Art Fest, an annual event held in Cole Memorial Chapel, is designed to raise money for the arts program at Norton High School (NHS). This year, the event raised $1,300 with a combination of ticket sales for the a cappella competition and raffle tickets for the art gallery. It was hosted by Mary Margaret Yancey ’19 and Maeve Ronan ’19, who ran the a cappella competition and the art gallery, respectively.
“Art Fest, as a whole, was wonderful to see in action. After months of planning, seeing people from Wheaton and the surrounding areas…come appreciate different art forms was rewarding,” Yancey said. “I was pretty tense at times, but Ronan was there to ground me. We worked closely on this and I couldn’t have done it without her by my side.”
In past years, Art Fest was called A Cappella Fest because it focused primarily on the competition that took place in the chapel. This year, however, the art gallery raffle was added to increase the amount of money for the NHS arts program.
According to Yancey, Ronan had also previously held a similar event to raise money for NHS. While at brunch over the summer, Ronan suggested that they combine the annual a cappella fest with her art gallery event.
“At the beginning of the school year, we brainstormed some names and ‘Art Fest’ was the most general name to cover both forms of art,” Yancey said.
Anyone who bought a raffle ticket for the art gallery could go home with works of art made by Wheaton students.
There were eight a cappella groups who participated in the competition—four from Wheaton and the others from colleges in the area: Smith College’s Smiffenpoofs, Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Audiophiles, University of Connecticut’s (UCONN) Rolling Tones and Berklee College’s Charlie Chords. There was a mix of all-male, all-female and co-ed groups.
“It was humbling and inspiring to hear groups from other schools perform,” Timmy McCormack ’20 of Wheaton’s Gentlemen Callers said. “It gave me more insight into what it means to be a performer and all the nuances that go into it.”
The final round of the competition saw Wheaton’s co-ed group The Blend go against the Smiffenpoofs. Yancey used an app to determine how loud the crowd cheered for each group. Ultimately, the Smiffenpoofs won the a cappella competition.
“Art Fest was a fun and exciting way to show support for a cappella from both our schools and schools around us,” Kayleigh Kenny ’19 from The Blend said.