Chelsea’s Turner Conquers the Track Physically and Mentally in Distance Events

Chelsea’s Turner Conquers the Track Physically and Mentally in Distance Events

Chelsea’s Justin Turner is coming off of a league MVP season in Cross Country, and has been racking up wins for indoor track this winter as well. The senior captain said he loves chemistry, but hopes to working in computer programming. Here, he is shown running the two-mile at a meet last Weds., Jan 9, during a meet at Lynn Tech.

When Chelsea High track standout Justin Turner hits the last lap of a two-mile race, it isn’t so much the training or preparation, but the mental toughness to find energy that just isn’t there. He would know.

The senior captain has prevailed in most every two-mile event already in the indoor track season, and he also made a huge splash in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference (CAC) as the League MVP in cross country.

“I think the finish is more mental, probably because you know you’re so close to the finish and you want to do anything you can to get there and also hold off anyone who is exact same thing to try to catch you…At the beginning, I try to hold off the adrenaline rush for the start. It’s about getting a good pace and settling in and focusing. On the last few laps, you pull out everything you have left in order to finish – and that’s the mental part.”

Turner, 17, attended the Early Learning Center, the Berkowitz Elementary, the Wright Middle School and Chelsea High. He said he started being athletic at a young age, playing football and other youth sports, and becoming the athlete in his family.

He began cross country and track his freshman year, and has participated continuously all four years. Having been mentored by star athlete Jose LeClerc, who graduated last year, Turner said he stepped up to lead the team this year. Though he is a quiet leader, he said that he believes other team members look up to him.

Turner said he enjoys distance running because it’s a very controlled sport.

“It’s more about paying attention to what I’m doing and not getting distracted by what’s around me,” he said.

“You have to motivate yourself and if you don’t it’s hard to stay focused,” he added.

When it comes to the classroom, Turner has never had a GPA below 3.5, and he said he enjoys chemistry the most. However, he hopes to focus his attention on computer programming in the future.

He said his older sister is involved in that, and he watched her over the summer programming video games, and he felt that was something he really wanted to do.

He has applied to seven colleges so far, but said he hopes to be able to go to Suffolk University so he can try to run track and cross country there as well.

Beyond the classroom and the athletic fields, one might have seen Turner in the front row of the concert band, where he plays flute and piccolo.

He said his mom and dad, Russell and Erikka Turner, have been a support system throughout his track career not only for himself, but also the whole team.

“My mom and dad and family came to my first meet and they always come when they can,” he said. “They support me throughout my years and they support the rest of the team too. They don’t just support me, but everyone on the team.”

Turner also has three siblings, Jyllian, Teri and Kyle, and he said he has enjoyed growing up in Chelsea. “There is a stereotype out there that Chelsea isn’t the best place, but people in this community fight that stereotype and they do everything they can to make it the best city it can be,” he said.

Read More

New Senior Transportation Ready to Serve Senior Center

New Senior Transportation Ready to Serve Senior Center

Celebrating the new service were City Manager Tom Ambrosino, Councillor Roy Avellaneda, John Keegan of Door2Door by SCM, Director Tracy Nowicki and Health Agent Luis Prado.

Getting to the Chelsea Senior Center has never been so easy.

The Senior Center held a grand opening of their new shuttle service on Friday, Jan. 11, to highlight the service that loops around Chelsea and brings seniors to the Riley Way facility.

Tracy Nowicki, director of the Center, said they started the service in November.

“We really hope that people will start using it and that it will really take off,” she said.

The shuttle is operated with Door2Door by SCM, which provides the shuttle and driver.

They make five stops around the city, including:

•Admiral’s Hill

•5 Admiral’s Way

•150 Captain’s Row

•260 Clark Ave.

•14 Bloomingdale St.

•154 Pearl Street.

The service is available five days a week. For more information, call the Senior Center.

Read More

Collins Center Lays Out Roadmap for New Superintendent Search

Collins Center Lays Out Roadmap for New Superintendent Search

It’s been so long since Chelsea has sought out a new superintendent that there isn’t even a current job description.

For so many years, Boston University (BU) appointed a superintendent as it ran the public schools for decades, and when current Supt. Mary Bourque came into the role, it was long-decided that she would succeed former Supt. Tom Kingston – the last BU appointee.

Now, for the first time in 30 or 40 years, the School Committee will be tasked with finding a new leader for the public schools.

