Fall Fest Student Musicians

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Fall Fest Student Musicians

Student performers at MLWGS Fall Fest 2016

Student performers at MLWGS Fall Fest 2016

Student performers at MLWGS Fall Fest 2016

Student performers at MLWGS Fall Fest 2016

Kamya Sanjay, Assistant News Editor

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Perhaps the highlight of the Maggie Walker experience arrives right at the onset of the fall season, a silver lining on the drudgery of an all class Friday. This year marked the 20th anniversary of Fall Fest, a fundamental institution of the Governor’s School that gives student organizations a chance to gain visibility and earn funds to put towards future activities.


It goes without saying that an event of such magnitude must have entertainment, and Maggie Walker is no stranger to talent, especially in regards to music. Not only does Maggie Walker boast graduates like up and coming indie musician Lucy Dacus (`13), the school’s music program possesses a variety of classes that make yearly debuts at Fall Fest. Deadbeats and Appalachian Music Heritage Club annually stun the Fall Fest audience with their Fall Fest performances.This year, American Sign Language III performed songs, attracting a crowd and flaunting Maggie Walker’s precocity and propensity for language. Additionally, two non-music acts took to the stage this year- Maggie Walker Bhangra delivered a knockout performance and Cole Mier (`19)  provided jokes that have ricocheted around the student body with his hilarious improvisational comedy.


Above all, the festival provides the perfect ambience for individual student musicians and bands to perform. Anyone who has attended Fall Fest in previous years understands that the atmosphere of the event is exceptional- there’s a certain pulsing, vivacious, and all-pervasive energy that seems to grasp the mass of students, families and community members that attend.


Raghda Labban (`19) held her first solo performance at Fall Fest this year. Under the twinkling lights with nothing but her guitar and smooth voice, Labban was nervous but she thoroughly enjoyed her very first performance. “Everyone was so supportive and sweet, and it meant a lot to know that even some students that I had never spoken to before enjoyed my performance,” she says, reflecting on her time onstage. In contrast, Mairead Guy (`17) has played at Fall Fest every year since she began attending Maggie Walker- this year she sang with Deadbeats and Appalachian Heritage Music Club, danced with Bhangra, and performed with friend Kiera Goddu (`17). “Honestly, Fall Fest is always one of my favorite times of the year, and getting to perform is when I feel the most like myself,” claims Guy.


There was a single factor that contributed to some mishaps for student musicians at Fall Fest this year. Thanks to the impending Hurricane Matthew, visitors at the festival were forced to periodically duck under tents as bouts of rain swept across the city. The wind blow and raindrops continued to fall in the late evening. It affected some of the earlier performances- Reona Pereira (`19), one half of acoustic duo “Cosmic” says that, “Despite having our sheet music blown away by the wind, we still powered through our songs and received pretty good responses.” Dana Slayton (`17) and Jamie Holder (`17), another duet that performed original pieces, faced the same situation- “Naturally, [our performance] would have been a bit more coherent had the wind not decided to blow our music away. All told, it was an exercise in fun performance—and we hope the audience felt the same,” they say. Pereira agrees, saying that “despite our mishap, Kamya Sanjay (`19) and I had the time of our lives performing in front of everyone.”


Without a doubt, the most validating part of performing at Fall Fest comes from having one’s closest friends as members of the audience. Julia Ball (`18), the bass player of rock band Infinite Monkey Theorem, agrees. “My friends are so supportive! They gave me encouragement beforehand and congratulated me afterwards with hugs and high-fives.” Jui Paithane (`18) shares her story. “My friends were able to hear me sing in front of everyone which really boosted my confidence, because I knew they were there to support me no matter how well I did,” she says. Paithane also performed an original song that held great meaning to her and received overwhelming positivity from her friends, family, and audience, which meant the world to her.


Reactions to student musicians at Fall Fest were definitely enthusiastic. Mackenzie Shearer (`19) expresses her surprise at the fact that “the solos, duos, and overall smaller groups did such an excellent job when their only time to practice was outside of school.” Yashna Nainani (`17) concurs, saying she marveled most at “the amount of effort and time it took for students to pull together an act with such short notice.” Avery McKay (`19) states her surprise at “how much talent this school has, even being a school that’s known for being nerdy.”


Without a doubt, the Fall Fest stage made memories for many students this year. Asha Iyer (`17), who has performed at Fall Fest for three out of the four years she has attended, considers the tradition “one of the best aspects of the Maggie Walker experience.” Ball’s word of advice to future student musicians who want to let loose on stage is simple but profound. “Perform something that you love and don’t worry about everyone watching. If you’re enjoying yourself on stage then that’s what people will notice the most, and that is what you’ll remember in the future.”




Mairead Guy ( 17) and Kiera Goddu (`17)

Dana Slaton (`17) and Jamie Holder (`17)

Raghda Labban (`19)

Extraordinary Commission

Wombo Combo

Mikaela Benway (`19)

Infinite Monkey Theorem

Jui Paithane (`18)

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