By Brian Umbarger/ Correspondent
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Date Posted: 03/24/05 4:50:38pm
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Mr. CHS pageant contests, from left, Joe Constantine, Greg Khirallah and Ben Walworth get their groove on in the opening number of Friday night's pageant. Walworth won the title. (Staff photo by Holly Schmidt)
Dolled up in makeup and wearing long evening gowns, students at Chelmsford High School sang, danced, performed unique talents and answered tough questions Friday night all in an attempt to be crowned winner of the school's annual beauty pageant.
Any student could participate as long as they were a senior and, here is the catch, male.
The "Mr. CHS" pageant held at McCarthy Middle School's auditorium featured 19 enthusiastic performers in front of a sold out crowd of 600 plus students, parents, and teachers.
"This is the big event you have been waiting for," said CHS teacher Bev Tucker.
Tucker then introduced officers from DECA, the marketing club that sponsors the annual pageant.
DECA Treasurer Krista Kolley and Vice President Ryan Donaher then introduced while poking fun at this year's slate of teacher judges - Michlyn Queenan, Josh Blagg, Michael Marshall, Debora Haywood, Kathryn Sullivan, Maura Devaney, Andrew Ames and Scott Robillard.
Once the formalities ended, the contests streamed out on stage for the first judged event of the evening - a choreographed dance number. Some of the contests opted to wear white tuxedos, while others decided to don more traditional pageant wear including high heels, dresses and wigs.
Next, every contestant along with a female escort was introduced as they walked down the auditorium aisle to the music of their choice. After reaching the stage, they each added their own little twist to their introduction.
Some noteworthy introductions included Senior Class President James Richard walking in to the song "Hail To The Chief" accompanied by his date and two friends dressed as secret service agents.
Arguably one of the crowd's favorite introductions of the night was when Garett Valcourt's strolled in carrying his little sister on his shoulders.
During the next portion, the performers had a few quick minutes to show off their talents.
The first contestant, Michael Flowers dressed in a colorful French revolution noble costume danced an original routine along with seven female students.
Eric Zawada performed the next act when he sang Barry White's classic hit "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby." While wearing an afro wig and a fat suit, Zawada worked the crowd by pulling girls in the auditorium out of their seats and dancing with them. By the end of the song, he was dancing with more than a dozen girls.
Thomas Buckley made the crowd laugh when he "rocked out" on his guitar, and told the audience not to forget "their daily rock sandwich" and to "follow your heart in everything you do."
Later, William "Buzz" Busby wearing a traditional ballerina costume complete with a large tutu danced a ballet routine to classical and Irish music. The crowd giggled feverishly when the not so graceful dance was capped off with the "Hamster Song."
There were also multiple stand-up comedy bits during the night.
Scott Kurland made remarks up about his family life and, his self-described, weird relationship with his parents. He made the crowd giggle when he said the reason he was named Scott was because that is his parent's favorite brand of toilet paper.
The crowd's favorite stand up shtick, however, appeared to be Chris McClure's. He cracked the audience up about the bathrooms at Chelmsford High School, and the smoking students that inhabit them. A widespread belief held by the audience was that McClure, who was not chosen as one of the final five contestants, "was too funny not to be chosen. He definitely deserved to be up there at the end," said senior John Callahan.
The last performer of the talent portion of the contest was cowboy hat wearing Ben Walworth who sang Eric Clapton's "Layla." With a friend playing the guitar for him, Walworth waltzed up and down the aisles working the crowd.
Senior Robby Normandin said, "It was incredible how much his voice sounded like the real thing."
After the talent section, the contestants had a brief minute to impersonate a thing or person. Some exceptionally memorable ones were Matt Sousa's impersonation of his English teacher Mr. Bartos, Josh Wiebley's sprinkler system, Joe Constantine's bagpipes, and Greg Wellman's impersonation of a sack of potatoes.
Other contestants included Jesse Alling, Cody Balestrieri, Greg Khirallah, Peter Francis, Robbie Russo and Mike Sullivan.
After another dance number by the contestants and the Dance Team, the audience held their breath as the final five contestants were announced.
The judges decided that James Richard, William Busby, Ben Walworth, Tom Buckley, and Garett Valcourt were the strongest performers in all the events of the night.
The finalists were then asked to respond to the questions posed to them.
When asked what his most memorable high school experience was, Garett Valcourt responded, "...definitely this. We were all talking back stage about how much nobody cares if they win this. Everyone just came out to have a good time."
After the question section was over, the judges gathered to tally the votes. After a few minutes of deliberating, the emcees declared that James Richard came in third place, William Busby in second, and the 2005 Mr. CHS is Ben Walworth.
After being cheered on by the crowd, and repeatedly congratulated, Walworth with a big grin on his face said backstage, "I won it you know, but I really don't care that much. It's a really good feeling to win, but everyone put so much effort into this, that everyone deserved to win Mr. CHS."
Over hearing this, Eric Zawada jovially piped in, "This kid deserved it. He got out there and sang his heart out. I cried in joy when he was performing."
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