“This is all new to all of us,” said Chair Rich Maronski. “It’s even new to the School Department. They don’t even have a job description for superintendent. They have to create one now, which tells you how long it’s been.”

Bourque said the Collins Center was most recently used by the schools to hire Monica Lamboy, the business administrator who took the place of Gerry McCue. She said it was also used to hire City Manager Tom Ambrosino and former City Manager Jay Ash.

“The first couple of steps will go slowly, but from the middle of February to May it will be intense,” she said. “I can’t be involved in it then. I’ll be more of the logistics part. There is a lot of community input, but it’s a School Committee decision. Chelsea hasn’t had a search since before BU…One interesting point is we don’t have any internal candidates. In Revere, Supt. Paul Dakin was succeeded by an internal candidate, Dianne Kelly. None of our internal candidates feel they are ready to move up. Because of that, it’s going to be an outside candidate.”

Maronski, Supt. Bourque and the rest of the Committee met with the Collins Center last Thursday, Jan. 10, to go over the timelines and parameters of the upcoming search.

“It’s all structured by the Collins Center,” he said. “They are looking at the May 2 School Committee meeting for us to vote on this. That would be the first Thursday in May. I believe they will want to get it done by June because that’s a very busy month for us. I think the Collins Center is pretty good. They had all the dates worked out and structured for us. That helps.”

The notice of a job opening will go out on Feb. 8, and focus groups of teachers, staff, parents and community groups will form about the same time. They will be charged with coming up with a candidate profile that will be used by a Screening Committee to review all of the applicants.

The Screening Committee will be selected by the School Committee on March 7, and it will be made up of appointed members, including City Manager Tom Ambrosino, parents and teachers.

They will conduct private interviews of candidates in April, and they will forward a public list of finalists to the Committee around April 4. Community forums and public interviews will take place from April 22 to 25.

A contract is proposed to be signed by May 10.

Bourque said she will remain on through December 2019 so that she can mentor the new person and help transition them into the “Chelsea way.” Since it will be an outside candidate, she said that will be critical. “Chelsea has a very strong reputation and coming in with a solid transition plan with the exiting superintendent to help them is something people will like,” she said. “At the same time, it is an urban district and it is a complex district. Some people don’t like that, others do.”

Read More

110 Grill Holds Ribbon Cutting at Its New Location in Saugus

110 Grill Holds Ribbon Cutting at Its New Location in Saugus

Ryan Dion has fond memories of his days growing up in Melrose and traveling to Route 1 to enjoy a steak at the Hilltop.

“Route 1 is my old stomping ground,” said Dion, who graduated from Melrose High (Class of 1999) and UNH with a degree in Business and Hospitality. “The old Hilltop was family dinner most Saturday nights. I remember waiting two hours for seating in Sioux City, Kansas City, and Dodge City. I use to run around the old phone booths with my brothers.”

Dion is now the chief operating officer of 110 Grill, which just celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony at its newest location on Route 1 in Saugus.

The 110 Grill in Saugus is the restaurant group’s 18th location and it sits majestically on the former site of the legendary Hilltop Steakhouse. The ribbon-cutting ceremony featured the lighting of the iconic Hilltop cactus.

Asked to describe 110 Grill, Dion replied, “110 Grill is upscale, casual, American cuisine in a trendy, casual atmosphere.”

110 Grill features steaks, seafood, a variety of sandwiches, salads, and appetizers, as well as monthly rotating specials that the chefs create.

Appetizers range from $7 to $15. Entrees range from $14 to $30.

Why have the 110 Grill restaurants – now in three states (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York) proven to be so popular with diners?

“I believe it’s three things – great food, great service, and the great ambiance,” said Dion. “What I love about our concept is being upscale casual, you can come in here in a business suit and have a $32 ribeye and a bottle of Duckhorn Cabernet, or you come in shorts and sandals from the beach, sit at the bar and have a burger and a beer. Either way, you fit in.”

The restaurants seats 155 persons, with a private function room available for lunch, dinner, and cocktail receptions.

“We’re absolutely excited to get to know the local folks,” said Dion. “We have a great crew working here from Saugus, Melrose, Revere, Lynn, and other area communities.”

110 Grill appears destined to be a huge hit on the local restaurant scene.

Read More

City Manager Working on Local Regulations for AirBNB

City Manager Working on Local Regulations for AirBNB

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said this week he is preparing new City regulations that would govern the short-term rental market (known as AirBNB) in Chelsea.

