Students to perform with ‘Voice’ winner
DARIEN — It was during a community theater production of “The Wizard of Oz” where Chris Andrade and Javier Colon first bonded over music.
Andrade, now a music teacher at Darien High School, and Colon, who won season one in 2011 of the reality singing competition “The Voice,” were students at Frank Scott Bunnell High School in Stratford. They were also both in the chorus of the show, with Andrade playing the Munchkin coroner and Colon playing a flower.
The two began singing together while they were bored backstage, one day breaking out into a rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” while bored backstage. The director banished them to the kitchen of the church basement, where they were rehearsing, and Colon brought his guitar. Along with a third cast member, they began jamming, eventually forming an a capella group that performed doo-wop and songs from Boyz II Men around Stratford.
“We were all very awkward teenagers,” Colon said. “We were all very different and from all walks of life, but we came together to put this group together. We performed locally around school and town and we had a blast. That’s (a) way music can bring people together from all walks.”
It’s this love of music and its power to reunite people leading Colon and Andrade to have a high school reunion of sorts on Feb. 23 at the Pacific House Close to Home Dessert Tasting and Youth Concert. The event will help raise funds for the Stamford-based group and its efforts to end homelessness in young adults.
The Darien High School Tudor Singers, which Andrade directs, will perform three numbers at the event, including one with Colon, a secret song from a popular Broadway musical.
Junior Ava Ganser, 16, will sing a solo in the Broadway number, her first one since joining the Tudor Singers as a sophomore.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “This is the first time I ever auditioned for a solo. … I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m excited to do it with (Colon) because he has so much talent.”
In addition to looking forward to performing with Colon, the singers are excited to be contributing to a good cause for the second year in a row. The students performed at last year’s benefit as well.
“It’s really effective, especially in a community like Darien,” said Charlotte Campbell, 16, a junior in the group. “It’s impactful to experience and be a part of something we probably wouldn’t be able to know about otherwise.”
On the flip side, Campbell’s fellow Tudor Singer, Myles Peeke, a 16-year-old sophomore, feels the event will highlight an issue that is prominent in Darien’s neighboring cities.
“I think it’s really good,” Peeke said. “I feel it’s more close to home. We’re helping people we could see walking next to us on the street.”
Including the Tudor Singers, about 80 high school students will perform at the Stamford event, which will also feature dessert for its attendees. Bringing together students and visitors for a good cause using music is something Colon feels is particularly meaningful for all involved.
“I’m very blessed to be able to be doing music for a living,” he said. “Chris and I both had a dream of doing music in high school. We took different roads, but we’re both doing what we love. It’s very special and I’m very thankful to be able to say that and be able to use our talents to help an organization like the Pacific House. Music is very healing and brings people together and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to bring people together from the area for this cause.”
Pacific House benefit
The 10th Pacific House Close to Home Dessert Tasting and Youth Concert will take place Feb. 23 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.
Tickets begin at $50, and may be purchased by visiting pacifichouse.org/CloseToHome