre artist, I’m very passionate about what I do and as an educator, I want to share that with kids so to come to an environment where all that fit together, that seemed like a good place to be,” Clinton continued in response to being asked why she decided to stick with the program after subbing last year.

Clinton is not the only person excited about having a new face in the theatre department. Along with her, many student have expressed how much they are looking forward to this year. Between writing, directing, and teaching, she is more than experienced and ready for the job.

“I have a lot of faith in her because I know that she’s really successful in the theater community in Richmond. So I definitely know that she’s going to produce good things at Hanover theatre company and that she knows what she’s doing. She’s really ready and excited and it feels good,” senior Becka Russo said.

Along with Clinton, another teacher has joined the fine arts staff. Carol Ann Dickerson, the new director of Hanover’s award winning choir, has worked here before as well as a part time director.

“It’s been wonderful. Everybody has been very welcoming and I love the community. It’s nice to be back,” Dickerson said,  “I think the art’s are extremely important for the students to be able to express themselves. So many times, sitting in a class doing other activities that wouldn’t be of interest to them, they know that they have to do those activities. But, they come down here because it’s something that they love to do.”

Overall, both the students and teachers are looking forward to an amazing year in the arts department. “Mrs. Clinton is very passionate about what she does, not only in the theatrics, but she cares about all the students and has our best interests in her mind. I’m excited to work with her in class and in Hanover Theatre Company’s productions this year,” freshman Abby Todd said.

Other students have expressed how they appreciate not only the way their new teachers conduct the classroom, but also in the way that they accept all their students and have embraced the program and the students involved.

“She’s a really nice teacher and she welcomes everyone with open arms. She’s a very understanding person. And I’m excited to sing and perform in the winter concert,” freshman Savana Watts said, “I’m looking forward to all the songs we will be singing this year.”

Between new teachers and new students, the arts department is sure to be a success this year. The performing Hawks will continue on their tradition of giving their all and leaving audiences in awe. This year, the dark hallway at the end of the school is definitely in the spotlight.

Graphic arts hosts presentational show

Jordan Clark


Madison Bowen displayed her artwork at the annual art show hosted in the entrance of Hanover High School. Photo by Madison Bowen

Paint, edit, sculpt. On May 19 from
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. HHS had held an
art show filled with many different
styles of art. Anywhere from photography,
graphic art or sculptures were
presented during the event.
“Having an art show at HHS each
allows for the students to show their
abilities because many of them are
really talented. Some of the people
in my graphic arts 2 class are actually
graphic 4, but we don’t have that
class available so they are put with
us. Mrs. Campbell gives really cool
projects out too,” senior Sophie Barrafato
The evening commenced with
various food items, such as cake,
cookies and chips. People walked
around the 300’s pod and front entrance
to view the many art styles
“My favorite piece of mine that
was displayed in the art show would
be my collage of the 1950’s period,”
senior Madison Bowen said.
Cindy McNamara, HHS Art teacher,
and Debbie Campbell, Photography
and Graphic Design teacher,
went around during the even to view
and judge the art. Deserving students
received fun ribbons at the end of the
event. They gave 1st and 2nd place
for art, graphic design and photography.
They also presented a few honorable
mentions to other pieces they
thought were impressive.
“My favorite piece that was in
the show would have to be my print
making project. It turned out really
well and I am very proud of that
piece,” sophomore India Cloe said.
Another special thing people got
to view at the show were the various
shows the seniors put together. Each
senior art student, no matter the level
of art, got to have up to two panels
of art work displayed in any way
they saw fit. Some students even collaborated
together on their display.
“I have done graphic arts for two
years now so I incorporated pieces
from graphic one and graphic two.
Sarah Bashaw and I have been in the
same class together for both years so
we shared panels and designed how
to display our pieces together,” Barrafato
The winners of the senior displays
were Maria Fuerte for 1st place,
Stella Harden for 2nd place and Cole
Payne for 3rd place.


Chorus, band and strings host spring concerts

Jordan Clark


Chorus performs their last show with Barrack as their teacher. Photo by Caroline Tucker

