Meet and Greet Belmont High’s New Principal On Tuesday, Oct. 22

Photo: Principal Issac Taylor

The Belmont High School Parents, Teachers Students Organization (PTSO) is hosting a Meet and Greet with Belmont High School’s new principal, Issac Taylor, on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the school’s library. Bring your questions, comments, concerns for Taylor. Hear from the PTSO about our plans for this school year. The monthly BPTSO meeting will be held after the event.

Orchestra Pit Takes One Step Closer To Reality At New Middle/High Schools

Photo: Arto Asadoorian, director of fine & performing arts in Belmont.

It may not be Broadway but its looking likely the theater in the new Belmont Middle and High School will have a professional-designed orchestra pit after the school’s building committee OK’d moving forward with a basic design on Thursday, Oct. 10.

After a nearly unanimous vote to move forward on designs and installing piles where the $150,000 pit will be constructed, supporters – including Parents Of Music Students, Parents of Performing Arts Students and the School Department’s Arts department – committed to a fund raising effort to improve even more the space’s functionality.

“It is a good night for the arts,” said Arto Asadoorian, director of fine & performing arts who helped spearhead the effort to include the orchestra pit into the theater.

“As an artist, I think [a pit] should be part of every auditorium” as it “really affects the number of kids who can be part of the theater department,” said Asadoorian.

The push for a pit started month before after architectural drawings revealed no dedicated area for musicians in the front of the stage. “We didn’t anticipate it,” said Bill Lovallo, chair of the Belmont Middle and High School Building Committee, noting that the Massachusetts School Building Authority – which the town is partnering with on constructing the new school – does not mention a pit as part of the educational program.

A pit will allow a greater number of student musicians – up to 16 to 20 – to be part of arts programs such as playing in the annual musicals for both schools, reducing the need for professional musicians.

The pit’s educational aspect caught the attention of many members of the committee.

“This [building] project is about growing our programs to better serve our students,” said Lovallo.

Supporters also noted a pit can not be retrofitted into a completed theater; it’s either add it now so it can be part of the building’s construction or abandon having a dedicated space.

For the most part the building committee members were supportive of adding a pit to the theater although it came with a “Jerry McGuire” caveat: “Show me the money!”

“I don’t want to be kidding anyone, it’s going to cost us to add a pit,” said Lovallo. After having conducted at times a painful value engineering process of cutting just over $19 million of cost overruns in the past month, committee members said their approval would be contingent on funding.

Lovallo said the committee will know if the funding is available within a month after a review of the project’s expenses with 90 percent of construction design is completed.

But even with funding still up in the air, the committee appeared ready to give a thumbs up to the addition.

“I think it’s a worthwhile add,” said Jamie Shea, the Foundation for Belmont Education representative and a Belmont High teacher. “I think it has a direct impact on programming, a direct impact on our students.”

And while pointing out that a pit allows the school to leverage the theater space to accommodate more students and programs, “but we should be thoughtful about how we move forward,” said John Phelan, Belmont School Superintendent. With many aspects of the building’s design already put on hold, “we must decide whether this is where the money needs to go or to other [areas] that we put on hold.”

One member, Bob McLaughlin, pondered out loud that since High School musical productions are not “professional” quality that a pit was more a luxury than educational necessity.

“If we start to find money at the 90 percent, there’s still time to put some of those things that were so painful to cut back in the budget” that are of a greater priority than an orchestra pit.

But for the head of the Belmont arts education, while the performances are by students, “[w]e take this seriously,” said Asadoorian. Saying he never once heard in his 14 years anyone in the community describe an arts program as “just a high school” event, Asadoorian said standards for performances at Belmont school’s “are way higher than that.”

“What we’re asking for is that you give us a space where we can put our students in a position where they can be successful,” said Asadoorian, who added that due to the new theater being more compact than the existing site, the absence of a pit will not allow for the status quo of musical performances in the future.

With the knowledge that a price point for the pit would be asked by the building committee members, Perkins+Will’s Elizabeth Dame presented four design scenarios of which the most expensive – a pit with a mechanical lift for more than $650,000 – and the existing “no pit” plan were quickly set aside.

