The Keys to the PAC

Ian Calato and his peers begin a larger leadership role in Tech Crew

Senior Ian Calato helps fellow student set up his microphone (H. McQueen).

Senior Ian Calato helps fellow student set up his microphone (H. McQueen).

By Hailee McQueen

On Sept. 21, at the Huntley Hootenanny event, senior Ian Calato and his friends found out that they were taking over Tech Crew since director Nathan Knapke was leaving. With his departure, seniors Sylvie Calato, Lily Landoch, and Sara Hursey took over his role. 

“I feel like he has left behind such a strong legacy of having such amazing shows that it will be hard to [live up] to that,” Calato said.

The four students called themselves “the dream team” as a joke, but it seemed to stick and became the reason why they were selected by Knapke. The team showed dedication towards Tech Crew, staying long hours to help in any way possible.

“We would load into rehearsal. We would be the ones on the front line and tried to do our part,” senior Lily Landoch said. “We would put the extra initiative forward to get things done.”

Calato started in Tech Crew his sophomore year and is currently helping with the Heineman Middle School production of “Moana Jr.” It is his first show without Knapke.

“He programmed all the lights for us, but that’s the only show he programmed,” Calato said. “Everything else that happens after that is on us. We don’t have the skills to do as much as he did, but we’re still going to try.”

Taking on a leadership role comes with new responsibilities. The four students are trying to balance school work and jobs while trying to fulfill the legacy Knapke left behind.

“We know with him gone, we have to start to step up and learn a lot more stuff without him being here,” Landoch said. “Obviously, there’s been some bumps in the road. We still want to be able to have it to the point where we can have a normal show even without him being here.”

The dream team has worked on countless projects and has also been recognized for the hard work they have done. A group from Chicago saw the work they did for the graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021 and decided to reach out. 

“They hired us to film a trailer video for their club,” Calato said. “There are people from all around Chicago that came to the PAC, and we felt awesome.” On top of that, they were recently invited to the dedication ceremony of the Centennial Black Box Theatre. 

About five years ago, Calato nearly lost his life due to taking part in a social media trend. Looking back, Calato is glad nothing serious happened.

“This whole tech experience actually has made me realize I would have missed out on these opportunities, especially partaking in the leadership role,” Calato said. “It’s really made me strive to be better.”

Even without Knapke, new director Lorie Woods and the dream team are still trying to create a positive experience for new and current club members. Landoch said she has made many friends during her years while being a part of the tech crew, enjoying the memories and bonds she has created with her peers.

“I just hope to make it fun so people want to be there. I want it to be an enjoyable experience,” Calato said.