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Alumni and Student Musicians Make History Together

Alumni and Student Musicians Make History Together

The name of Canterbury’s annual spring rock concert—Past & Present—was especially appropriate this year as our alumni and student performers collaborated to bring a history of rock and pop music to the Maguire Auditorium stage.

Following a guitar solo by Patrick Toon ’25 to open the show, the Honors Contemporary Music Group, Rock Band, and visiting alumni led the audience on a musical tour through the past seven decades, beginning with the 1960s all the way to today. The range of songs was truly impressive, from jazz standard Autumn Leaves to the rocking Carry On Wayward Son to Michael Jackson’s pop hit Beat It to Shallow from 2018’s A Star is Born soundtrack…and many more.

The lineup of returning alumni was just as impressive:
Nick Cabrera ’09—guitar, vocals 
Paul Deedon ’09—bass 
Matt DeGennaro ’04—guitar 
Xavier Leone ’23—alto sax, bass
Roman Massi ’05—bass 
Cam Napier ’17—bass 
David Stukshis ’05—guitar

The concert also featured outstanding original songs written by current students—three by Asher Hughes ’24, one by Morgan Lau ’24, and another by Kate McDonough ’24. Bringing their art to life on stage was an absolute thrill for the songwriters, said Morgan. 

“It was amazing to work with the alumni, practicing our setlists and the songs we wrote,” she shared. “They were all so supportive and excited to hear them, and I enjoyed the chance to play our original music.”

For Director of Music David Overthrow, that alumni-student interaction never gets old. “The most fulfilling part of our yearly Past & Present concert is more than just the high-caliber music it showcases. It is about witnessing our music alumni marvel at the increasing number of students and the elevated level of musicianship, all while reflecting on how the Canterbury Music Department shaped their lives both during their time here and beyond,” Dave said. “The camaraderie, mutual respect, and shared love for music between current students and alumni create an unforgettable experience for everyone involved."

It was certainly memorable for Xavier, who returned to campus to play in the concert less than a year after graduating. “Being the youngest of the alumni to attend felt surreal. In a way, it was like I had never left, playing with the band I had been a part of just last year,” Xavier said. “I now understand why so many of the familiar faces come back year after year. It is for the love of music as well as for Mr. Overthrow and the opportunities he provided us. I know I will continue to return.”

Getting those alumni on the same page with students to perform on stage together is no small feat. It takes a tremendous amount of work and planning. “The concert required monumental time and effort on the part of Mr. Overthrow, the lighting crew, alumni, and the bands. We met with the graduates on three occasions, practicing for a total of five hours each time,” said Eliza Agredano ’24, a lead singer in the Rock Band. “We were lucky enough to get advice from past alumni who have years of experience in the music industry—and we had the honor of playing alongside them! The band and I have grown so much as performers as a result.”

And, like Xavier, Eliza is set to do it all over again even after she graduates. “I look forward to returning as an alumna next year,” she said.

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