In the end, the committee coalesced around the less costly of the two remaining designs; a 27-inch deep pit with no infill panels and a movable ramp and guard rails. Construction and design costs is estimated at $152,200. And it is anticipated that one or a combination of arts supporter groups will fundraise in the future so the pit will include infill panels.

While they will not make a firm decision until next month, the committee approved spending $25,000 to commit to initial site work and setting piles as the project is beginning the critical concrete foundation work and prepping for steel erection.

DPW Recycling Day Oct. 19; Cardboard, Paper Shredding on Oct. 26

Photo: DPW recycling is here!

The Belmont Department of Public Works will be holding it’s next Recycling Day on Oct. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1p.m. at the DPW Yard at 37 C St.

Cardboard drop off and paper shredding will take place on Oct. 26 from 9 to noon at the same location.

The material that will be recycled on Oct. 19 include (click on each item for more information)


ANIMAL RESCUE LEAGUE – Separate towels and sheets from your textiles to donate to this organization. 

CIRCLE OF HOPE – Donate new and gently used clothing of all ages especially shoes and Mens Clothing, towels, sheets and blankets

RIGID PLASTICS – Will Not Be Collected

STYROFOAM – Will Not Be Collected (Company out of Business)

Friends’ Annual Fall Book Sale At The Library This Weekend, Oct. 19, 20

Photo: The annual book sale is this weekend.

If you love books but not looking to pay an arm and a leg, this is your weekend to stock up on fiction, non-fiction, children’s and every other sort of book as the Friends of the Belmont Public Library holds its annual Fall Book Sale on Saturday and Sunday.

The sale takes place on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 20 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Assembly and Flett rooms at the library, 336 Concord Ave. And Sunday is the Bag o’ Books sale. 

A preview party for Friends members takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17. In addition, Belmont teachers will spend Friday picking out books for their classrooms, thanks to the Friends.

The sale’s proceeds allow the Friends to purchase museum memberships, bring authors and demonstrations to the library while adding to the technology available to all patrons.

Proposed Traffic Changes In Wellington Area Under Discussion at Public Meeting

Photo: Map of changes being proposed in the Wellington neighborhood.

With the building of the Belmont Middle and High School well underway, the impact of the new building on a number of neighborhood streets will be significant. One area that have identified were traffic and transportation challenges will occur are those streets adjacent to the Wellington Elementary School including School, Orchard, Goden.

The High School Traffic Working Group is hosting a public meeting on Thursday night, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall to discuss a proposed trial period of recommended changes to traffic patterns. The recommendations by the group are:

  • Create a one-way section of Goden Street between School and Orchard, allowing the intersection of Goden and School to be squared up instead of offset.
  • Create a four-way stop at Orchard and School streets.
  • Create a four-way stop at Orchard and Goden streets.
  • The pair of four-way stops are dependent on acceptance of the one-way on Goden.

The group’s consultant, BSC Group Consulting, will be at the meeting to explain the recommendations and answer questions.

High On The Hogs: Linemen Propel Marauders To First Win With Victory Over Lex

Photo: Belmont High’s Senior RB Chad Francis romps for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns including this from 34 yards.

All hail the hogs! Will Shelley, Reid Carlson, Ryan Hoffman, Brett Westgate, Isaiah Gullage, Andrew Kwon, Matt Crisafi and Derrick Brown.

As a nor’easter swept over Harris Field, the Belmont High Marauders’ relied on its big experienced linemen on both sides of the ball to secure the program’s first victory of the season, 28-12, against the Lexington High Minutemen in front of a small, but dedicated group of fans under the wet and windy Friday night lights, Oct. 11.

“I’m just so proud of these guys and the coaches. We’ve never quit believing in what we have here,” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin whose team stands at 1-3. “We kept saying that there’s a lot of football left to play.”

The offensive line created lanes along the edge for senior RB Chad Francis to romp for 233 yards on 28 carries and a pair of long (34 and 53 yards) second quarter touchdowns. The dominance of the “O” line was evident in the third quarter as Belmont held the ball for nine minutes on the first drive of the second half.