That comes after Gov. Charlie Baker and the State Legislature worked out a sudden compromise at the end of the year to a bill that had been stalled since the summer. That bill was signed into law and went into effect statewide on Jan. 1. While it governs the practice, it also leaves a lot of room for cities to come up with their own regulations and to tax such entities.

Ambrosino said he hoped to have something to the Council in March.

“I’m working on them now,” he said. “I hope to have a proposal up to the Council with new regulations and requirements about the local options taxes that we want to collect. I’ve been working on some drafts and we’ll circulate those internally. We’ll have a proposal to submit in early March.”

Both houses of the state legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker found a sudden compromise at the end of December in their two-year session to push through the stalled short-term rental bill – which Gov. Baker signed into law on Friday, Dec. 28.

The bill has been a long time in the making and has been shepherded through the legislature for years by State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz of the North End, who was happy to see the compromise reached.

Short-term rentals are not a major issue at the moment in Chelsea, but there are more than a few out there. More are expected due to the proximity of the city to the airport and the Encore Boston Harbor casino.

One of the keys of the state law is that it will be obvious who operates them and where, something that is kind of a mystery now.

The new law requires a statewide registry of operators, something the governor had opposed for some time until late in the year.

It also levies a 5.7 percent state tax on all short-term rental units, and allows cities and towns to levy their own local taxes as well. In Boston, it is proposed to put an additional 6 percent on each short-term rental unit.

The trade-off with the registry for the governor seems to be a provision that allows for anyone renting out a unit for 14 days or less to avoid the taxation portion of the law. It was uncertain, but it initially did appear that those units would have to participate in the statewide registry.

Ambrosino said they would undoubtedly push to go for the maximum 6 percent local option taxes.

“We’ll definitely go for the maximum option,” he said. “We’ll look at the Boston ordinance as a model. It was well-crafted. We’ll make sure rentals are adequately inspected and safety is addressed.”

Read More

Dr. Erika Fellinger of CHA Everett Named ‘Top Doc’ for Surgery

Dr. Erika Fellinger of CHA Everett Named ‘Top Doc’ for Surgery

Between taking her kids to gymnastics and riding her bike from her Somerville home to the CHA Everett (formerly the Whidden), Dr. Erika Fellinger somehow finds time to perform just about any kind of surgery that might walk through the doors of the community hospital.

Her dedication and listening skills, many say, are notable, and it is one of many reasons she was recently named a Boston ‘Top Doc’ in the latest issue of Boston Magazine. Once a year, the magazine highlights several doctors and specialists who have gone above and beyond in the medical profession. This year, Fellinger was recognized.

“It was a surprise, and it’s an honor,” she said. “I think it speaks a lot for CHA. I love my colleagues. We have a mission driven group of physicians and I consider myself one of them. I love my patients and listening to their stories and knowing their families and the staff here. I think if that’s what gets you ‘Top Doc,’ then there needs to be more of it. That’s really what we need more of in medicine. We need people who enjoy the stories and the people. I’ve been on the other end as a patient and I know how it feels. Even if I can’t fix them, the listening I can do is critical.”

Fellinger didn’t come by way of Harvard or Boston University, like many top doctors in the area, but rather by way of the mountains and valleys of practicing community medicine in Vermont – with a few years training in Africa as a member of the Peace Corps as well.

She said the key for her has been to focus on the patients of Everett, Chelsea and Revere and really get to know them. As a general surgeon mostly conducting minimally invasive surgery, she can be doing everything from removing a gall bladder to repairing a knee to treating a gunshot wound that cannot wait.

In the midst of those procedures, she said she has always made an effort to visit with the patients – learning about them whether they are five generations in Everett or they have just arrived from any number of countries around the world.

“General surgery isn’t usually warm and fuzzy, but I feel fortunate the training I had in Vermont featured role models that listened to patients and their stories,” she said. “It helped to find out what was wrong with them. Coming down here, I realize now that was a really unique experience and I am fortunate.”

Fellinger, 50, was born in Washington, D.C., but said her “hippie” mom retreated to Maine when she was 11. As the oldest of five children, she said there wasn’t a lot of money, but there was always a lot of work to be done. She got a big break in landing a scholarship to Smith College. After college, though, this non-traditional surgeon took another non-traditional route on her way to the operating room.

“After college, I thought I wanted to go to medical school, but wanted to get experience so I joined the Peace Corps,” she said. “I ended up in Africa for four years. It was life changing. I still have friends there, and with cell phones, it’s much easier to talk to them now.”

