Tonight, we celebrate.

We celebrate the arts as a critically important, non-negotiable part of living a good life. The arts inspire, unify, broaden perspective, heal, give voice, mobilize, and bring joy, and we are so proud to share an evening of great art with you. Tonight, we also celebrate community. For more than 35 years our school has been “home” to the best young people most of us have ever known, and their legacy is not only a decades-long body of extraordinary work, but a culture that is the envy of schools across the country.

—Jason Patera, Head of School

The Academy Jazz Quintet

Featuring vocalist Meghan Krueger

“That’s Love” by Bizet/Hammerstein II

Micah Collier, bass; Adam Chlebek, piano; Korgan Robb, drums; Preston Perez, sax

 
You drift away between these sheets, letting your skin play canvas for the moon’s soft light. Its waves lap at the shores of our bedding, tossing your voice in my ears. Here in night, I collect the words you left in your wake, bobbing, aimless now, around you and I. What you’ve uttered floats amid waves, I make a pile of their debris from where you lie. So fragile are these fragments which I hold, floating in my palm like bottles at sea, and my hand cages those the waves once rolled, though some still wait in your waters’ body. But when your eyelids flutter, new waves send every word slipping from my grasp again.
— Sarah Pazen (Media Arts ‘18)
 
 

Burial

Golda Grais (Media Arts, ‘20)

The morning was gray. Trees swayed on the cliffs surrounding the beach, skinny and malnourished. Their needles were frosted, branches gnarled, and points reaching high into the sky. Air, on the brink of winter and bitter with salt from the sea, sliced into our skin like ice cold knives. The coarse sand swirled lazily, brushing up against our heels. The ocean was silent, but no less turbulent as waves capped in gray foam crashed against the shores, lapping up to the tips of our feet.

We stood, shrouded in black ceremonial hoods. Each man was the same under the veil of cloth, their faces faded behind deep shadows. The thick fabric wavered softly in the wind, which lifted the cloaks to nip bitterly at our ankles. My skin prickled with every gust of wind.

Heulwen, my older sister, lay stiffly positioned within her coffin, which was whittled from dark wood, carved with leafy vines, illustrious, fruit bearing branches, and thorny roses, and lined in sumptuous velvet stained in tears. My father and the village leaders carried it mounted on their shoulders, emotionless, the muscles in their arms straining as they hoisted it along. They carefully lifted it above their heads and placed in on the damp, stony sand. My sister lay for all to see; cold, sullen, and lifeless. Looking down at her was like meeting a stranger.

I longed for Heulwen’s former vibrancy. I tried in vain to scrap together the remnants of my memories shared with her, of how her green eyes sparkled even at night and that her sparkling laugh could be heard from the other side of the village. That she was free like a sprite, well liked by all, and shone like the sun at the peak of morning. She seemed so unlike herself now, dressed in a simple white shift instead of her colorful pinafores, her hair intricately braided in coils against her scalp instead of flowing down her back. The village elders began their prayers as they placed rocks into the casket. Their words jumbled in my ears, and I played with the fabric of my cloak. A drying, fiery sensation spread up my throat and my eyes dampened. I looked at my father, and his face was stoic. The muscles in his neck and face were strained. First he had lost his wife, and now his eldest daughter. He would have to wait for me to come of age before he could join our family’s bloodline with another’s.

When the chanting voices faded and the prayers ended, we had to give our gifts to Heulwen. Father went first, placing my mother’s small silver ring into her coffin. Next was my younger brother, who put in a small bundle of barley and rigid white gull feathers. Then it was my turn. I slowly crept towards the coffin and looked down at Heulwen. She looked asleep, her long eyelashes fluttering gently against her cheeks. The flush and welts of disease were gone from her skin, now covered in a thin veil of white powder. Her cheeks and lips were stained with fruit pulp to bring the color back to them, the edges of her mouth pulled down slightly. The rocks surrounded her, pinning the rough fabric of her shift against her thighs. The wind played with my hood, brushing it back farther from my hairline, letting small pieces of blonde hair dance around my face. I placed my gift, a pine bough bundled with wildflowers, onto her chest.

Suddenly, I saw her eyelids flutter. I stumbled back into my father’s arms. When I whispered to him what I had seen, he held me, telling me that Heulwen was at rest. I released, crying into his chest, the fabric of his cloak soaking up my tears. I missed Heulwen. I wanted her to smile, to dance with me when it stormed. I wanted my older sister to hold me when I didn’t know what to say, to pick wildflowers with me, to prepare the night’s roast just the way I liked. And now she was lifeless, cold and foreign in the casket.

A village leader came forth with the lid to her coffin, solemn and stern. My father’s voice lead the burial chant, the same song he had sung for his wife years ago. My younger brother’s voice joined in, wavering. My lips moved along, but I was unable to bring sound from them. The noise ripped into my skull, and I buried myself into my hood, trembling. The lid was placed on the coffin. The elders came to the edges of the coffin with their mallets and stakes. They pounded the stakes into the corners, sealing Heulwen inside the wooden box. They hammered in unison, each strike sending a chill up my spine. The elders retreated, and the coffin lied on the sand, the waves lapping at its base. My father, my younger brother, and I approached it. I ran my fingers over the intricate carvings of leaves and flowers on the lid of the box.

I heard a muffled noise from within the casket. It was Heulwen’s voice, the same voice that had sung me to sleep when the howling wolves were too much for me to bear, the voice that had scolded me when I broke a piece of pottery. I stifled my scream and looked in panic at my father, whose eyes were trained on a gull, soaring majestically over the trees, letting out a lonesome, suppressed call. The waves crashed onto the shores more bitterly than before.

