Artists from Trinity and eight other area high schools team up to show that art is inside us all
Trinity was the proud host school for this year’s installment of ArtsPOWER, a full-day multidisciplinary event aimed at fostering collaboration between area high school artists on Friday, April 13, 2019.
Each participating school sends a delegation of two students who specialize in one of four artistic areas: movement, visual arts, music, and drama. Then groups are mixed up at random and rotated through a series of interdisciplinary workshops designed to expose students to all facets of the creative process. “The music kids explore drawing, and the visual artists try some theatre,” said Brian Phillips, Trinity theatre teacher and one of the event’s founding instructors.
The theme of this year’s conference was “presence,” and all participants enjoyed putting their phones aside for the entire today to be focused and present in the moment.
Along with visiting arts faculty from the respective schools and specialists from the Virginia Rep and SPARC, Trinity welcomed student guests from Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, Blessed Sacrament, Center for the Arts at Henrico, Collegiate School, New Community School, St. Catherine’s School, St. Christopher’s School and St. Gertrude High School.
In the visual arts workshop, students created original, multi colored mandalas. Will Walker from SPARC led a group in a creative writing and movement exercise. “Each group of four students writes a haiku and then interprets it with dance and creative movement as it is read aloud,” he said.
In the music workshop, a 16-member group built the melody of an original song in unison, one note at a time. They also listened to gamelan music, a traditional Balinese gong and percussion orchestra, followed by an group of vocal percussionists with no instruments at all.
Mike Boyd, director of performing arts at Collegiate has led or participated in each of the 13 ArtPOWER conferences. “The aim of this workshop was to simplify the concept of music,” he said. “We wanted to show the folks that aren't in music how accessible it is; and at the same time for our musicians who are in it every day to realize that there’s a bigger picture than the notes on the page.”
Ben Miller, director of music at St. Giles Church, collaborated with Boyd on the music workshop.
“[today’s activity] was proof positive that ‘innate musical competencies,’ as Leonard Bernstein said, are inside all of you,” he said. “The things we need to create music we already have, without purchasing any instruments without any lessons.”