Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kodi Barrows thrives on trying new things


Kodi Barrows, a senior at Kennett High School in North Conway, N.H., certainly knows how to keep busy. He is in the glee club, chorus, stage band, on the dance team, works behind the scenes on plays and musicals and acts, having most recently appeared in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

"I am really open to anything," Barrows said. "Trying something new is definitely something I love doing, which is why I've done so many different things, whether it goes to dance or theater or tech or anything like that. Something new is just what I thrive on."

Barrows started his exploration into the arts playing trumpet at Josiah Bartlett Elementary School but he drifted away from music until high school.

"We changed musical directors so many different times it was just kind of crazy and I ended up kind of dropping instrument at the time," Barrows said.

It was ultimately acting that help Barrows not only reconnect with playing an instrument, but discovering singing, dance and, what he's most passionate about, the tech side of theater.

"I want to go to school for the technical theater side," Barrows said. "I want to be the person that knows everything about the theater and just the person you go to for everything you need."

Barrows' first acting experience was "Happy Birthday Sweet 16" in eighth grade, but he "really started enjoying the theater business" working on the Arts in Motion production of "Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." It would be on "Rent," another Arts in Motion production, that he'd get his first experience working behind the scenes.

"Our tech designer for the show was Florence Cooley and she needed someone to help her," Barrows said. "Glenn [Noble] then asked if I'd be interested in going to assist so basically there was a Saturday when I went and helped her move lights around, adjust lights, go up in the Genie or anything like that or just learn what it was to set up lights and it really piqued my interest in the technical side of theater."

He found his way back to playing an instrument through connecting with Rafe Matregrano while working on Arts in Motions' "Guys and Dolls."

"I expressed an interest in playing an instrument and he knew that the year after that the tenor section was going to be short in band."

Matregrano helped Barrows make connections to get tenor saxophone lessons, which would eventually lead to him joining stage band.

For Barrows, playing an instrument is an invaluable tool for learning discipline and has had an influence over all his artistic activities.

"It takes practice and it is a great thing to do because it teaches you a lot of determination in the arts to get good at what you do," Barrows said. "It just teaches you a lot of responsibility as a person. It can definitely help someone after high school, whether it is band or chorus. Even if you don't continue with it, it is an experience that sticks with you for the rest of your life."

It was also through "Guys and Dolls" that Barrows developed an interest in dance, which led to joining the dance team this year.

"That's probably my newest adventure," Barrows said. "It is great working with Holly [Fougere] and all the different girls on the team."

At first Barrows was the lone guy on the team, but he convinced his friend, freshman Anthony Ferrara to join as well.

"I got him to join because I knew he'd enjoy it and it would really get an interest going for him."

It was also this year that Barrows decided to join chorus. Something he wished he done earlier in his high school career, but it just never quite fit his schedule.

"When I saw the chorus perform it looked like it was a lot of fun like they were enjoying what they were doing on stage," Barrows said. "I wish I had done it my freshman through junior year. I really wish I had participated, which is actually the same thing with band. I really wish I had stuck with and kept up an instrument through elementary school."

Prior to joining the chorus, Barrows was part of the glee club that was created to enter a glee contest put on by Fox 22. The group was comprised mostly of cast members of "Shades of Gray," which was going on at the same time.

"Holly and Glenn wanted to pick some strong singers who were already close friends and knew each other really well to get in a group together. It was pretty last minute, but we got it together and we did pretty well for the competition."

The singing was something different Barrows, but one that he enjoyed explored with the group.

"I've always enjoyed singing whether it is in the shower in the morning or just in the car singing to music, the stuff you love to listen to even if you know you're singing is horrible, but you still sing it because you love it," Barrows said.

Throughout all his many artistic endeavors, Barrows has valued all the connections he's made.

"I feel like I am part of so many different families," Barrows said. "It is just everywhere I go: glee, dance team, chorus, band, my friends from different theater shows I've done because when you do a show with someone you make a connection that lasts longer than a normal friendship does. You always keep in touch with your friends from shows. It makes it easier to talk because you get to know them from spending months at a time running lines or running scenes, practicing choreography, you really get to know someone and it just makes it fun."

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