Students performing are a common fixture at All-School Meeting (ASM), but the spotlight rarely shines on those who teach them, so seeing Carlos Hoyt, Associate Dean of Students, singing “Midnight Train” in a dress during Wednesday’s ASM Faculty Talent Show may have come as a shock to some.
Faculty members performed in a variety of acts during the talent show, which occurs every year.
Becky Sykes, Associate Head of School, emceed the event, introducing each act with jokes and witty comments. She described the ASM Faculty Talent Show as an opportunity for the faculty to swallow their pride. As the heating system squealed, Sykes joked, “Are we being booed already?”
Michael Swarttz, Jewish Chaplain, began the program with a stand-up comedy act. Of many story-style jokes, he told one about a priest, minister and rabbi golfing. The group in front of the trio is playing at a frustratingly slow pace, so they take up the issue with the owner of the course. The owner tells them that the golfers in front of them are blind; they have to use golf balls that emit special sound signals that allow them locate their ball. The priest and minister immediately retract their complaints, but the rabbi retorts, “Couldn’t they golf at night?” Swarttz joked, “We [Jews] are very practical people.”
Chloe Epstein, Instructor in Math, performed a martial arts routine from Okinawa, Japan. She explained that her breathing and shouting during the routine helped her focus on the techniques. Greg Selover, Teaching Fellow in Japanese, then demonstrated a type of martial arts called aikido with the help of Ashlyn Aiello ’14.
According to Aiello, she practices aikido during Martial Arts Club, which holds evening meetings throughout the week. However, she and Selover did not practice the routine they performed at ASM until the day before.
“Mam Slam,” the female counterpart to “Super Secret Man Slam” (SSMS), took over the stage to perform two step routines. Their second routine was a dance choreographed to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).” The group included Sykes, Epstein, Evanice Cirelli, Administrative Support in Admissions, Neff Francis, Instructor in Chemistry, Sheena Hilton, Teaching Fellow in Chemistry, Kathleen Pryde, Instructor in Physics, Aya Murata, Dean of Pine Knoll Cluster.
Aiello said, “My favorite performance was the Mam Slam group. I got to see my Chemistry teacher, Ms. Neff on stage, which was hilarious.”
Following Man Slam’s energetic act was an emotional performance by “The Dorkies,” a singing group composed of the male faculty members of SSMS. The group covered “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & the Pips in honor of the anticipated departure of Mark Efinger, Instructor in Theatre.
Donning metallic vests, sunglasses and black slacks, Max Alovisetti, Director of Graham House, Clyfe Beckwith, Instructor in Physics, Mark Cutler, Instructor in Spanish, Kevin Graber, Assistant Dean of Admission, Scott Hoenig, Instructor in Mathematics, Paul Murphy, Dean of Students, Brad Silnutzer, Director of Community Service, and another faculty member mysteriously disguised under a fake beard and Groucho glasses, sang passionately as a slideshow of photos of Efinger and images of trains played in the background.
The audience cheered when Carlos Hoyt, Associate Dean of Students, impersonating Knight, walked on stage wearing a pink sequin dress, a brown wig, black fishnet stockings and high heels.
In the middle of the performance, the man in the fake beard was revealed to be Efinger himself. Adding a hip-hop twist to the Motown song, Graber grabbed the microphone to perform a rap about Efinger as Silnutzer began beatboxing. The other members of the Dorkies pushed Efinger off the stage, leaving him to run down the center aisle of the chapel carrying a bundle.
After the program, Hoyt said, “It was fun. Everything from just the fun of it on one end, to the idea of gender-bending a little bit, which I think is important to do every now and then–to not get too stuck in our socially defined roles.”
Silnutzer added, “[The Dorkies’ performance] was the brainchild of Carlos. It was a group project, but the initial idea came from Carlos.”
The question lingering in many minds, however, was where Hoyt got his dress. Hoyt explained, “My wife ordered it for me. I had two dresses, actually. One from the costume store, which was kind of a flapper dress–little, purple, black, sequins–the whole deal. And then she showed me another one online that she thought would be better. This one’s actually racier than the other one. If I was going to [wear a dress], I had to go for it.”
Hoyt claimed that he is not a performer by nature. He said practicing several times leading up to the ASM, along with knowing that his cause was worthwhile, helped him get past his initial anxiety.
Hoyt revealed that the Dorkies prepared their performance and rehearsed long before the ASM. He said, “I was so proud of the guys because you know how busy everybody is here. I’d say we started probably four weeks ago. We got in one or two rehearsals for each of those weeks, spending about an hour together. We had a video of the steps for the guys to practice at home. So they were working on it at home [and] when we got together we drilled [the routine]. We practiced a little even right before [the ASM].” He joked, “We did one more run through, aiming to be… good enough.”
Sykes introduced the final act by saying that Head of School Barbara Chase wanted to share a few serious words with the audience of students.
Chase revealed that she had hoped to perform on stage for her last Faculty Talent Show but was too nervous to agree to an appearance before realizing that she was only nervous about performing alone.
Inviting the Senior members of the Fidelio Society on stage, Chase announced that she would sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz” with Fidelio Seniors Izzy Kratzer ’12, David Lim ’12, Andrew Sanchez ’12, Julianna Wessels ’12 and Min Jae Yoo ’12, dedicating her rendition to the Class of 2012, with whom she will be “graduating.”