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Walpole students perform with Electric Youth

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Walpole’s Naomi Fitzgerald, Griffin Wilkins, and Caroline Wilkins are touring Europe this summer with Electric Youth (EY), an ensemble of talented young singer-dancers trained at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts (FSPA).

Following the tour, Electric Youth will perform two free outdoor concerts on Thursday, July 19, from 6:30-8 p.m. at Norfolk Town Hill and on Wednesday, July 25, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Franklin Town Common. Backed by an eight-piece band of world-class musicians, Electric Youth delivers a fun, high-energy show of family entertainment with an extensive range of pop, classic rock, swing, contemporary Broadway and country music for audiences all ages. This season’s repertoire features fully choreographed performances of Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, J. Geils, Elvis, Aretha Franklin, Bruno Mars, The Who, and Guns N’ Roses, among others.

Running from June 21 to July 16, Electric Youth’s 2018 European tour featured a return Fourth of July show at Aviano Air Force Base to entertain U.S. Troops and families stationed abroad. The tour also included performances in Kirchberg, Haffnerbach, Ober-Grafendorf and Tulln, Austria. Performances in Italy included multiple shows in Lignano and Bibione along the Adriadic Coast, as well as concerts in the Tuscany-Umbria region and at Lake Como.

Griffin, 17, is a rising senior at Walpole High School and is in his third season with Electric Youth. His sister, Caroline, 15, is a rising Walpole High sophomore in her first year with the group. Naomi, 16, is a rising WHS junior completing her second EY season. Selected annually by audition, members of Electric Youth are chosen for superior musicianship, stage presence and “triple threat” accomplishments in singing, dancing and acting. This season’s ensemble of 13 performers, ages 15-19, studies multiple dance disciplines, voice and drama at FSPA.

Walpole’s Caroline Wilkins performs with Electric Youth.

Walpole’s Caroline Wilkins performs with Electric Youth.

The EY singer-dancers are backed by Boston musicians who’ve performed, recorded and toured with music legends including Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Alicia Keys, B.B. King, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Van Morrison and many others. EY’s show band features Garrett Gleason on guitar, Kenny Hadley on drums, Bill Miele on bass, Artie Montanaro on trombone, Walter Platt on trumpet, Ken Reid on tenor saxophone, Ben Whiting on baritone saxophone, and Raye Lynn Mercer on piano. Mercer also is the group’s director, and Hallie Wetzell is the vocal director.

Electric Youth has released six professional albums and toured Europe 14 times, with performances at England’s Arundel Festival, Disneyland Paris, professional theaters in Bristol, London and Windsor, and such renowned venues as Sanremo’s Ariston Theatre and Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Musikverein and Schonbrunn Palace. EY also has headlined Fourth of July shows for American troops and families stationed in Italy at Camp Ederle, Camp Darby and Aviano Air Force Base. The ensemble has performed on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, on Fox-TV and WBZ Radio, and at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, Mechanics Hall, the Smithsonian Museum Theater, the United Nations and the American Embassy in Rome.

The EY summer concert in Franklin also will feature a performance by Future Shock, a select children’s ensemble of students, ages 6-13. For more information about Electric Youth, visit www.electricyouth.com.

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