Spring Break: Pandemic Anniversary
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the WHO declared this “new coronavirus” to be a pandemic… while anniversaries often are a time of celebration, this is one of reflection.
Last year’s Spring Break was one of fear and anxiety: the School Board first suspended classes a few weeks, then until the end of the year, as everyone scrambled to learn how to make the best of stay-at-home orders. We mourned the loss of lives, and we mourned the loss of togetherness. But we endured and found new ways to connect and create. We took more walks, watched more movies, devised makeshift masks, figured out how to purchase groceries via our phones, created drive thru celebrations for everything from birthday parties to graduation.
In the time since we left last year for an “endless” Spring Break, our teachers and students have come together to learn to make art in this new paradigm. We’ve made strides: we’ve created an online VPA Archive of performances, learned to livestream live shows, gained skills in videography and editing, enhanced our website (including our now weekly newsletter), and offered quality arts education through screens. What was unimaginable has now been done. We’ve learned to make connections in a world of social distance.
What a difference a year makes. As we settle into a well-deserved week of rest and pleasure, please remember that the end of the virus has not yet arrived. Practice all the safety measures that are second-nature to us now. Let’s work together to finish this school year together, healthy. If we can all be reminded of our impact on one another, we will remember again the sweet relief of the parting dismissal bell in June; remember, too, the joy of watching our seniors cross that stage at graduation.
See you all on March 22. Until then…
Be well, stay well, do well.
Booker Highlighted in ‘Dr. Asplen: On the Move’
Many of us may have been drawn to BHS for the VPA program, but if you’re wondering what else happens here on campus, this Superintendent video segment is a great primer!
Look for some VPA teachers and students, too, as you check this out.
Orchestra Triumphs at MPAs
Congratulations to VPA Orchestra students who earned straight Superiors at the Solo and Ensemble Music Performance Assessment at Braden River High School on February 27th.
Students performed solos with their accompanists Michael Stuart, Sung Choe, and Cynthia Wiley.
Here are the students who participated:
- Ian Larson (10th), student of Cythia Wiley
- Leela Sundaram (12th), student of Meghan Jones
- Mariah Sanchez (11th), student of Nicole Rawley
- Larah Pereira (11th), student of Nicole Rawley
- Nakya Parks (10th), student of Nicole Rawley
- Kaitlin Freeman (12th), student of Amanda Nix
Judges expressed admiration for our professionalism, spirited demeanor, and skills. Way to go, VPA Orchestra!
In the Classroom: Dance
The morning dance classes got “ready for their close-ups” on Friday as Ms. Smith and Kris Powell snapped headshots. The exercise, aside from producing a practical outcome of fantastic photos, put dancers in the shoes of pros for whom headshots are a must.
“I wish I’d done this as a student,” Kris Powell remarked, as he recalled the discomfort he felt when his first professional headshots were made. “That camera gets so close, it’s like an intimate experience.”
This experience will prepare students for life in the professional world of dance as they contemplate aspects of the career beyond the choreography.
In the Classroom: Film
Film students are busy in pre-production as they prepare to shoot scenes for “Last Rung on the Ladder,” an adaptation of Stephen King’s gripping short story. Currently, level 2 students are securing locations for the filming, which is set to begin March 26.
The film will be made as a part of King’s “Dollar Baby” program, wherein amateur filmmakers can purchase the rights to a canon of short stories for $1. The filmmakers produce movies that range from home videos to professionally shot and edited flicks.
The “Dollar Baby” program has given rise to numerous careers, including the career of Academy-Award nominee Frank Darabont, who adapted and directed King’s “The Shawshank Redemption” and other movies after cutting his teeth as a “Dollar Baby” with a short film adaptation of “The Woman in the Room.”
Look for more news about this unique and exciting opportunity as filming gets underway.
Senior Artworks Beautify Building 8
The large windows of the VPA senior studios now showcase the AP portfolio artwork of the class of 2021. Teacher Jeff Cornwell has selected and is displaying the works of his students, offering a gallery experience for passersby in the building.
Teacher Focus: Amanda Nix
VPA Director Amanda Nix debuted her own professional string quartet, Palm Street Quartet, at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ “Roy Lichtenstein: Monet’s Garden Goes Pop!” concert to a sold-out audience on March 10. To book the quartet or find out more about this group, click here.
Nix also visited Booker Middle School on Wednesday and Friday, to play with and hear interested Orchestra students in Mr. Sergio Acerb’s program.