She returned to the United States and enrolled in the University of Vermont Medical School (which is Maine’s in-state medical school). She married a Vermonter, and was a resident for 10 years up there, later completing a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Bay State Medical Center in western Massachusetts.

Some 14 years ago, she got an offer to come to the “big city,” being offered a position at the former Whidden and at Cambridge Hospital. Going back and forth between the two facilities, however, was challenging. Soon, she was able to decide between the two, and she chose Everett.

“I had a choice between Cambridge and Whidden and I chose Whidden,” she said. “I loved it. It’s a great operating staff. Everybody really cares and bends over backwards to help out. I also love the patients. My practice has grown. I see many of my patients out in Everett when I go to eat, and I’ve even seen patients while taking a steam at Dillon’s Russian Steam Bath in Chelsea.”

The hospital has changed, she said, but only for the better – as she noted everyone is now board certified and it’s much more academic. She said she often describes herself to patients as a “butts and guts surgeon” due to the fact that general surgery can entail both parts of the anatomy.

More than anything, she said she enjoys being a compassionate physician who could face just about any kind of care.

“It’s a community hospital,” she said. “I love being able to take care of anything that comes through the door.”

Fellinger is married, and has three children between the ages of 13 and 8. They make their home in Somerville.

Read More

Police Briefs 01-17-2019

Police Briefs 01-17-2019

ARMED ROBBERY OF CAR

On Dec. 31, at 10 p.m., officers were dispatched to 144 Bloomingdale St. for a report of a past armed robbery. Upon arrival, Officers spoke to the victim who stated while driving his car he was cut off by a vehicle on Bloomingdale St. He told officers that the two males exited the sedan and approached him saying that he had just struck their car.

The passengers of the suspect’s car then proceeded to rob him of his wallet and its contents. A short time later, the officers received information on the whereabouts of the suspect vehicle and stopped it. The victim was able to identify the two males in the car as the persons that robbed him. Both were taken into custody.

Rigoberto Ruiz-Cadiz, 22, of 146 Bloomingdale St.; and Efrain Alicea, 22, of 64 Addison St., were both charged with armed robbery.

NEW YEAR’S (WINDOW) BASH

On Jan. 1, at 11:30 a.m., CPD officers responded to 140 Shawmut St. for a report of an intoxicated male party that had destroyed a window to a residence. Upon arrival, a witness pointed out the male individual who caused the damage. He was placed under arrest for malicious destruction of property.

Ernesto Bonilla, 18, of East Boston, was charged with malicious destruction of property under $1,200.

TRIED TO USE A STOLEN CREDIT CARD

On Jan. 3, at 6:50 p.m., CPD officers responded to the Homewood Suites Inn for a report of a male party attempting to use a stolen credit card. At the hotel, the officers spoke with a hotel employee, who stated that the suspect just fled the hotel after he tried to pay for a room with a stolen credit card. A short time later, the same male was attempting to secure a room at the Residence Inn with another stolen credit card. He was placed under arrest.

Andy Joseph, 34, of 1 Webster Ave., was charged with unlicensed operation, possession of an open container in a motor vehicle, larceny of a credit card, and two counts of uttering/forging a credit card.

PUBLIC DRINKING

On Jan. 5, at 10:55 a.m., a CPD officer on foot was patrolling Luther Place. The officer observed a male party in the area behind 466 Broadway drinking out of a bottle of liquor. The male was placed under arrest drinking in public.

Jose Martinez, 56, of East Boston, was charged with violating the public drinking ordinance.

DA ROLLINS CHOOSES CHIEF OF STAFF

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins announced last week that Jennifer Grace Miller will be her Chief of Staff, citing Miller’s broad experience in senior government positions, including stints at two statewide law enforcement agencies.

Miller’s first day will be Feb. 1, 2019.

Miller has most recently served as Counsel to the Massachusetts Senate, where she was the chief legal counsel to 40 senators and approximately 200 staff members. Prior to joining the Senate, Miller was Chief of the Government Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. As Chief, Miller supervised roughly 100 lawyers and staff in three divisions. She previously served as the Bureau’s Deputy Chief and as an assistant attorney general in the Administrative Law Division, focusing primarily on civil appellate work. Among other high-profile litigation, Miller argued the Massachusetts buffer zone case,McCullen v. Coakley, at the United States Supreme Court.

