Pumpkin spice and everything nice exemplified the performances up and down Main Street at the 2013 Pumpkin Fest in Keene, N.H.

The Keene State College Dance Team kicked off Pumpkin Fest with their performance at 12:15 p.m. “I thought they did a fantastic job really,” audience member David St. Jean said.

Senior Lisa Garamella, captain of the KSC Dance Team, said she was more excited, rather than nervous for this performance. “It’s my senior year so it’s going to be sad, but it’s going to be exciting,” Garamella said.

This year, the team chose “The Great Gatsby” as their theme. Last year’s Pumpkin Fest was centered around Disney movies.

Haley Erdbrink / Equinox Staff: The KSC acapella group, "Chock Full Of Notes," performs every year at Pumpkin Fest. "When all words fail... Music Speaks," is displayed on the back of a member's CFON shirt.

Haley Erdbrink / Equinox Staff: The KSC acapella group, “Chock Full Of Notes,” performs every year at Pumpkin Fest. “When all words fail… Music Speaks,” is displayed on the back of a member’s CFON shirt.

Usually, the dance team would have to submit a request form for their performance to be placed on the pamphlet, but this year the team was put on without the form. “I think they just expect us to perform because we’ve been performing at Pumpkin Fest for a few years now,” Garamella said.

Almost half the team is new, according to Garamella, and have not experienced Pumpkin Fest before. Garamella said the team is very excited to allow their friends and family to see what they have accomplished for this year’s Pumpkin Fest. “I’m going to enjoy being able to dance there for the last time,” Garamella said.

The dance team also had a face painting table before their performance. They asked for donations to help raise money for nationals.

Chock Full Of Notes, the a capella group at KSC, performed in front of St. Bernards Church at Pumpkin Fest.

According to senior at KSC and president of the group Ben Smith, “It’s always one of our most consistent performances. CFON has performed at the event for over four years.”

According to senior Emily Reed, a member of the group, there was a lot of material to teach because the group has many new members. “It’s been a fun process this year,” Reed said about the preparation for the event. The group performed two out of the three new songs for this year.

Though the amount of rehearsals did not increase, they ran much longer while preparing for this year’s Pumpkin Fest. Smith said practice outside of the groups’ rehearsals was emphasized throughout the preparations.

CFON used to be on the pamphlet and have a set time for their performance, but for the past few years it has been random.

“A few years ago…we tried to work with the people downtown [the coordinators],” Reed said, “it was fine and it all ended well, but I think we just wanted to do our own thing and make it more impromptu and make it more informal to have like a better relationship during that performance with the audience.”

The importance of this performance is different for Reed and Smith. “It’s important to me because it signifies the complete transition to a new group,” Smith said, “We had a lot of people who have been in the group for years, they all graduated.”

Reed enjoys seeing the amount of work she does pay off and said she is sad to see her last Pumpkin Fest performance with CFON.

“It’s a bittersweet first last performance and I have a new solo and it’s a really great song, and I’m excited to perform it,” Reed said.

“Everyone just sounded unique and it was a joy to listen to them,” audience member, Dave Correll said.

Joe Tordonato, another audience member, said, “They certainly enjoy one another’s company and they seem to be having a great time. That’s really important.”

A different kind of entertainment also took storm on Main Street. The students of Shaolin Studios showed off their skills in their art. According to Sarah Commerford, program director at Shaolin Studios, and Chief Instructor Vinny Sodders, the studio focuses on the art of Kung-Fu, the dance, and Chuan-Fa, the application of Kung-Fu.

Sodders is also known as “Shifu” to the students, which is Mandarin Chinese for “teacher.”

At least one student from each age group participated in the demonstration. “It’s a good opportunity for us to be seen by not only the locals who already know us,” Commerford said, “but also people who aren’t familiar with what we do, out-of-towners, and they can look into possibly looking in their area for something similar.”

According to Sodders, the demonstration is structured in the same way a class would be. Each student stepped up to show the crowd what they have accomplished in their journey through the art form. Sodders said by performing at Pumpkin Fest, “we get to do what we do everyday and people kind of get to see what it really is rather than what they see on T.V.”

Haley Erdbrink / Equinox Staff: The KSC acapella group, "Chock Full Of Notes," performs every year at Pumpkin Fest. "When all words fail... Music Speaks," is displayed on the back of a member's CFON shirt.

According to Sodders, a part of the mission statement by the Grand Master is to “enhance and improve the quality of life around us.”

Commerford said that this will be the second year doing a demonstration performance and the sixth year being an active member in Pumpkin Fest.

Audience member Charles Stone said he enjoyed the performance. “I loved it…They did a great job!” he said.

Michael McGuirk’s son has been on the demonstration team for about three years. “It’s pretty incredible what all the kids do,” McGuirk said.

Other performances included many musicians playing all over Main Street, some scheduled and some not.

“Every year is unique,” Smith said, “every person brings something to the table.


Rebecca Marsh can be contacted at  rmarsh@keene-equinox.com

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