Colors of Homer has provided a safe space for teens to express their creativity for the last four years, and this year it also aimed to give back to the Homer High School art program. The bi-annual event acts as a variety-show-meets-open-mic-night for students to sing, recite poetry, show artwork, or show-off other talents.
“The basic premise of it is it give teenagers the ability to express themselves and be really creative. There are five tenets that are the main principals of it … creativity, passion, supportive, safe place for mistakes, and collaborative,” said Homer High School teacher Alayne Tetor. “Anything goes.”
Student organizers collected clothing donations from their peers and community members to create a thrift store where they sold dresses, pants, shirts, skirts, shoes and accessories for a few dollars. The thrift store raised $250 at the Saturday, April 16 event.
“We wanted to do it before prom initially so we could do old prom dresses, but time and everything got overwhelming so we decided to do this and thought a fashion show would be fun, just something different,” said senior Casey Marsh. “For all the other events we’ve just done a sign up and everyone sits and watches and then it’s over. So now we’re going to kind of mix it up a little bit.”
The thrift store reflected the event’s theme, “Spring Cleaning,” as many students emptied their closets of unwanted clothing. Throughout the night, students modeled a variety of outfits in a runway fashion, emceed by Marsh and fellow senior Lindsey Schneider. The fashion show ran throughout the night in parts in between the other performances.
Though some students practice acts for weeks prior to the event, some students may be inspired to create something the night before or the day of the event. Colors of Homer allows students to sign-up to perform up to the day of the event.
“It doesn’t have to be that perfectly polished thing. It’s OK if it’s not perfect yet. It’s really grassroots-y and … very coffee-shop-y,” Tetor said.
The event started after a series of negative incidents took place in the community, prompting a need for more positive outlets for teens, Tetor said. The event empowers students, especially those who may not fit into a particular sports team or club.
“They can take risks in a safe place here through their creativity and just to really support each other in all of their differences and being quirky, and being fun, and supporting each other even when they make mistakes,” Tetor said.
Sophomore Chloe Pleznac started off the night with an original poem titled “Of Dreams and Ghosts,” which she said she wrote in the car shortly before the event. Pleznac’s act was followed by junior Emily Coble, who sang “Wait for It,” a song from the new hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” accompanied by junior Maya Jones. Maya also performed with her sister Ciara twice — singing Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” and Bad Lip Reading’s “Bushes of Love.” The latter song is from a popular YouTube channel and tells the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi warning a young Luke Skywalker about love via nonsensical lyrics. Ciara, who is a freshman, also performed a solo song: “Broadripple is Burning” by Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s.
Senior Tara Hueper and her friend Celeste Thompson sang “Fly Me to the Moon,” the Bart Howard song popularized by Frank Sinatra, and Canadian pop singer-songwriter’s hit “Here.” Senior Breanna Smith performed a flag twirling routine, eliciting looks of amazement from the audience and emcees.
Near the end of the night, sophomore Ella Parks belted out Adele’s “Hiding my Heart” while accompanying herself on piano and freshman Angelo Amarello and sophomore Rachel Seneff played the guitar and ukulele, respectively, while singing Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang.”
Students also screened videos and original music during the second half of the evening. Junior Uliana Reutov showed a video of her making ceramic pottery set to pop singer Adam Lambert’s “Ghost Town.”
The TeenDrive365 safe driving video that Homer seniors Liam Somers, Lyndsay Brown and Johann Kallelid created to illustrate the dangers of distracted driving was shown first. The Homer teens’ video was chosen as one of the top 10 entries from across the country. (See related story, page 6.)
Schneider played a trailer she made with friends over winter break for the young adult book series “The Raven Cycle” by author Maggie Stiefvater. She shot the film around town with help from Pleznac, Hueper, Tetor, senior Sergius Hannan, sophomore Landon Bunting, and juniors Rowyn Cunningham, Patrick Hannan, Remi Nagle and Nathan Simpson.
“It’s like the most fandom-y thing I’ve ever done,” Schneider said. “It’s this supernatural story about this crew of prep school kids and this hippie girl and they go out and treasure hunt in the mountains together. … We shot that on a couple of DSLRs over winter break and I edited it, poorly, my first time doing that. It was really fun … We’re hoping it gets to the author eventually, but I’m too nervous to send it directly to her.”
Senior Tyeler Cooper-Day debuted music from his first album “Sea Beyond the Stars,” which can be heard on the music-streaming site SoundCloud. Students got up from the crowd and danced as Cooper-Day’s music played at the event.
“I produce on the computer. It takes some skill and really putting yourself into it to be able to proficiently do something,” Cooper-Day said. “It’s electronic music or ambiance music … whatever it is (called), I like it.”
Anna Frost can be reached at email@example.com.