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Member Spotlight: Aidan Vahey

Aidan Vahey, a Class of 2022 graduate of Newton North High School and a current Freshman at Emerson College, has been a member of NewTV since 2016. Aidan began his journey in media production earlier in life than most. While he was in the fifth grade, he enrolled in a program at his elementary school taught by then-Director of Educational Media Joe Garozzo. “I remember the excitement I had looking forward to creating videos with my classmates,” Aidan begins. “After that, I wanted to do even more, so my mom signed me up for NewTV.”

A First Time for Everything

Aidan recollects his first time stepping foot inside NewTV for New Member Orientation. He was 13 years old at the time and fascinated by all that he saw on the tour of NewTV’s facility. The Control Room is what caught his eye in particular. “All the buttons and screens looked like mission control for a spaceship. It seemed a bit intimidating, but exciting!”

Taking classes and workshops to learn all he could about production, directing, editing, and more, Aidan was eager to start volunteering on other members’ productions. He was concerned that, being only 13 years old, other producers may not take him seriously as a director. “If I produced a show now, I’m not sure I would trust a 13-year-old to direct it either,” Aidan reflects. But a producer starting a new show called Zoom In gave Aidan the opportunity he was waiting for: “It was an amazing experience, my first time directing,” he recalls.

Live TV Meets Live Theatre

As Aidan moved onto high school at Newton North, he applied the skills he had been learning at NewTV to Newton North TV, the school’s TV Media Arts class. In addition to being the Director of Live Broadcasting for Media Arts, Aidan was involved in Technical Theatre at Newton North. He had the chance to combine his two passions when the Pandemic forced everything to become remote. “The theatre shut down first, and we knew it would be one of the last to re-open, as well. I came up with a solution that would be able to broadcast a remote cast to a remote audience,” says Aidan. His solution? A lot of technology and even more media production expertise. He explains, “I ended up building a computer decorated for live broadcasting. There were many months of testing leading up to the show. It involved green screens, 3 computers, an in-person crew, and it was all live.”

With the cameras and other equipment sitting unused in the corner of the Newton North gymnasium, and his skills in high level live broadcasting sharper than ever, Aidan knew he could do more to help his school. He put together a plan and presented it to his TV Media Arts teachers and the school’s Athletic Director. With the full support of the pertinent NNHS staff members, Aidan put his plan into action. “I trained a crew, made graphics, and promoted the first live sports broadcast ever on Newton North TV, which got thousands of views from friends and family all across the world,” he states. From there, Aidan saw his vision for live broadcasting on Newton North TV continue to grow.

Now in its third year, Newton North TV Live has expanded its content to include broadcasts of lectures, special events, and every theatre production. Newton North TV Live keeps its 30 student crew members busy with up to 10 broadcasts per week, and sometimes 3 broadcasts in one day! One of the highlights of Aidan’s time with Newton North TV Live is when he and his crew traveled to the TD Garden for a boys’ basketball game. Leaving the product of his high school efforts behind, Aidan muses, “[Newton North TV Live] is still student-run, and as I leave, I’m excited to watch the amazing programming they will continue to broadcast live to the community,”

Onwards and Upwards

As if he wasn’t busy enough establishing and working on Newton North TV Live, Aidan also found time to continue to volunteer on other NewTV members’ productions. Prior to the Pandemic, he would come into the studio to help out on Museum Open House and Innovation Showcase, both produced by Jay Sugarman. Aidan has also worked on Barry Mirrer’s field productions of the Concord Band and other musical performances.

This past fall, Aidan began his Freshman year at Emerson College with an intended major in Media Arts Production. He is ready to broaden and deepen his existing skill set, as Emerson boasts programs in both Technical Theatre and TV Production. Emerson is on the smaller side as far as colleges go, and Aidan is looking forward to the majority of the student body being like-minded people with similar interests to his own. “As I went on college tours last year, I was really looking for a college that would be a step up from NewTV and Newton North,” Aiden begins. “It was rather difficult, as NewTV is already an amazing facility. But Emerson has it all with truly industry standard equipment, knowledgeable professors, and an extensive alumni network.”

We at NewTV are truly floored by what Aidan has already accomplished in his 18 years. We are confident that he will continue to do amazing and innovative things in his chosen field at Emerson and beyond. Aidan reflects, “The incredible resources, supportive staff, and creative members are why I love NewTV and have stayed all these years.” We are certainly glad that he is still an active member, and we hope that he comes back to visit us during his summers and semester breaks.

Aidan (Center) poses with some of his crew members who have also become close friends. He is sad to leave NNHS, but he knows he is leaving Newton North TV Live in capable hands.

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