Absegami students experience concert from behind the scenes

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Sophomores Eddie Johnston, left, and Michael Moore check out tattoos at High School Nation vendor exhibit. Sophomores Eddie Johnston, left, and Michael Moore check out tattoos at High School Nation vendor exhibit.

GALLOWAY – High School Nation came to Absegami High School Friday, Oct. 11.

For a decade, the program has connected artists with middle and high school students through lunchtime concerts, campus visits and contests.

The effort gives exposure to up-and-coming artists and provides students with free entertainment at a time when funding for the arts has been severely cut nationwide.

This year’s tour, partnering with Monster audio products, began Sept. 23 Nashville, Tenn., and ends Oct. 18 in Charlotte, N.C.

High School Nation makes donations to each school on the tour toward their music and arts programs. 

Plans were to take over the football stadium for exhibits and a concert, but rain moved the event to the gymnasium.

“It was absolutely no problem,” said media instructor Michael Piotrowski. “They were prepared. We had the space.”

The two-hour event began at noon.

Media students were able to mingle with the professionals during setup, watching booths go up for vendors and performers.

There was something for everybody – in addition to the music and music-related products, the event highlighted journalism, film, fine arts, fashion and photography.

Performing were Atlantic Records artists Trevor Jackson, Blush and Stamps.

Students visted interactive zones including Guitar Center Music Zone, Tulip Art Zone and Ford Photo Zone.

School officials said that High School Nation selects its sites and they were glad to be chosen.

Other cities on the tour included Louisville, Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Boston, New York, Bayonne and Trenton.

Sophomores Eddie Johnston and Michael Moore were among the media students touring the gym before the show opened.

“The entire event is free,” Moore said. “The media class got a sneak peek.”

The pair was checking out tattoos.

“The tattoos support breast cancer month,” Johnston said. “It’s not exactly class related, but it brings attention to a serious problem and a deserving cause.”

They soon headed toward the New York Film Academy display.

“We’ll go around to all the exhibits,” Moore said. “We’ll just circle the gym.”

Other students took advantage of a simulated recording studio – playing instruments linked electronically to monitors so they could see how the sound mixed while they listened through headsets.

Meanwhile at one end the musicians were setting up for the performances.

“This is really great,” senior Gabrielle Hughes said. “It’s really nice that we can have an event like this come to Absegami.”

Piotrowski said the visitors handled everything.

“They’re very well organized,” he said. “All we did was arrange for the students to come in and participate.”

Photos submitted by Julie Hazard

Students, from left, Nadia LoPane, Samantha Phommalyla, Thomas Knight and Josh Souvannavong with George Papas, admissions representative from the New York Film Academy School of Film and Acting. Students, from left, Nadia LoPane, Samantha Phommalyla, Thomas Knight and Josh Souvannavong with George Papas, admissions representative from the New York Film Academy School of Film and Acting.

Absegami students Ally Berry on drums and Chelsea Giberson at the keyboard with Robert Ochoa from High School Nation. Absegami students Ally Berry on drums and Chelsea Giberson at the keyboard with Robert Ochoa from High School Nation.

Members of pop music group Blush perform for students. Its five members are from the Philippines, India, Hong Kong Japan, and South Korea. Also performing were Stamps the band and Trevor Jackson. Members of pop music group Blush perform for students. Its five members are from the Philippines, India, Hong Kong Japan, and South Korea. Also performing were Stamps the band and Trevor Jackson.


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