Arts Hall of Fame Inductees 2022
Dave Ash 1984 - 2020
Dave Ash started his career at Springfield High School in 1984. He earned his undergraduate degree from Millersville University and his masters from Villanova University. Over the years his curriculum took many twists and turns as he navigated the ever-changing technology developments of our times. He began his career teaching small engine repair, systems of the automobile, electricity, electronics, drafting and architecture. He finished his career teaching engineering, architectural modeling, using virtual reality design software, laser engraving, robotics and 3-D print technologies.
During his career Dave served as the Activities Director and was an advisor to 8 different clubs and organizations. Dave was also a part of coaching staffs that helped the Cougars win Central League titles in football and baseball. His motivation for participating in clubs and teams was to help foster student interests while promoting healthy competition.
Volunteering and giving back to the community have always been important to Dave. He served on the Community Education Council for ten years overseeing the Drug and Alcohol Task Force, participated in the districts Safety Committee and supervised the districts Turkey Fund Program for 30 years where he helped raise awareness to support Springfield and Morton residents in need of assistance throughout the year.
Valerie Broussard 2009
Valerie just always sang! From the day she could talk. At 6, she sang Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” at the Springfield Library’s talent show. While in second grade, for Christmas, she asked for a play from the American Girl Company. That summer, at 8 years old, she established her company, “Driveway Productions” and created “The North Avenue Players”, an ensemble of friends aged 5 – 10 years old. She produced and directed shows for the next seven years. In the Broussard driveway, the shows included elaborate sets, costumes, playbills, and a sound system.
Valerie’s interest in theatre continued in high school with performances in both dramas and musicals, chorus, Treble Makers, and Jazz Band Vocalist. She advanced to performing in several musicals and operas while attending University in London, and performed in the UK and France. Valerie also holds a BA in Philosophy from University College London and an MA in Business and Cultural Studies from Kings College London, graduating magna cum laude from both institutions.
Valerie Broussard is now a grammy-nominated, multi-platinum songwriter, singer and vocal engineer. With over half a billion streams and counting, she has also amassed hundreds of placements across TV and film including the theme song for BCC1’s ‘Traces’ and campaigns for Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Cadillac, Ralph Lauren and Riot Games. She has toured the world with Norwegian DJ Kygo performing in front of sold out stadium crowds from Oslo to Bahrain to New York Pride.
In 2019 she headlined the League of Legends World Championships in Paris which was streamed live to millions across the globe from the Accor Hotels Arena and featured groundbreaking hologram technology. In 2020 she again worked with League of Legends to send her hologram to perform in China. During the pandemic she sound-proofed her spare bedroom in Los Angeles and learned to engineer vocals while writing and singing songs for Kygo’s gold-certified album ‘Golden Hour’, which landed her on Good Morning America. She also wrote, sang, and engineered on Illenium’s album ‘Fallen Embers’ for which she recently earned her first Grammy nomination. In 2021 she played to sold out crowds at Red Rocks Amphitheater and Banc of California Stadium.
Kevin Cooper 1990 - 2019
Good luck for Kevin Cooper began at Northwestern University outside of Chicago. Kevin was able to study at a top-rated music school, and ended up being selected as the Drum Major of the marching band. In this capacity, Kevin learned leadership skills which would help him later as a music educator. His marching band drill design using the new “N” logo was the beginning of what is now a 35- year pregame tradition for the Big Ten university. Kevin ended his college career by being selected to perform with a national college band for President Reagan’s Inauguration.
After teaching in Illinois for four years, his wife, Donna, convinced him to apply for a job in the town where they had been married two years prior. Kevin began his 29-year career as a music educator in the Springfield School District. The first twenty years was spent as the high school band and orchestra director. During this time, the program quadrupled in size and built a performance record consisting of top-quality musical repertoire. This was the period when the orchestra performed at the Kimmel Center in its opening year, and became the only orchestra ever to perform in the Boscov’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The band developed its unusual and popular tradition of the Band-o-Rama concert. Kevin was also invited into Phi Beta Mu, a professional organization for band directors.
In Kevin’s last nine years, he taught elementary and high school orchestra. During this time, the string program grew by 85% and began the fall tradition of the Spooktacular concert. By combining current and past SHS string players with some of the area’s finest high school and adult musicians, Kevin created an orchestra which collaborated with composer Tim Janis to produce the first three years of Janis’ American Christmas Carol performances at the venerated Carnegie Hall in New York City. With Kevin conducting, this orchestra performed with many guest artists, including Darlene Love and Sara McLachlan. Kevin also served as the District 12 PMEA Secretary/Treasurer for eight years.
Devon Gilfillian 2008
Growing up in Morton, Pennsylvania on a steady diet of R&B, hip-hop, rock, blues, and soul music, Devon gravitated to records that ignited his mind while making his body move. Devon’s first musical influence came from his father, Nelson Gilfillian, who sings and plays percussion. For him, listening to the towering icons of his father’s era—Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, The Temptations—was just as formative and exciting as discovering the new sounds of his own generation, and the beats and rhymes made by rising rap stars like Wu-Tang Clan, Kanye West, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z had inspired him in new ways.
