Joey Gatto, Hanna Neil, Captain Lung, AOP to headline Morris District 40th birthday bash


Joey Gatto’s crowded résumé is going to need another page.

The Morristown High School senior class president–and beat-boxer and pianist and winner of last year’s Film Festival— has been chosen to emcee the Morris School District’s 40th birthday party on May 20.

“I was really honored and excited because I love being on the mic, and it should be a really fun event,” said Joey, who will be attending the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan this fall.

Although he probably is versatile enough to carry the show himself, Joey will have the luxury of introducing lots of home-grown talent at the MHS football field.

Joey Gatto, winner of the Fourth Annual Film Festival, also performed during the music portion of the show. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Joey Gatto, winner of the Fourth Annual Film Festival, will emcee the Morris School District's 40th anniversary celebration on May 20 at Morristown High School. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Hanna Neil, the sixth-grade songbird who sang the national anthem so beautifully at our Earth Day concert last month, will reprise the Star-Spangled Banner at 1 pm.

Captain Lung, the MHS trio that won third prize at this year’s Morristown’s Got Talent! show, will perform, as will Art of Play, a rock group from Frelinghuysen Middle School that is competing this week for  top amateur honors at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater.

The Frelinghuysen Jazz Band and 5th-graders from the Thomas Jefferson School Band will play, too, and MHS athletes will give sports demos and mini-clinics for younger kids.

At 1:30 pm, it will be boys and girls track, hockey, boys and girls lacrosse, baseball and cheerleading. At 2:45 pm, it’s boys and girls soccer, football, softball and cheerleading.

The festivities will mark the merger of the Morristown and Morris Township school systems–highly controversial four decades ago–and the 20th anniversary of the Morris Educational Foundation, the fundraising organization that runs Morristown’s Got Talent!

On Thursday, May 10, a cocktail party at the Morris Museum will honor Steve Wiley, the central figure in the creation of the District and the Foundation.  One of the featured entertainers is MHS junior Charlie Savage, pianist and co-winner of this year’s Morristown’s Got Talent! show. Proceeds from the evening will fund a Stephen B. Wiley Scholarship.

“In partnership, over the decades, the Morris School District and the Morris Educational Foundation have afforded extensive opportunities for program innovation; inspired and supported extraordinary achievements of students and alumni; and provided numerous opportunities for community involvement and commitment,” MEF Chairperson Debbie Sontupe said in a statement.

Community partners at the May 20 celebration will include the Morristown Neighborhood House, the Community Soup Kitchen, the YMCA, the Seeing Eye and the Interfaith Food Pantry. Several area restaurants also will be involved.

Performers for Morris School District celebrations. Please click icon below for captions.

As for Joey, this event caps a schoolboy career that includes four straight years as MHS class president and two appearances at Morristown’s Got Talent!  One of those performances landed him an agent. While he enjoys beat-boxing, he cites video production as his first love.

Joey’s productions for include The Man Hole Cover Hat a spoof of Morristown’s exploding manholes — and a music video featuring Eric “Fluffy” Glover, the Ticket Taker Guy from Clearview Cinemas.

Three days before the deadline for last summer’s MG Film Fest, Joey composed a rap song about recycling, recruited a cast, and directed and edited the video.

Naturally, the audience voted Reduce, Reuse, Recycle  as Best Picture.

The same formula will apply this month.

“I have nothing planned. I’m just going to freestyle it, because that’s pretty much what I do in most of my work,” Joey said.

Why mess with success?


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