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2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner - Will Van Dyke, '96

Monday, June 12, 2017

Will Van Dyke, Class of 1996, is the CHS Distinguished Alumni Award winner for 2017. Will works in New York City as a composer, singer, lyricist, and music director. He arranged the music for a couple of Disney productions including Winnie the Pooh, KIDS, and The Lion King Experience. He is currently the music director for the Tony award winning Broadway hit Kinky Boots.

During his visit, Will toured the school and marveled at how the buildings and grounds have changed since he was a 6th grader over 20 years ago. During a Q&A with the students, Will shared his favorite CHS memories and his favorite Broadway tunes and shows, as well as gave advice about how to find balance in one’s life as an artist and a person.

5th and 6th graders entertained Will and his guests with the following songs --“Imagine” by John Lennon, “Right Hand Man” from the musical Hamilton adapted with special birthday lyrics to honor the Head of School, Dr. Steven Tobolsky, and “Put on a Happy Face” from Bye, Bye Birdie.  In 1996, Will’s 6th grade class also performed Bye, Bye Birdie. CHS surprised Will with a video clip from that production featuring him singing “Put on a Happy Face”; Will then posed with Aiden Yaphe and Jamie Drachman who also portrayed the role of Albert in the musical Bye, Bye Birdie

By request, Will performed one of his compositions, The Snowman. Click here to listen on YouTube.  The event concluded Dr. T presenting Will with his award, and 6th grade Class Agents, Emma Sanders and Aiden Yaphe, presenting Will with his CHS alumni pin.


Will is now working on the show The Man in the Ceiling. Performances are taking place at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, New York, through June 25. Will is also to be a part of the 2017 Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.  His show with Jeff Talbott, Seven Broken Hearts, will be one of the nine shows developed at the retreat this summer.


To learn more about CHS alumnus, Will Van Dyke, ’96 visit his website at