“We took a long look at what they were doing defensively and all of a sudden we said the Lexington defense looks a lot like Medford defense from [2016]” against which Belmont’s Ben Jones set a school record of 334 yards in the ’16 season opener.

The coaching staff installed a two-back formation and “simplified the blocking for the Hoggies and we got them going,” said Kumin as the team rushed for 311 yards.

But it was on defense that Belmont showed its class, shutting out for three quarters a Lexington offense which scored 56 against Arlington the week previous. Belmont defense would register eight sacks (led by Brown who was a terror in the first half) a fumble recovery (after a strip of Minuteman QB Nick Perez by junior Brennen Westgate) and an interception in the end zone at the end of the first half by senior Justin Rocha.

“We have been in games against tough opponents for the last two weeks,” said “Q.” “We knew that if we played physical defense that we were going to be able to put a stop to the Minuteman offense.”

“The entire defense did a great job from the line to the [defensive backs],” said Kumin, noting the play of senior linebacker Ryan Santoro who got into the Minuteman backfield to disrupt several plays.

Belmont started the scoring with senior RB Cedrick Toussaint sprinting over the left end for a 24 yard touchdown with 1:35 left in the first quarter.

Up 21-0 at the half, Belmont’s final scoring drive was highlighted by a 49 yard run by sophomore Tyler Arno who took the handoff from QB (and older brother) Avery Arno and raced down the left side to the Lexington 1 yard line.

“We call him “Baby Arno” so when he went on the run, I just couldn’t look because it made me so nervous,” said Kumin.

Santoro would finish the drive with a one yard plunge.

While Lexington would reach the end zone twice – including an 85-yard kickoff return by Mason Hatfield immediately after Belmont’s final score – but the game wasn’t much in doubt after Hoffman and Kwon sacked as the Marauder offense would run out the clock in the final four minutes.

Belmont is on the road on Friday, Oct. 18 to play a one-win Arlington team.

But “Q” is not looking past the SpyPonders.

“Any opponent on any given week, we have to do our job to beat them. I don’t care what the record says.”

Concert In Two Places; The First In Belmont Saturday,​ Oct. 12

Photo: Paul-André Bempéchat

The public is welcomed to hear renowned Franco-Canadian pianist Paul-André Bempéchat perform Haydn, Schubert, and Chopin on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m at The First Church, 404 Concord Ave.

The recital celebrates 30 years of partnership between The First Church and the Unitarian Church of Désfalva, a remote, ethnically Hungarian village in the Transylvania region of Romania. Bempéchat will travel to Désfalva later in October to perform the same program for the villagers.

The recital is free with contributions welcome to benefit the education fund for high school and college-bound students in Désfalva. A reception will follow.

What To Know When The Lights Go Out In Belmont

Photo: Downed trees could cause electric outages.

Falling trees and and broken branches could cause electric outages throughout Belmont as the region is buffered by a fall nor’easter.

National Weather Service forecasters said that “strong to damaging winds” with maximum gusts of up to 40 miles per hour are expected to peak Thursday afternoon into the evening, especially along the coastline of Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The winds are expected to diminish Friday into Friday night.

Below are telephone numbers to keep at the ready during the storm:

Belmont Light (to report outages): 617-993-2800.

The Town of Belmont EMERGENCY HOTLINE: (617) 993-2698.

Unless it is an emergency, do not call 911.

Stormy Weather: Farmers Market Cancelled Thursday Due To ‘Nor’easter’

Photo: Not this week.

The Market bell will not be ringing in Belmont tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 10. Blame it on stormy weather.

“The Belmont Farmers’ Market for Oct. 10 has been canceled due to the nor’easter coming in,” according to Hal Shubin of the Belmont Food Cooperative.

“The forecast calls for rain and strong winds all day, with gusts up to 40 mph. That makes it unsafe for our vendors, shoppers and volunteers.”

The storm will move slowly and close enough to the Massachusetts coast this week to bring several coastal impacts to the Eastern Seaboard, including rough surf, coastal flooding, heavy rain and strong winds, according to the Weather Channel.

