From the Desk of Ms. Abrahamson
It’s hard to believe we’ve made it through the first quarter of this most unusual year, but we have, and there’s much to celebrate in that. Booker High School has been successful in staving spread of Covid by redoubling our efforts to enforce expectations, and the results have been very few recorded campus cases and relatively few students excluded from in-person learning based on exposure risk. For information about all Sarasota County Schools with regard to Covid incidence, you can check out the county dashboard here.
As an organization, the VPA will handle academic probations differently this year, sending families notices of concern and working with families to help devise plans that can lead to desired outcomes. This means no new students will be placed on probation as we determine how best to approach academic and VPA concerns. Please always feel free to connect with us with questions and concerns; we’re in this together.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work:
Zickafoose Hosts Choral Retreats
VPA choirs held their annual retreats at Payne Park the weekends of Oct. 16 and 24, where singers bonded through singing and playing collaborative games. The retreats, held in two parts, hosted Sopranos and Altos (both online and brick and mortar students) in the first session, and Tenors and Basses the following week. Along with games and singing, the groups engaged in some friendly spirit competitions.
Both groups used their time together to rehearse songs for the upcoming Dance & Music showcase, Under the Willow. Mr. Zickafoose began the tradition of the off campus retreats last year, and they give students a chance to connect, play, and make music.
The Show Must Go On: Theatre wows FTC with Bone Orchard
While the Theatre Department’s play submission to the annual Florida Theatre Conference (FTC) was all about death, The Bone Orchard proved the department—and theatre as an artform—is very much alive. The Bone Orchard, a devised theatre piece captured on video and edited artfully, earned accolades from adjudicators for its theatrical merits as well as its cinematic strengths.
FTC, now in its 65th year, is an annual conference that celebrates theatre and typically hosts thousands of high school artists who travel to Gainesville, Fla., to participate in workshops, auditions, and group performances. This year’s conference was decidedly different, of course, offering all the typical activities in an online setting.
One big draw of the conference is college auditions—they’re like a Unified Audition event, where hundreds of representatives come to check out the upcoming talent. This year, out of 11 VPA seniors who auditioned, the students amassed an astonishing 222 callbacks to such schools as Molloy College, Florida State University, and North Carolina School of the Arts, among others.
Students also participated in workshops and masterclasses with industry heavyweights, like Broadway star Ashley Brown and New York agents and talent scouts.
In all, although the year was different than usual, it showcased the essential nature of theatre in our world and demonstrated the ability of this artform to transcend a typical stage.
Phantasmic available on-demand
The live broadcast of Phantasmic was a great achievement, and those who were in the audience–both at the theatre and at home–enjoyed a dynamic show of song, dance, drama, art, and animation. If you missed it, or just want to see it again or share with friends and family near and far, feel comforted to know that eerie art is just a click away. Phantasmic is available in our VPA Virtual Archive, along with other performances of this time. Watch one or binge them all!
(As a note: you must enter information to access content. It is not necessary to pay to proceed; if you’d like to view free of charge, enter $0 in the admission cost field.)
Dance and Music to host Under the Willow… weather pending
The Music and Dance Departments have been preparing for an autumnal performance al fresco, Under the Willow, slated to be performed on Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. The intimate performance, available to families of the performers only, and only with registration (available to those families only), will feature collaborative works of the departments, under the direction of Alex Zickafoose and Courtney Smith. The registration window closes on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 5 p.m. If you attempted to register but were unable to because of capacity, please check the link sent again; our tech issue was resolved.
Families, please note: we are monitoring the weather and will notify registered participants in the event of postponement. Stay tuned and please check your emails regularly leading up to the scheduled event.