The sealed casket was hoisted again onto the shoulders of the leaders and my father. They struggled with the added weight and began to wade into the thrashing sea, their steps heavy and slow. My younger brother and I followed a few paces behind. The frosty water began to work its way up my cloak, freezing my hips. My toes gripped into the spongy ocean floor, my teeth chattering.

The casket carriers were chest deep in the water as they approached the abyss that dropped off a short distance from the shoreline. They struggled to lift the box above their heads as the water pushed into them, coating their lips in salt. They heaved the coffin over the edge of the abyss, sending Heulwen deep into the depths of the sea. I cried out and surged forward, breaking free of my father’s grasp and struggling through the crashing waves. The hammering in my head drowned me in noise as I dove down after the casket, after Heulwen. The last thing I heard before the silence was my father screaming my name and the thundering waves.

The water filled my ears as I pushed down into it. It was silent, eerie, the water a murky green beneath the surface. The salt flooded my eyes as I continued, stinging them. My head and heart were pounding in tandem, heaving against the suffocating loss of air. My hand touched something hard and smooth. I opened my eyes and saw the casket before me, glimmering. I reached out to touch it again, my fingers grazing the carvings. I felt a fiery sensation in my chest, and black spots creeped along in the water in front of me.

Then, the wood shattered beneath my fingertips, sending splinters hurling in all directions. Heulwen rose in front of me. Her shift floated through the water, her hair fell from its braids and clouded about her face. She was celestial against the gray of the sea, a stream of light from the surface illuminating her. She held my bouquet in her hands, the petals dancing through the water. I gasped, water clogging my throat. “Rhiannon.”

Her image began to fog at the edges. I reached out for her. The eagle feathers my younger brother had given her swirled about and formed wings on her back, sending her floating up to the surface while I sank into the murky depths. She was out of my reach before I could touch her, and my vision muddled to black.

Narrator: Ella Spencer
Tilly: Ali Kane & Caitlin Morley
Agnes: Gabby Barone
Lilith: Piper Kilman
Kaliope: Erika Bautista
Orcus: Jacob Flores
Chuck: Ja’na Baylor
Farrah: Grania McKirdie
Ensemble: August Bergh, Mark Cristofanilli, Anna Fry, Ivan Jaramillo, Nora McKirdie

Directed and Designed by Ben Dicke
Violence Designer: Orion Couling
Production Manager: Buck Blue
Costume Designer: Sasha Hildebrand
Assistant Director: Izzy Chern

Stage Manager: Ceridwyn Quaintance 

Synopsis: A comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, She Kills Monsters tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly's Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly's refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and 90s pop culture, acclaimed young playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.

Visual Arts

I paint for myself in part because I am the most accessible subject in the moment of inspiration. I am interested in the idea of painting myself as a subject, in a purely physical and objective way, as opposed to the inward view I have of my own persona.

I often focus on ideas of female identity in my art by bringing attention to the feminine form without objectification, and often seek inspiration in a long history of female painters.
— OIivia Mulholland, Visual Arts '18
 

Mayor Emanuel Proclaims February 16 

“Tim Tynan Day"

All of us, the arts and academic faculty, the performers we have just watched, the parents who support us, and the alums have joined us tonight—each one of us is responsible for sustaining the life of that legacy. Each one of us, in no small and insignificant way, has contributed to a kind of collective memory of the Academy experience. And I am proud and grateful to be among the team of teachers, administrators, parents, and, of course, students who mold and pass that legacy along to the next cohort of Academy members.
— Tim Tynan

Tim Tynan has taught history at The Academy since Fall of 2000. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and English Literature from Loyola University of Chicago, as well as a Master of Arts in English Literature and an Illinois teaching certificate in Secondary Education from Northeastern Illinois University.

Over the years Tynan has touched the lives of many hundreds of Academy students through AP European History, American History, and the perenially popular elective Modern American History through Film, in addition to being a constant presence and resource for students around the school.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Tynan worked as a freelance writer for The River Clipper, a free bi-monthly publication that was distributed in Chicago’s riverfront area. He also worked as a licensed real estate agent and property manager. His career as an educator began at Lane Technical High School in 1994. From 1996 to 2000, Tynan taught college composition and research writing at Truman College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, where he also served as an ESL instructor in the college’s Adult Language Skills Program and a writing tutor in its Writing Across the Curriculum program. In addition to teaching at The Academy, Tynan regularly leads several movie discussion groups in the northern suburbs of Chicago. 

La Planète

Animation from Jackie Tang (Media Arts, Class of 2017) from the Media Arts Fall Show "Reversal."

 

Dance

Swan Lake Pas de Trois
excerpt from Act I

Choreography by Marius Petipa
Re-staged by Patrick Simoniello
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Costumes courtesy of Ruth Page Center; alterations by Alex Gordon Special Coaching by Harriet Ross

Dancers: Evan Boersma, Morgan Clune, and Lillian Yokom 


Time After Time

Choreography by Randy Duncan
Music by Cyndi Lauper
Costumes by Sasha Hildebrand
Special Coaching by Harriet Ross

Dancers: Isabel Ball, Sasha Bass-Ulmer, Kassi Bates, Evan Boersma, Morgan Clune, Selina Costabile, Isaiah Day, Giselle Diaz, Amari Frazier, Avery Glunt, Colin Heino, India Hobbs, Francesca Iori, Zachary Jeppsen, Chloe Ricke, Isabella Ricke, Gianna Rotkvich, Simon Schuh, Ariana Sugay, Angela Valdivieso, Lillian Yokom