Educating Imaginations

Thursday, July 25, 2013 - By: Edna Widenmaier

It has been a banner year for our Arts programmes this year. Our philosophy of cultural enrichment, skills development and creative self-expression has created a platform for outstanding student achievement.

In the first year of the new Centre for Art and Humanities, the studio spaces have inspired our painters, potters, photographers and 3-D artists to explore new media such as printmaking and fibre art, to utilize the light sparkling off the water in the bay on canvas, and to celebrate each other’s work in interdisciplinary projects. A first also this year was a corporate commissioning of several pottery and painting students to create prizes for an awards evening based on the theme of “Star Wars”.

In May, parents had the opportunity to don smocks and take part in our Arts-in-Action afternoon. Partnered with a student artist, the parents became students for the afternoon learning how, for example, to throw on the pottery wheel, or work with charcoal on canvas. Many said of the experience that they wished they were back at school to be able to go to classes with such a sophisticated level of instruction and achievement.

At the end of the year, Grade 12 students donated art work for an on-line auction, the proceeds going to the Grad Bursary fund. As in past years, the senior photography students installed a show at Imagine gallery in Shawnigan, simulating a commercial venture very successfully. It was a wonderful “shake down” of the new facility. Across the way, the T. Gil Bunch Centre for Performing Arts celebrated its 10 years as an educational facility and venue for student and public shows.

The first term saw new talent joining the experienced hands both on stage and side stage in our Thanksgiving Concert, Remembrance Service and Concert for a Winter’s Eve. Hammers and drills provided an aural backdrop in December as construction began on the set for the musical In The Heights. A three-dimensional, multi-floored street section from Washington Heights, New York City was being built in anticipation of the many production numbers by over fifty students involved in the cast of that show in early March.

Throughout the second term, as these students learned and rehearsed their parts, the Music and Dance faculty were putting their charges through their paces in anticipation of the spring provincial music festivals. After a terrific week-long run of the musical, while the students recovered their energy during Spring Break, Washington Heights was coming down and the classroom for the Senior Acting Class’s Up The Down Staircase was being installed on stage. The mid-April run was an excellent showcase of ensemble playing.

April also saw the Concert Choir and the Vocal Jazz Show Choir, having won at the provincial level, travelling to Toronto to compete at Musicfest and winning silver. The plane had hardly landed and they were hard into rehearsals for the June Concert for a Summer’s Eve. Meanwhile, the dancers, having delighted audiences in their annual May showcase, this year based around the theme of Dreams, participated in a variety of festivals, winning several coveted awards including 1st place at the Core Dance completion up island.

Our final Arts event was the awarding of our Colours, and trophies at the Internal Awards, an event which honours the commitment and excellent performance of so many of our students. Our programmes not only foster and “educate the imagination” (Frye) of our students but act as a springboard that instills discipline, hones individual and group skills and exposes our students to the rigors and rewards of committed, goal-oriented effort. In the Arts programmes, we are educating for life.

Mrs. Edna Widenmaier, Director of Arts

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