There are three more dates this season: Oct. 17, 24 and 31. The Market is on Thursdays, in the parking lot in Belmont Center, from 2 p.m. to 6 pm.

Boys’, Girls’ Soccer In Final Sprint For Preseason Placement

Photo: Belmont High defender Micheal Ciano (#5) vs. Reading.

With records hovering in the .500 range – usually the minimum requirement for entry for postseason play – both Belmont High soccer teams in the final two weeks of the season need to grab as many points before them.

Boys’ Seeking Scoring Punch, Found It Against Wakefield

Belmont High Boys’ Soccer Head Coach Brian Bisceglia-Kane knows exactly what his Marauders need to do to win games: Get that first goal.

“We’re still trying on working to start strong because every game that we’ve scored first we went on to win and when we don’t, we don’t win,” said Bisceglia-Kane as his team stands at 5-4-1 with the strength of the Middlesex League schedule waiting for the Marauders in the final six games of the season.

Not just scoring first but scoring has been a large millstone hanging around the team’s neck. Since a 3-0 defeat to Winchester on Soccer Night in Belmont and before its game with Wakefield, the Marauders scored a single goal in four games that included a pair of 1-0 defeats with a grand total of eight goals in the season.

“I always tell the guys though that the best teams that we play and the worst, as long as we are competing hard, it will be razor thin who’ll come out on top. We play in a highly competitive league where the margin from top to bottom is almost nothing,” he said, noting while last year state finalist Arlington outplayed Belmont earlier in the season, “we beat them 1-0. It’s just that close.”

Bisceglia-Kane said while he continues to tweak the lineup up front, he doesn’t see much weakness with his back line – led by Micheal Ciano and Noah Meyer Herron – or the midfield which he said is moving the ball well with combination passing and solo runs. It’s just finding the net that remains an issue.

“We continue to put ourselves in a good position [to score], it’s just getting more chances in front of the goal,” he said.

On Monday, Oct. 7 against Wakefield, the goal drought came to an end as Sr. Jon Brabo scored the hat trick with midfield stalwart Will Hoerle adding a single tally as the Marauders took it to a winning Warrior team, 4-0 at Harris Field.

Scoring first just past midway through the first half by Brabo unassisted, the Marauders would score 13 minutes into the second from Hoerle via Ali Noorouzi before putting the game to bed with a pair from Brabo a minute apart with 14 minutes left with the final score assisted by Gabe Ditommaso. Senior goalkeep Finbar Rhodes picked up his fourth clean sheet of the season.

It will be a hard row to hoe over the next week for the Marauders as they play three consecutive games on the road; first off to a struggling Burlington squad before meeting a pair of undefeated teams, Lexington and Winchester.

“I really think we have a good chance at the playoffs. This team has been really enjoyable to coach because they really put everything on the line.

Girls’ Soccer Seeking Consistency As Postseason Looms

It’s been a topsy turvy series of games for Belmont High Girls’ Soccer. After being outplayed by Arlington (2-0 loss), the Marauders squeaked by a rebuilding Woburn team, 1-0, before crushing Watertown, 7-0. So it would appear trip to a Newton North for a match on grass on a sunny, autumnal Saturday afternoon against a one-win squad would be just what Belmont would need to pad its record.

Au Contraire! Belmont would walk off the pitch after a lackluster effort carrying a 1-0 loss back to Belmont. The Marauders’ long time Head Coach Paul Graham was at a loss for words on what had just happened.

Belmont High’s Kiki Christofori (#22) vs. Newton North

“I just don’t know,” he said.

So what chances did the Marauders have traveling to take on a rejuvenated Wakefield team that had not lost a home game in the season? How about a 2-1 victory thanks to a brace by jr. forward Kiki Christofori to push Belmont’s record to 6-4-1 with six matches remaining.

The Belmont Girls’ have an easier task to making the playoffs as they face a number of teams with weak records (Burlington) and which it has already beaten earlier (Reading and Woburn). The team will be relying on senior midfield general Marina Karalis and sophomore goalie Bridgette Martin to steady the team and provide the necessary leadership on the field.