Miller began her public service career as Senior Staff Counsel at the Supreme Judicial Court. She then served as Assistant Solicitor General in the New York Attorney General’s office.

“Jennifer Grace Miller is a smart, dedicated public servant with deep experience managing complex government institutions and sophisticated litigation,” District Attorney Rollins said. “She has worked in all three branches of government and will bring a trusted set of skills and perspective to the District Attorney’s office.”

She also serves as a Commissioner on the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission.

Police Log

Monday, 12/31

Dilcia Menjivar, 31, 39 Lawton Ave., Lynn, was arrested for intimidation.

Rigoberto Ruiz-Cadiz, 22, 146 Bloomingdale St., Chelsea, was arrested for armed robbery.

Efrain Alicea, 22, 64 Addison St., Chelsea, was arrested for armed robbery.

Tuesday, 1/1

Ernesto Bonilla, 18, 155 Lexington St., East Boston, was arrested for malicious destruction of property.

Julio Portillo, 52, Pine Street Inn, Boston, was arrested for resisting arrest and on a warrant.

Wednesday, 1/2

Yancarlos Mejia-Gonzalez, 31, 72 Upham St., Malden, was arrested for operating motor vehicle with suspended license, failing to stop for police, red light violation and immigration detainer.

Darnell Booth, 37, 560 Beach St., Revere, was arrested for probation warrant.

Carlos Ramos, 51, 27 Watts St., Chelsea, was arrested for operating motor vehicle unlicensed.

Thursday, 1 /3

John Lewis, 34, 292 Salem St., Revere, was arrested on a warrant.

Andy Joseph, 34, 1 Webster Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating motor vehicle unlicensed, possessing open container of alcohol in motor vehicle, larceny of credit card, utter forged credit card (2 counts).

Saturday, 1/5

Jose Martinez, 56, 264 Bennington St., East Boston, was arrested for ordinance violation of alcoholic beverage, marijuana/THC.

Faisal Yerow, 23, 120 Central Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for probation warrant.

Sunday, 1/6 Quincy Parker, 42, 90 Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Read More

What Would Dr. Martin Luther King Think?

What Would Dr. Martin Luther King Think?

When one considers that it has been almost 51 years since Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, it is easy to understand why so many of our fellow Americans today have so little understanding of who he was and what he accomplished.

Every school child for the past generation knows well the story of Martin Luther King. But an elementary school textbook cannot truly convey the extent to which he brought about real change in our country. To anyone under the age of 50, Martin Luther King is just another historical figure. But for those of us who can recall the 1960s, a time when racial segregation prevailed throughout half of our country and overt racism throughout the other half, Martin Luther King stands out as one of the great leaders in American history, a man whose stirring words and perseverance in his cause changed forever the historical trajectory of race relations in America, a subject that some historians refer to as the Original Sin of the American experience.

However, as much as things have changed for the better in the past 50 years in terms of racial equality in our society, it also is clear that we still have a long way to go before can say that all Americans are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, as Dr. King famously put it in his speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

It is clear that there is a movement in our country that seeks to take away many of the hard-fought gains of the past 50 years. The shootings and deaths of African-Americans while in police custody that have shocked all of us in the past few years are just the tip of the iceberg. Much more significant have been the judicial decisions that have stripped away key provisions of the voting rights act, the disproportionate treatment and incarceration of minorities for drug-related offenses, and the voter ID laws and gerrymandering in many states that, in the words of a federal court in North Carolina, attain with surgical precision the goal of preventing people of color from being fairly represented in government at all levels. “What would Dr. Martin Luther King do?” we often ask ourselves. We can’t say for sure, but we do know that he that as much as King accomplished in his lifetime, he would be the first to understand that his work for which he gave his life still is far from done — and we can only hope that his spirit and courage can continue to inspire this and future generations to bring about a world in which all persons are treated with dignity and respect.

Read More

Equitable Access:Chelsea School Leaders Demand Educational Equity for All Students at Malden Forum

Equitable Access:Chelsea School Leaders Demand Educational Equity for All Students at Malden Forum

Chelsea School Superintendent
Mary Bourque and Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino were two panelists
Tuesday night at Malden High School discussing school budget funding.

Chelsea School Superintendent Mary Bourque and Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino were two panelists Tuesday night at Malden High School during a forum calling on legislators to overhaul the state’s current educational funding model to ensure equity for all students, especially those in low-income areas.

During the state’s last legislative session a bill by State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain) would have recalculated the cost to educate each student in public school districts known as the ‘foundation budget’ and poured millions of dollars into school over the next several years.