Sit down and put on your listening
ears. Get ready to tap your foot and
snap your fingers.
On Tuesday May 24 the choirs of
HHS had performed their final concert
of the year. With standing choirs
along with the competition choirs,
SFX and Highlights, there were many
songs to be sung.
The auditorium was filled as a sold
out show that night each ticket costing
“With a sold-out crowd I was
pretty nervous because there were so
many people watching us on the stage
performing, but I was also excited for
so many people to come see our concert,”
junior Christina Nash said.
Songs like ‘Over The Rainbow,’
‘Daddy’s Little Girl,’ and ‘For Good’
were performed throughout the chorus
“The last song ‘For Good’ all the
choirs as a tradition sing it together
and it was a very emotional ending
because not only the seniors are leaving,
but so is Mr. Barrack so it was like
a huge grand ending of the night,”
Nash said.
The HHS strings concert was on
June 1st at 7 p.m. with no admission
cost. The advanced and beginning
orchestra classes were the ensembles
that were presented at this event.
Typically the OKMS orchestra
perform at the same spring concert
as HHS orchestra, but OKMS strings
did not perform at the spring concert
because Mrs. Davis decided that they
would have their own performance
this spring.
“I am in the HHS beginning orchestra
class where we performed various
songs such as ‘Polka’ and ‘Yesterday’
by The Beatles,” freshman Blake Vail-
Rhodes said.
Since the middle school strings
did not perform in the spring concert
with them it gave the HHS orchestra
more opportunity to play.
The next concert to follow the end
of the year was the HHS band concert
on June 7th, at 7 p.m. with all bands
present in the performance. There
was no charge.
Songs such as ‘Salvation,’ ‘Star
Wars- The Marches,” by John Williams
and ‘Incredibles’ were performed.
“I was so excited about the spring
concert because it was the final concert
of the year and is always full of
positive energy,” sophomore Brittney
Nadeau said.
Other ensembles such as jazz band,
jazz ensemble and percussion ensemble
had various songs throughout the
event to help the transitions of the
bigger bands such as concert band and
wind ensemble.
“In percussion ensemble we got to
play songs like ‘Boo Da-Be Da-Be’ and
‘Offenbach vs. Liszt,’” Nadeau said.
A grand ending for the arts department
of the 2015-2016 school
year with three spring concerts that
showed the impressive talents of the



Caroline Tucker


The entire cast of ‘42nd Street’ strikes silly poses on their set piece for the song ‘Lullaby of Broadway’ during a rehearsal. Photo by Elise Boyd

Get out your tap shoes and come
down to a musically historic street
in everyone’s favorite city. “42nd
Street” came to Hanover’s stage from
May 19 to 21 for a spectacular show
of tap dancing feet and drama happening
on and off the stage.
“42nd Street” tells the story of
a young girl named Peggy Sawyer
who has moved to New York City in
hopes of making it big in the world
of theater. The show takes place during
the Great Depression, thus every
character’s dream is to get a job. Sawyer,
and a whole cast of characters,
make their way through producing a
new show, “Pretty Lady,” while dealing
with the drama happening backstage
as well.
While participating in a play, the
students grow closer, becoming a
sort of dysfunctional family, like any
arts program does.
“It’s really fun and I like that
we’ve become a family and we have a
relationship,” freshman Jada Fowler
While some students are seasoned
performers, for others, it is their first
show. Performing in front of friends,
family and strangers can be exciting
and also nerve-racking. But for
students with performing in their
blood, this show should’ve been another
notch on their belt. Except for
the fact that this time students had
to learn to tap dance, something not
commonly taught when producing a
high school play.
“I was kind of worried coming
into this show because we had to tap
dance which is something we had
never done before,” Fowler said.
Between dancing, acting and singing,
these students have to be able to
do them all.
“I like acting the most because I
feel like you’re able to do more than
when you’re singing or dancing,”
Fowler said.
With all the months of practice
and countless hours spent to perfect
every dance move, there comes and
sense of pride when completing a
“I feel like everything we’ve done
has been worth it. It’s a lot of work,
but I love it,” junior Rylee Evans said.
Though this is some freshman’s
first time in the spotlight, it is also
the seniors’ final bow.
“I was a little disappointed to be
cast in ensemble for my final show,”
Knabenshue said, “I wasn’t a lead,
but I did have a part, I had a character
with a name. And honestly, I
was talking to my parents and telling
them how happy I was to be in
the show. I got to tap dance which
was something I’ve never explored
before. I’ve done acting and singing,
but not really dancing, so that was a
lot of fun. It’s what made me love the

Band students dominate All-Virginia Band

Georgia Geen 


Band students stand proud at the All-Virginia Band concert. Photo by Amy Birdsong

