By Jeanette Waugh
Recently TMHS music teacher and TMHS Theater Company director Celeste Pellegrino brought the 2022 Fidelity Investments Young Artist Competition to the attention of two of her students, Gabriella Navarrete and Vanessa Waugh, and encouraged them to enter the contest. With Pellegrino’s advice and musical accompaniment, the girls recorded individual songs and sent their video submissions in on March 30.
The Fidelity Investments Young Artists Competition at the Boston Pops is a way for talented high school instrumentalists and vocalists performing music of any genre to have a chance to be selected to perform at a spring Boston Pops concert. The top four winning artists get the opportunity to work with world-class musicians from the Boston Pops and receive one-on-one coaching with Maestro Keith Lockhart in preparation for their performances.
Two weeks later, both girls got incredible news! They were each, individually, selected and would be two of the 20 finalists. The next step: A live audition at Boston’s historic Symphony Hall on April 12. To help them prepare, Pellegrino secured practice space at her alma mater, New England Conservatory, and time with professor Miles Fellenberg.
The audition was an incredible two hours at Symphony Hall. The students got a commemorative tee-shirt, a certificate signed by Keith Lockhart and a chance to compete on the main stage against some of the best student performers in Massachusetts. Fellenberg accompanied both singers in the closed audition as they sang their hearts out for the BSO and Fidelity Investment judges.
After performing, they were photographed and interviewed. When the judges heard “Tewksbury High School” for the second time, one remarked,“Obviously great things are happening at Tewksbury High!”
Waugh performed “Vanilla Ice Cream” by Sheldon Harnick, while Navarrete sang “No One Else” by Dave Malloy. The finalists were notified on Friday, April 15, and unfortunately Vanessa and Gabby did not make it to the Final 4. Symphony Hall will have to wait, but you can still see both girls bring their best on stage in “Mamma Mia!” at Tewksbury High School next week. Gabby and Vanessa have two of the lead roles, as Sophie and Donna, in this fun and fabulous show.
Pictured left to right: NEC Professor Miles Fellenberg, TMHS teacher Celeste Pellegrino, TMHS seniors Gabby Navarrete and Vanessa Waugh.
Residents can buy tickets now for the TMHS Theater Company’s production of Mamma Mia, running April 28 through 30.