Following his electrifying 2016 debut EP with upbeat songs like “High” and“Troublemaker”, in 2018 Gilfillian signed to Capitol Records and hit the road… performing with the likes of Anderson East, Keith Urban, Gladys Knight, Kaleo,The Fray, Mavis Staples, and more. In early 2019, Gilfillian traveled to Africa to find healing and inspiration before headlining a tour in Scandinavia and opening for Brothers Osborne on their spring tour and his debut album, “Black Hole Rainbow,” is still available. In early 2020, Devon also embarked on a cross-country tour with Grace Potter. After COVID-19, Gilfillian redirected his energy to doing what he does best, making music. He re-recorded Marvin Gaye’s iconic album, “What’s Going On,”releasing it in fall of 2020 around the presidential election. The project raised funds for low-income communities and communities of color, providing resources and education around the democratic process. In November 2020, Gilfillian released “Freedom,” with indie-rockers, Illiterate Light, “Black Hole Rainbow,” was nominated for a Grammy–“Best Engineered Album.” In December 2020, Gilfillian performed his top 5 AAA hit, “The Good Life” on Jimmy Kimmel Live. He currently resides in Nashville, TN where he is recording his second LP.
Paul Kerrigan 2004-2020
When the phone rang, Paul Kerrigan jumped at the opportunity to direct a musical at Springfield High School. Having taught and directed with the Young Peoples Theatre Workshop for over ten years. The notion of a musical at SHS appeared to be on life-support in 2004. Over the next ten years, musicals such as Grease, Wizard of Oz, Guys and Dolls, and The Pajama Game raised the standards for such presentations at Springfield. The culminating production of 42nd Street featured an opening scene with over 60 tap dancers, an art deco set, a ballet, and a finale which brought the house down.
Along the way, hundreds of Morton and Springfield students and their families, onstage and behind the scenes, enjoyed peak experiences which rivaled and extended the mission of the epic SHS Celebration of the Arts. The Arts will continue to thrive at Springfield High School because of the leadership of its faculty, staff, and administration who value the joy of expression found only in the performing arts. Paul Kerrigan’s tenure as director of musicals for a decade was a foundation on which today’s current successes are built.
Paul has been involved in local theater since 1974, as an actor, director, music director, and teacher. In 2019, Mr. Kerrigan was inducted into the Interboro High School Alumni Hall of Fame. A little known fact is that he made his professional acting debut in Springfield, in the Community Room of Strawbridge & Clothier, forty years before there was a Hobby Lobby there.
He is the music director of the Kelly Street Chorus of Philadelphia, and is also currently directing Pirates of Penzance with the Young Peoples Theatre Workshop. In 2023, he will direct Much Ado About Nothing at the Players Club of Swarthmore theater.
Richard Linn 1973
Richard Linn began his musical career at age five, studying piano with his father. He added violin at age nine and tuba at age eleven. In middle school, Dick Miller arranged playing gigs for Rick at neighboring school districts and provided various instruments for Rick to add to his skills. At SHS, he played tuba marching band, concert band, orchestra, jazz band, and chorus, and was accompanist for the Mens’ Glee Club. In his senior year, Rick was the student conductor of the concert band and was selected to be in the District Band, Orchestra, and Chorus, as well as Regional Band, Orchestra, and Chorus, plus All-State Orchestra, a record number of festivals at that time.
After completing an undergraduate degree in Music Education at West Chester University, Rick taught in the Norristown and Methacton public schools. Returning to college, he received a Master’s in Music Performance from The University of Massachusetts and a Doctorate in Music Performance and Conducting from the University of Iowa. Dr. Linn has served on the music faculty of Luther College, Lamar University, Wright State University, and Wittenberg University. Expanding his career, Dr. Linn became Dean of Students at the University of Northern California and Director of Orientation Programs at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
Dr. Linn has performed with regional orchestras from Springfield, MA to Beaumont TX, Quad Cities, Iowa to Santa Rosa, CA, to name a few. He has performed as both soloist and chamber musician and been a member of several professional quartets and piano trios. Rick has taught hundreds of students on all string instruments and piano, and been conductor of several orchestras and bands, including the 1991 Ohio All-State Orchestra in Cincinnati.
Anne Marie Scalies Class of 1994
Anne Marie is an alumnus from Rising Above All Class of 1994. She was the recipient of the Senior Theatre Student Award and Class of 1984 Scholarship (presented by the late great Steven Stefani.) She was involved all four years in Springfield Theatre Workshop as an actor/stage manager, Choir and Pop Group (now called Springfield Singers.) She served as an officer for both STW and Choir. She spent her junior year on Student Council and three years as a Peer Facilitator.
Anne Marie went on to study Theatre at Kuztown University earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre with minors in English and Music. She was recipient of the Mazaferri Speech and Theatre Tuition Scholarship, the Speech and Theatre Department Scholarship, and earned Outstanding Speech and Theatre Senior Student Award.
Anne Marie Scalies has been indulging the Philadelphia/Delco community with her theatrical antics for over 30 years. Most notably, Anne Marie has served as host of Theatre with a Tea podcast, a judge for Theatre Philadelphia, an adjudicator for Philadelphia Theatre Independence Awards, and Theatre Critic/Editor-in-Chief for Philly Life and Culture. Most recently, Anne Marie served as director of the SHS Spring musical, Freaky Friday. Anne Marie spends countless hours volunteering at Players Club of Swarthmore where she produces and directs and lends a hand where she can.