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Don't Stop Me Now: Advanced Rock On 2023

Thursday, May 4—With a setlist spanning genres and decades, the annual Advanced Rock On concert brought a burst of sonic energy into the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Theater on Thursday morning. 

The show kicked off with a funky original drum solo by Talya Le ’24, who was center stage at a maple wood drum kit flanked on both sides by the other musicians. Le hyped up the audience with her solo and at one point confidently tossed her drum stick in the air and hit her note without missing a beat. 

The drum solo segued into the upbeat and fun “Better than Revenge” by Taylor Swift. Niko Matsuzaka ’24, and Katina Handrinos ’25, instantaneously dissolved any rainy day feelings with powerful vocals as students cheered and the band bopped to the beats of the catchy pop song. 

Taking the tempo down a bit and back a few decades from Swift, Handrinos commanded the stage with the 1980s hair metal power ballad “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue. Accompanied on vocals by Aimy Huynh ’24, the two stood shoulder to shoulder and hummed the final refrain of the song and hugged tightly basking in what was likely many hours of rehearsal and prep for the show. 

The next song, which began a capella, was “Do Re Mi” by girl-group Trousdale. Student-choir Illumina joined the band for this song. 

“Fun fact: this song has three harmonies and we hope you can hear all of them,” said Huynh. 
As the students harmonized together on the stage, the lyrics “life is too short to sing it on your own” seemed very apropos for the occasion as performing arts students spanned the length of stage and harmonized together. 

Prudence Sullivan ’24, put down her guitar, grabbed the mic, and took us back to the early aughts with the radio favorite “Yellow” by Coldplay. The familiar beginning notes inspired immediate cheers from the theater. As has become standard at arena rock shows, students lifted their cell phone lights and waved them inside the dark theater giving Thursday Assembly a true concert vibe. 

One would have thought they were listening to the radio when the band took on Matchbox 20 and Santana’s hit “Smooth.” Doing her third guitar solo of the show, Mina Feldman ’25, did plenty of justice to guitar-great Santana’s signature sound. 

The circa-1978 song “Don’t Stop Me Now” by British rockers Queen brought everyone to their feet for a sing-a-long finale with plenty of dancing. 

Always a collaborative effort, Performing Arts Faculty Andres Puigbo, his Theater Design course, alum Nazira Calhoun ’20, and students Katherine Danik ’25, Sam Freifeld ’26, Jeremiah Hickman-Maynard, ’23, and Jessica Wu—brought the show to life by designing and running lights and sound. Students are excited to be working with Nazira, a young Winsor alum, who is back on campus as Mr. Puigbo’s tech assistant for the semester.

“Just a little more screaming and yelling for them please,” Winsor Head of School and O’Donnell Family Chair Sarah Pelmas said as she took the stage to thank the students for a rousing performance. There was little debate when Pelmas asked the crowd which song was going to stick with the students all day. 

“Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time,” sung members of the audience. 

Congratulations to all the musicians and vocalists! 

Mina Feldman ’25, electric guitar 
Sam Freifeld ’26, bass guitar
Katina Handrinos ’25, vocals, congas, and piano
Aimy Huynh ’24, vocals and electric guitar
Talya Le ’24, drum kit
Niko Matsuzaka ’24, vocals, piano, and tambourine
Beatrix Picotte ’24, bass guitar
Sofie Robinson ’24, piano, synthesizer, and electric guitar
Kenna Schneider ’25, electric and acoustic guitar
Prudence Sullivan ’24, electric guitar and vocals
Felicia Brady-Lopez, director

Illumina under the direction of Andrew Marshall
Charlotte Holmes ’26, alto saxophone