Singing Their Goodbyes: Senior Recitals

_In their final term at Phillips Academy, seven Seniors, who have been devoted to music throughout their time at Andover, performed in their Senior Recitals. Last weekend’s performers included Prateek Kumar (voice), Susannah Poland (voice), Eliot Shimer (voice) and Wesley Hartwell (voice), who are featured below, as well as Raquel Wilkerson (voice), Amy Chen (clarinet) and Betina Evancha (voice). Congratulations to all of the Seniors for their hard work._Q: How did you first start performing? Shimer: I started singing because I loved acting, and my school was doing a musical. I loved the energy and people involved in “Annie” and again in eighth grade when I played Harold Hill in “The Music Man.” Poland: I started singing with my father’s old collegiate a cappella group reunions when I was five. Since I was a toddler I sang with my grandparents, who are a musical duo and sing locally. Q: Do you have any memorable stories throughout your playing/singing career? Hartwell: Touring with the Treble Chorus (New Orleans and England) and with the Fidelio Society (North Carolina/ Washington D.C. and Santa Fe, NM/Houston, TX) were fabulous experiences. Kumar: My Andover music career has been a lot of fun. I was in the musical “Pirates of Penzance” during my Junior year as one of the pirates. Shimer: After I sang the part of the corrupt French innkeeper in a song from “Les Miserables” at Grasshopper Night, I had a Facebook group made about me: “Eliot Shimer’s Eyebrows Fanclub.” Apparently I used my eyebrows a lot in that number. Q: How would you describe your Senior Recital in relation to your entire music career? Hartwell: It’s a satisfying culmination of my youth singing career, but it’s also the beginning of my adult career. As my voice and body mature, so does my sound. Poland: I think it’s certainly not all-encompassing, nor an accurate representation of what my musical experience has looked like for the past couple years. [My Senior Recital] is only an appropriate end to my formal classical training. Q: If you had more time to prepare for your senior recital, what would you change? Poland: I would have loved to have my mother play the oboe in one of my songs, “Suscepit Israel.” I would have also liked to add in more contemporary songs, from musical theatre, pop and a cappella. What are your plans for your playing/singing in the future? Shimer: I hope to be tapped for an a cappella group at Yale. Whiffenpoofs? One can only dream. Kumar: I have been taking lessons with Mr. Donald Wilkinson since my freshman year. I will continue to study voice under him at Harvard University. Hartwell: I plan to continue singing and playing the Euphonium in college and beyond.