Professional. Kind. Gifted. A Pied Piper. These are all words which have been used to describe Grey Holmén ’21, a dedicated and driven contributor of the Deerfield music, theater, and dance programs.
A lifelong lover of the arts, Holmén began singing and dancing from a young age, partaking in music, theater, and dance all throughout his middle school years and diving into each medium upon his entry into Deerfield. “Art for me has always been a means of expression,” said Holmén, “whether it be playing a character on stage, choreographing, or singing.”
Taking advantage of every opportunity, Holmén joined the Mellow-Ds as a ninth-grader and reflected on his choice saying, “While I could never pick one art over another, joining the Mellow-Ds was the best decision in my Deerfield career.”
Although entering with no previous a capella experience, Holmén quickly realized he was becoming part of a brotherhood in which he would create many memories and find those to whom he looked up to. Now a senior and captain of the group, he works to establish the same welcoming atmosphere for newcomers.
Holmén fondly described one of his most valuable memories from the Mellow-D’s in which he was running late to the first showcase and found that the entire group had come to his door to take him to the performance.
Interested in returning to organized singing in a choir setting, Holmén became a part of the Advanced Vocal Ensemble as a junior. He felt that as a singer, he gained more experience daily and emphasized the support of Deerfield Choral Director Thomas Pousont throughout the course of his singing career.
More recently, Holmén worked on a project for the possible reimplementation of the Koch Friday Concert, a beloved Deerfield tradition. He assembled a band featuring a pianist, drummer, and guitarist among others, with him serving as the vocal lead.
In addition to his passion for music, Holmén is thoroughly involved in the theater program, currently focusing on directing a scene from the play “RED” by John Logan.
Director of Theater Catriona Hynds reflected on the various ways Holmén has contributed to theater at Deerfield including his work ethic and fearlessness. “When [Holmén] came in, he was one of those individuals who was a triple threat,” explained Mrs. Hynds, “[Holmén] comes to rehearsal ready to work, demanding the same work ethic from others.”
Describing Holmèn as a natural actor with a “professional approach”, Mrs. Hynds highlighted the thoughtful and meticulous research he completes for each character, in addition to his ability of portraying stories through nuanced roles.
Michael Fadugbagbe ’21, one of Holmén’s close friends and a fellow performer, added, “[Holmén] is willing to be vulnerable in situations like acting and is not afraid to make mistakes”
Also having participated in numerous plays throughout his time at Deerfield including You Can’t Take It With You and Frankenstein, Holmén fondly recalls his role in the children’s play, How I Became A Pirate, remembering the production as his most rewarding theater experience because he was able to have a meaningful impact on a young audience, for many of whom it was their first play.
Furthermore, Holmén is an experienced dancer, initially entering the program as a sophomore with extensive background in hip-hop and instantly immersing himself in new styles. Having used his first academic dance class at Deerfield as a stepping stone to further his choreographic abilities, Holmén’s work grew in sophistication as he composed yearly pieces for the dance showcase; last year stepping out of his comfort zone by combining hip hop and contemporary styles.
Director of Dance Ms. Jennifer Whitcomb, former advisor to Holmén, described him as a natural mentor saying, “[Holmén] takes people under his wing and doesn’t leave anyone behind.” She added, “[Holmén] is an invaluable leader and collaborator.”
Defining him as a “trail blazer”, Ms. Whitcomb emphasized his disregard to conformity, goal orientedness, empathy, and willingness to take selfless risks.
When describing his choreography, Ms. Whitcomb said, “[Holmén] achieved a new avenue of expression in dance, using hip hop to tell a story and confirm my belief of it being a viable and reputable art medium.” She additionally noted that his pieces have evolved to incorporate a theatrical base.
Gabe Swisher-Rosa ’23, who has participated in various of Holmén’s pieces explained the positive and inclusive work space Holmén creates. “When [Holmén] is choreographing, he works to the dancers’ strengths and pushes them to be able to do it.” Swisher-Rosa ’23 added, “[Holmén] is really good at positive reinforcement and knows his dancers well which I really respect him for.”
Looking to the future, although uncertain through which specific career path, Holmén is determined to pursue art at the college level. “At Deerfield, I never had to choose between anything; I’ve always taken on everything I could,” Holmén explained. “I have many big dreams and could honestly see myself going every which way in the future, whether it be acting professionally or releasing my own music.”
Regardless of the path Holmén chooses, Deerfield memories will always remain with him and his legacy as both a mentor and performing artist will never be forgotten.