Every year, winter and spring Koch Friday Concerts (KFC) invite Deerfield students to showcase their hidden talents, sing along with friends, and enjoy music-filled Saturday nights. After discovering the potential for a student-run show, Visual and Performing Arts Teacher Mr. David Dickinson founded KFC in 2004 to showcase hidden talent.
Mr. Dickinson explained that he believes the event allows students to contribute to the community by performing for each other. KFC was not initially intended to be a “big event” on campus. He explained, “It was supposed to be a small Friday night event. In 2007 it didn’t fly, because it’s hard to get into the calendar at this school. Since Friday nights were so heavily booked, it was moved to Saturday nights.”
In the spring of 2008, KFC was a hit. Mr. Dickinson noted that the entire community went crazy over it, especially the homemade banner, which is still used today, and nearly twenty acts performed.
In 2011, a few members of the Board of Trustees who witnessed this lively social gathering were taken back by the large level of talent and asked twelve acts to perform for the 1797 in New York at the Broad Street Ball Room. Mr. Dickinson had three words to share: “It was phenomenal.”
Despite the fancy ballroom, lights, and stage, Mr. Dickinson’s favorite part of KFC is the hidden talents that come out. He stated, “I love it when I see a student who comes out of the shadows, and everyone is blown away at their abilities. I love seeing kids from all different backgrounds come together in a band to make music. It all gels, and that’s the beauty of KFC.”
Throughout the years, students of all backgrounds have been able to pursue their passions.
KFC veteran Kate Hadley ’17 has developed special stories of personal growth with each KFC performance. Hadley reflected that, being a shy 9th and 10th grader, she did not perform at KFC until the winter of her junior year, when she took the stage with Henry Conlon ’16. She recalled, “We made a mash up ourselves. It was one of the first times that I got up in front of the whole school and did something I really wanted to do. It was awesome.” Hadley’s favorite part of KFC is the enthusiasm: cheering, seeing people’s reactions, and dancing. She stated, “It’s fun doing what you love in front of the people you love.”
Talha Tariq ’17 shared his own story of learning how to become a performer since his first KFC in his 9th grade year. He recalled, “In my mind, that was a professional concert.” As the years have gone by, KFC has transformed from being a nerve-wracking performance to being the most important and enjoyable concert that he plays all year. To show an example of his growth, Tariq stated, “I don’t get nervous anymore. Now I get excited to go on stage.”
To musicians, KFC is an outlet to give the Deerfield community a taste of their passion. To students in general, KFC is lively event where they get to cheer on their friends. To Mr. Dickinson, KFC is an opportunity for students of all sides of campus to get together to make music. Whether it’s in the Koch Science Building or outside of the Hess Center for the Arts, everyone in the community are always looking forward to the next KFC.