The Student News Site of Cranford High School


The Student News Site of Cranford High School


The Student News Site of Cranford High School



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A New Year of Performing Arts Begins with the CHS Opening Gala

Photo taken by Stephanie Levine

As per tradition, the performing arts of Cranford High School debuted its 2023-2024 school year with the opening gala – this time held at the high school! With the auditorium now fully functional again, the performance was held at full capacity for the first time since 2019. The gala features performances by the marching band and orchestra, led by Mr. Chernosky, the concert and Madrigal choirs, led by Mr. Rafanello, the dance classes, taught by Ms. Donahue, and the acting classes, led by Mr. McQuade.

The show began with a striking rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner by the marching band, orchestra, and concert choir, conducted by Mr. Chernosky. As the marching band and orchestra exited the stage, the concert choir prepared to perform its selections: “Ave Verum Corpus” by Mozart, and “It Takes a Village” by Joan Szymko. The orchestra followed after, performing “Open Lands” from Willaim Hofeldt’s “Deerpath Triptych.”

A brief interlude between the orchestra and Madrigal Choir included some words from associates with the Friends of Performing Arts, an organization that seeks to, in the words of their advertising form, “enhance the experience of the students participating in all performing arts programs in our district.” Unexpectedly, the associates presented the four teachers with a gift: ensemble bags with the Friends of Performing Arts logo. They were instructed to look inside the bag, and what was inside led to a series of applause and cheers: a one-thousand dollar donation to each department!

As the FOPA associates left the podium, the Madrigal Choir took the stage. Their performance consisted of “April is My Mistress Face” by Thomas Morley, and the Irish folk song “The Last Rose of Summer.” The Madrigal Choir will be continuing their caroling performance with the fast-approaching holiday season.

Dance 2 followed the Madrigal Choir with their original performance “The Heist.” The performance was described by Ms. Donahue as a “social dance” and was backed by the jazz musical selection by OH1. Ms. Donahue announced that the dance program would return to attending the Regional High School Dance Festival. Noteworthy, the male extracurricular choir, began with the announcement of their 20th anniversary as a group before performing an a cappella rendition of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling.” 

Acting 3/4, the highest level of acting class available at the high school, put on their original comedic skit “Acting 3/4 Gets Ready for School,” a collaborative effort between Mr. McQuade and the actors  with background music by Heinz Kessling. Rather than using dialogue or props, the actors used expressive body language and often hyperbolic actions. West End Blend, the female extracurricular choir, took the stage next with their selection “Wake Me Up” by Avicii. Acting 2 performed their original “A Box of Chocolates” with the accompanying music “Tick Tock” by Stephen Sandheim, followed by Dance 3/4‘s “Fancy Meeting You Here,” choreographed by the dancers and Ms. Donahue. 

Finally, the news that all involved in the theater department have been waiting for: the announcement of the spring musical. After a speech by Mr. Good, the new Performing Arts’ Board Director, the leading teachers of the performance, the musical was revealed to be Urinetown by the playwright Greg Kotis. Auditions for the musical will be held in late November.

As applause for the newly announced musical went through the auditorium, the Marching

Band entered – although not on stage. Surrounding the audience, the band played their field show “For Peace,” arranged by Mr. Chernosky himself. The show included four movements with selections from the songs “Dona Nobis Pacem,” “Sim Shalom,” which translate to “Grant  us Peace,” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” The show was created in dedication to former band member and drum major Eamon Cagney.

As the marching band exited, a successful night of performing arts concluded. But what of the thousand-dollar grant given to the teachers? Mr. Chernosky plans to pay for a trailer to transport the band’s instruments and equipment, and both Ms. Donahue and Mr. McQuade intend to fund more field trips for the dance and acting departments respectively.

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