Artist of the Issue: Alex Folts

Folts 1-Ibante SmallwoodAs both a music prefect and a drama prefect, Alex Folts undoubtedly makes a large contribution to the arts at Groton this year. A talented musician, Alex has been playing the guitar since fourth grade, when he fostered an interest for the guitar after seeing his history teacher play. Alex has also been singing since he joined his middle school choir. He says that by coming to Groton, he was able to invest more time into his playing and singing.

Alex joined the choir in the fourth form and was “just using it as an excuse to sing more.” He had not expected it to have such an impact on him or to have developed so much as a musician, which he did with the help of Mr. Hampson. Alex was especially impacted by the choir trip last spring to the United Kingdom, where he made many friends that he “never thought [he] would have made” and had a “musically eye-opening experience.” Seeing the enthusiasm exhibited by the members of the churches and cathedrals, he says, moved him and gave him “an entirely different appreciation for music.” In his own time, Alex likes to play all kinds of music, from Rob Thomas to Arlo Guthrie to Black Eyed Peas, and he especially likes to challenge himself when he accompanies his singing with the guitar.

Last year, Alex Folts and Turner Banwell started the tradition of Open Mic, which turned out to be a huge success. They noticed the growing interest for playing postludes and decided to give students a chance to perform whatever they like in front of an audience. Open Mics are traditionally held on some Friday evenings, and Alex is usually by the sound board while Turner hosts the show.

Despite his significant presence in music and drama as both a Music Prefect and Drama Prefect, his experience in the two areas are very different. Before the fall term of his Fifth Form year, Alex had never gone near the acting stage. He tried out for The Crucible simply because he could not play Thirds Soccer and knew that he did not suffer from stage fright. He loved the experience, and ever since, Alex has been involved in the theater every term. His past roles have included Giles Corey in The Crucible, Mr. McQueen in Urinetown, and Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet. He was also the music editor, cinematographer, and cameraman for the student movie last spring and is currently the production stage manager for Hairspray.

While theatrical productions all require big actions and understanding of one’s character, Alex feels that musicals are completely different from plays. He says that “the music allows [one’s] character to go that extra step towards the audience” and feels that “musicals intensify the message of [one’s] character.” When he was first given the position as production stage manager this term, Alex claims to have been a little tentative. Though he had originally expected to sing and dance onstage for the show, he realized that he was given a tremendous opportunity to learn as an actor. He says, “It’s one thing to be aware of yourself onstage and to adjust your acting to fit your character; it’s an entirely different thing to watch other people act and think about how they fit together with the rest of the characters onstage.” Alex is eager to see the other side of the stage and cannot wait to see what else he will learn from the process.

Alex certainly wants music and drama to be a part of his life forever, but he is unsure of exactly how he will pursue them in the future. Interestingly enough, Alex notices that music and drama are important parts of his life even when he is not singing or performing; he likes to listen to music and watch movies in his spare time, and he finds himself watching television shows more as a playwright and director than a viewer. This term, Alex has been further engaging in his interests by taking Playwriting, Public Speaking, and of course being a member of the choir and Chamber Choir. He especially likes Playwriting, in which he is writing 10-minute plays, and is captivated by all of the different ways he can put on a play in just ten minutes. Right now, he is most looking forward to the upcoming production of the winter musical, Hairspray.

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