TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Memorial High School Class of 1989 are announcing their 30-year reunion this year with a trailer filmed and produced by Lyon Drive Entertainment. Lyon Drive Entertainment is a company started by John Pires and Doug Bass to put real people into Hollywood-style videos about life announcements.
Pires wanted to bring his fellow classmates together to promote their high school reunion and turned it into an incredible experience for everyone involved.
TMHS graduate Pires knew exactly the people he first needed to contact when he got the idea to make a trailer.
“The first person I spoke with was Dianna Doherty,” Pires said. “She and Cori Guarino. We got together and came up with the concept.”
The video is a trailer for a Terminators spoof, where three terminators are in pursuit of members of the class of 1989. Then, Pires, Doherty, and Guarino started reaching out to their old classmates to put the cast together.
As volunteers made themselves available, Dianna Doherty explained that Pires did all of the casting.
“He picked people from all different cliques,” she said.
Even without knowing what exactly what the project was, members of the Class of ’89 and their spouses wanted to be a part of what Pires and Bass were doing. Pires was then able to choose the right parts for everyone who answered and create the schedule for filming. Part of the willingness to be in the film came from the deep sense of camaraderie in the Class of ’89 that they feel is rare and valuable.
The film’s cast members called their graduating class truly special.
“Our class as we get older, we go to our reunions and want to talk to every person who walks in the door,” Doherty continued.
Cori Guarino added that their classmates who went to the Shawsheen Tech or private schools even want to come to their reunions and they never say no. The pair brought together more than 30 participants in the promotion video for filming over the weekend of Dec. 14.
Doherty and Guarino also helped the very small Lyon Drive film crew to secure locations for filming. These included the Tewksbury Country Club, Kyoto Japanese Steak House, Market Basket, Pizza Mia, Smitty’s Liquors, Planet Dance, and the Tewksbury Memorial High School. The whole team especially wanted to thank Nina and Ben of Kyoto; the President of Marketing at Pizza Mia; Brenda Theriault Regan from the school department; and Dean Graffeo of Smitty’s Liquors for allowing permission to film scenes there.
Besides local businesses and tons of Class of 1989 graduates, the film crew gathered help from their old school administrators. They located their old principal William DiGregorio and guidance counselor Libby Gaffney. TMHS alumni cast members also include but are not limited to Dianna Doherty, Cori Guarino, Carolyn Walsh DeLuca, Chris Grant, Judah Gusta, Tracy Watson, Joe Bilinksi, Dani Chagroux, David and Lisa Kelly, Dawn and Kevin Brewer, and Jeff and Kristen Wahl. Kerri Lane also filmed a scene from L.A. that was stitched into the final production.
As director, Bass turned ordinary Tewksbury residents and alumni into polished, professional actors. Bass is a standup comedian with experience in theater and working at L.A. production companies. He’s currently touring with his comedy show in Ohio.
“Dealing with regular people is actually a breath of fresh air,” Bass said. “Getting performances out of them, it’s challenging. Another key is filming people when they don’t know they’re being filmed.”
Another Class of 1989 classmate, Daniel Sughrue, explained that they didn’t even use a script but just worked off of their fearless director’s guidance. Bass appreciated the patience of all of the cast as they drove through Massachusetts and New Hampshire over the course of three long days of filming.
Once filming was complete, Lyon Drive Entertainment was tasked with putting together a Hollywood-style trailer with all of their best performances and clips. Overall, Pires said that their end goal was not only to create a great product to bring in potential clients but also to bring people together.
“Across the class, it became a labor of love,” he shared. “We wanted to put the town, the school, and every individual in the best light possible.”
He sees the completed trailer as something that the Class of 1989 can cherish for years to come. The actors and reunion enthusiasts expressed their gratitude for Pires and Bass and hope that the video will also bring them new business.
For now, the 30th reunion organizers are making it their goal to reach as many people as possible to come to the reunion. They’ve seen an incredible response to the video so far, but they want to keep the reunion on people’s minds going forward. Guarino and Doherty are going to create a Facebook page for the event so that people can be updated and invited.
The reunion will be on Friday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Long Meadow Country Club. Anyone who wants more information can message either of them on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.