However that bill failed and educators like Bourque are calling this mechanism the state uses to provide students with equitable access to educational opportunities ‘obsolete’ and must be revised to meet the expectations of today’s economy.

Because the state has not updated its education funding formula since 1993 to reflect districts’ real health insurance and special education costs, the amount of aid being provided to cover those costs is too small.

To compensate, many districts like Chelsea end up using money that would otherwise have supported core education programs—including Regular Ed. Teachers, Materials & Technology, and Professional Development. This also results in dramatic cuts in other areas of education.

“The time is now because we have no more time left,” said Bourque at Tuesday night’s meeting. “There will be more cuts because we don’t know where the money will come from. We cut all of our after school programs…elementary (afterschool) programs two years ago and middle school after school programs last year. It’s time to make changes to the formula and we need to make the formula work for us. It is time to save the futures of our students and open those doors to the future. We can not afford to have our students go through another year of cuts in their school system.”

The problem for low income school districts like Chelsea is there is a growing equity gap between schools in Chelsea and schools in more affluent areas of the state. When faced with such shortfalls, high-wealth districts can often draw on additional, local revenue. Lower-wealth districts like Chelsea, however, are generally unable to do so and the consequence is that they spend less on resources that are critically important to the quality of education students receive.

“I do think there a lot of school systems in a financial crisis my expectation is that if this is not addressed in this legislative session we are going to have a lot of tough decisions to make like Brockton did where they had to lay off a significant amount of teachers,” said Ambrosino. “We are living in good economic times. State revenues have been running above estimates for quite some time so it’s time for the legislature to use this good fortune and make education a priority once again and invest in education. This is not easy and requires a lot of money so I don’t envy any legislators that have to work on this but budgets are all about priorities. A budget, simply put, is a policy statement on your (the legislation’s) priorities and the legislature once again has to make education a priority. If it doesn’t there will be too many ‘have nots’ in the Commonwealth once again.”

Estimates by lawmakers to fix the budget formula could be as high as $1 billion with Gov. Charlie Baker vowing to put forth his own proposal to fix the broken system after the House and Senate couldn’t agree on a solution last year.

However, Bourque said something has to be done and done soon because Chelsea is running a $7.4 million school budget gap between what the state covers for education and what the Chelsea School District is actually spending to educate students.

“Morally obligated to meet our students needs and provide for them so they can be successful and have futures,” said Bourque. “Sometimes, as a superintendent, I feel like we’ve been living on a ‘fixed budget’ since 1993 and that fixed income is not working. The result is that we are stretched too thin.”

Read More

CHS Students Perform at Gov Baker’s Inauguration

CHS Students Perform at Gov Baker’s Inauguration

The Chelsea High School choir group, led by Co-Directors Peter Pappavasselio and Cole Lundquist,
is pictured with CHS Principal Lex Mathews and State Rep. Brad Jones before their performance
at the inauguration ceremony for Gov. Charlie Baker.

When Gov. Charlie Baker heard the Chelsea High advanced choir group Cantare perform at the Chelsea Soldiers Home Veterans Day program, he was very impressed.

Soon after Baker’s office contacted Performing Arts Lead teacher and Cantare Co-Director Peter Pappavasselio and invited the group to perform at his inauguration at the State House.

Pappavasselio accepted the invitation and on Jan. 3, 24 CHS students had the high honor of performing at the inauguration.

The students, attired in their black and white formal costume attire, performed the song, “On Winter Mountain,” in front of Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and all of the constitutional officers, state senators, state representatives, judges, and other distinguished guests in attendance.

“The song denotes winter imagery, but it ends with this feeling of peace and contentment,” said Pappavasselio, who co-directs the group with Cole Lundquist.

A former outstanding high school and college vocalist with a rich history in music production, Pappavasselio fully understands the personal and historical significance of being able to perform at the gubernatorial inauguration which is a quadrennial happening.

“It’s a once-in-a-career, if you’re lucky, performance,” said Pappavasselio.

The co-director said the group has received several accolades for its superb performance that was captured live by television cameras from the Boston stations.

Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque and Principal Lex Mathews were able to attend the inauguration and enjoy the students’ performance in person. Both administrators were understandably quite proud of the students.

“A lot of people saw it on television and it’s being shown on YouTube,” said Pappavasselio.

Next up for Cantare is the district concert on March 20 at the Williams School.

Read More