Investiture Performances Embody Themes of Hope and Peace

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Angelic voices from Andover’s Fidelio Society blossomed through the cool spring air, singing of a bright future in Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning.” The soprano, alto, tenor, and bass cadences blended into a harmony, suffusing warmth and hope in the crowd assembled on the Richard T. Greener Quadrangle. Following the performance, Assistant Head of School James Ventre presented the Eliphalet Pearson Gavel to Phillips Academy’s 16th Head of School Dr. Raynard Kington.

“I think the importance of the performance in Dr. Kington’s speech was that it showcased the diversity and variety of outlets we have at this school, not purely academic, and it also provided a sort of interlude in between speeches. I like to think we created an impact by displaying a glance of the amazing programs we have at this school and what Andover truly represents as a student body,” Jacqueline Gordon ’25, who danced in the string quartet performance, wrote in an email to The Phillipian.

Fidelio’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning”, was an uplifting song that served as a melodic intermission between Ventre’s two speeches. With lyrics such as “Everything’s gonna be all right”, this song provided optimism to the crowd, especially as the campus lifts Covid restrictions.

“‘Light of a Clear Blue Morning’ is a piece that always reminds me that no matter where I am in life to look up at the sky and to remember that the world keeps moving, and I think coming into the investiture we really wanted our message to be one that had that positive, everything is going to be okay, we are so happy to have you here, we are so happy to be together,” said Fidelio singer Kate Horton ’22.

Along with various speeches, Dr. Kington’s investiture on Saturday was highlighted by numerous musical and dance performances, including a string quartet in G major by African-American composer Florence Price accompanied by dancers, Fidelio’s performance of “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” and an instrumental rendition of the American anthem.

“Fidelio was singing about the brighter future and how it’s going to be okay. One of the other groups had a piece, the American anthem, which is a way to reflect on the history or histories of the school and the country. Then our piece was a representation [of the] Black American community,” said violin player Ani Bayramyan ’24, who performed in the string quartet.

Following introductory remarks given by 2021-2022 School Co-Presidents Sean Meng ’22 and Mary Muromcew ’22, the investiture’s first major performance was the string quartet. Four musicians and four dancers performed this short piece to honor Dr. Kington’s coming years as head of school. Furthermore, the composer Florence Price’s African-American identity celebrated the fact that Dr. Kington is the first African-American identifying Head of School.

“I think the main way we wanted to honour Dr. Kington was choosing a song and theme that represented nobility, spring, and a somewhat bright future. We wanted the dance to be simple and elegant while also having an uplifting purpose and I think in collaboration with the absolutely amazing quartet the piece displayed all of that.” wrote Gordon in an email to The Phillipian.

With the arts being such an integral part of Andover’s community, the investiture’s music and dancing brought together students, teachers, alumni, and parents alike in this culmination of Dr. Kington’s accomplishments and potential.

“I think our performance just kind of showed the peace and the love that Dr. Kington brings to our school, because the song was so pretty and slow and it really represented all that Dr. Kington had done for our school in the past one or two years, […]I think this performance was just, and the entire investiture was just really honoring how hard it was for him and us to deal with the pandemic and how well he handled it,” said dancer Alex Giarnese ’25, who performed in the string quartet.