HHS band members didn’t only
cross the break at All-Virginia Band,
they broke records. Four students,
seniors Joseph Laux and Sean Talbot
and sophomores Sarah Castle and
Josie Garner, made states, the most in
HHS’s history. Hours of rehearsal at
George Mason University culminated
in a concert on Friday, April 8.
In order to be eligible to audition
for All-Virginia Band, musicians
must make one of the top chairs within
their district’s All-District Band,
limiting the audition pool. Auditions
are held at James Madison University,
which over 1,000 students attended,
including orchestra musicians.
“It was a lot more than serious than
district band. People weren’t goofing
off in the auditorium, they were just
sticking to themselves and working
on their stuff,” Garner said.
Castle, having auditioned and
made All-State Band the year before
as a freshman, described how nervous
most of the students were and how
panicked the atmosphere was.
Those auditioning were divided up
by instrument and placed in different
waiting locations. The high stakes of
the auditions were nerve-wracking,
especially when surrounded by talented
musicians from all over the
state. “I left the trombone room for a
long time. But right before I went in
[to audition], I was very freaked out,”
Laux said.
The period between when auditions
ended and when the results
were posted was very short, with students
waiting less than a day. Laux
and Talbot were at a show choir competition
as members of the show band
when they found out.
“I had to run away from everybody
because it was so loud in the cafeteria.
I was talking on the phone with [Castle]
and then called a million other
people. It was really exciting,” Laux
said. “I was the one who told [Talbot]
that [he] got first chair.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” Talbot said.
Out of 16 students auditioning for
baritone saxophone (and indirectly,
those throughout the entire state),
Talbot received first chair in the top
There are three groups that make
up the event, the orchestra being
the most elite for band students, followed
by the symphonic and concert
bands. Only a small handful of wind
instrumentalists are selected for the
orchestra, since its primary focus is
on stringed instruments. Castle was
selected as second chair for the orchestra.
Laux was sixth chair in the
symphonic band and Garner received
second chair in the concert band.
“I was stuck as second again,” Garner
said, referencing how she was
second chair within the symphonic
band at All-District Band in February.
The conductors for such elite ensembles
had credentials of their own;
the conductor of the symphonic band,
Colonel Michael Coleburn, is the former
director of the U.S. Marine Corps
Coleburn told the students of his
experience teaching former President
George W. Bush how to conduct one
day in the Oval Office.
“I had my baton and I just went
in. He wanted to conduct ‘Stars and
Stripes Forever,’ and he was actually
better than you’d think,” Coleburn
But with elite musicians and conductors
come challenging musical
works, which was enjoyable for all
four HHS students.
“I never felt bored, because the
music is so hard that there’s always
something to do, you’re never just sitting
there like, ‘oh, I got this,’” Garner
Listening to and observing the
moving parts of each piece was one of
the highlights of rehearsing the difficult
pieces. The experience wasn’t
intended to be isolated, students had
many opportunities to better themselves
as musicians. “It made me appreciate
classical music a lot more,”
Talbot said.
“There was always something to
listen to. Especially for me, since I
was in the orchestra. There was always
something to learn or hear
about from other perspectives since
in band we always sit and listen to the
same thing,” Castle said.
As is expected with a high level
of musicianship, the etiquette of the
students was notably different from a
typically band class or even All-District
“Even when they’re working with
other sections, no one goofs off, since
they’re so good and you want to listen
to them. Every section is the best section
in the state,” Laux said.
While as seniors, Talbot and Laux
will not have the opportunity to participate
in the event again, sophomores
Garner and Castle are able to
make goals for their future All-State
“I want to be first chair by the time
I’m a senior,” Castle said. Garner has
the same aspiration.
“Next year I want to make the
symphonic band and play the upper
music,” Garner said.


Jordan Clark


Chorus students hold their trophies and head high after competing. Photo by Kayla Hunter

During spring break the HHS
Highlights and Sound FX choirs
took a 16 hour bus ride on March
30 to Orlando, Florida. They visited
Universal Studios and Island of Adventure
they also had a chance to
perform at Hard Rock Live stage at
the Fame competition.
“It was an awesome feeling being
on the Hard Rock stage because
many famous people had performed
there before us. The curtains were
the typical red curtain and rose up.
It was a feeling that I will never
forget,” sophomore Hannah Omohundro
The National competition was
fierce as they competed against
many schools that specialized in
arts. Sound FX was only 8 points
behind Duke Ellington School of
Fine Arts placing them at 2nd for
“The school that beat us requires
you to tryout just to get into the
school. Though we lost we were all
very happy with our performance.
Duke Ellington was really amazing
and totally deserved to win,” junior
Megan Rummel said.
The Highlights choir managed to
grab the Grand Champion in their
division. They competed against
two other choirs that day.
“After they called third and second
place we all just kind of looked
at each other with astonishment.
The MC didn’t even finish saying
Hanover before we all broke out
screaming and cheering. Everyone
was so excited because on our first
competition we got 1st, then 4th,
so it felt awesome to get first at Nationals,”
sophomore Rachel Powell
While in Orlando the HHS
choirs took some time out to visit
the amusement parks. They did everything
from riding a roller coaster
like Harry Potter and the Escape
from Gringotts to drinking some
butterbeer at Hogwarts.
“I about cried when I went into
Diagon Alley because I am a huge
Harry Potter fan. The butterbeer
was so good, especially when frozen.
Everything looked just liked
the Potter movies. I also bought tshirt
and chocolate frog from the
souvenir shops,” Omohundro said.
With trips come long hours on a
charter bus with many teenagers in
close proximity. With movies, pillows,
food and games people kept
entertained on the bus rides to and
from Orlando.
“The bus ride was kind of nice
because you didn’t have to worry
about anything else in the world
and you didn’t have any responsibilities,
so you could just chill and
relax. It was uncomfortable, but we
watched movies, like of course Harry
Potter. At one point we all sang
together in unison. It really brought
us closer on the way up to Orlando,”
Rummel said.

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