From May 11-13, St. Andrew's welcomed families, alumni and friends to campus to celebrate the School's annual Arts Weekend. This three-day festival of the visual and performing arts showcases student creative work across all artistic disciplines taught at St. Andrew's—drawing, painting, ceramics, and photography; choral and instrumental music; creative writing and film studies; and dance and theatre—while also giving families the opportunity to convene on campus and celebrate Mother's Day together.
"Nothing gives me more joy than watching the students share themselves so openly and enthusiastically with the entire community," Arts Department Co-Chair Ann Taylor said. "I always learn something new about an individual when I see them perform, or take a walk through the gallery. It takes courage, and I deeply honor the creative process that brings our students to the culminating moment known as Arts Weekend. In the week before Arts Weekend, students become laser-focused and reach heights that, at first, may have felt unattainable. Watching this unfold is the best part of teaching."
We kicked off Arts Weekend 2018 on Friday evening with a student art show in the Warner Gallery, and a reading of The Andrean, the School's literary journal, on the third floor of the O'Brien Arts Center. Mary Puryear '19 read one of her poems, Zahara Martinez '19 read an excerpt from her short story "Fighting," and Santiago Brunet '18 read a selection of his poems. You can enjoy a digital edition of the The Andrean on our Issuu page.
Following the reading and gallery opening, the School Orchestra performed in Engelhard Hall. Their program, titled "Musical Travels," featured the "Cossack March" by Franz Liszt, from the symphonic poem Mazeppa; Claude Debussy's "Scottish March"; "España Cañi" by Pacual Marquina Narro, "Pines of Rome" by Ottorino Respighi, and Felix Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64," which featured a beautiful violin solo by Noelle Yoo '18. "We want to thank [Orchestra Director] Mr. Geiersbach for taking us under his wing," Noelle said at the end of the concert. "He's been a mentor, a great conductor, and a great teacher, so thank you!" You can watch the entire Orchestra concert on our Livestream channel.
On Saturday morning, Head of School Tad Roach welcomed families with a talk in Engelhard Hall, after which film studies students presented the short films they wrote, directed and produced over the course of the school year, and the Noxontones, the School's a cappella group, performed a selection of pop songs. Noxontones soloists included Theo Jaffe '19, Haden Cunningham '18, Cara McTaggart '18, Sofie Neil '19, Shridhar Singhania '18, Phoebe Shiffman '18, and Noelle Yoo '18.
That evening, St. Andrew's Jazz Ensemble, also directed by Fred Geiersbach, took to the Engelhard stage. The jazz program has become so popular in recent years that for the past two school years, Geiersbach has mounted two separate Jazz Ensembles, one for beginning musicians and another for intermediate and advanced players. Thus on Saturday night, an audience of students, parents, and alums enjoyed two separate mini jazz concerts. "I will tell you that these compositions that they're about to play are really advanced, and we've been working really hard on them," said Geiersbach at the beginning of the second concert. Students performed standards by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, and Henry Mancini, among others, and Cindy Lay '18 joined the ensemble to sing "Stormy Weather." You can watch the Jazz Ensemble performances on our Livestream channel.
Also on Saturday evening, theatre students performed Twelve Angry Jurors, the stage version of the 1957 film 12 Angry Men. Theatre Director Ann Taylor updated the title from "men" to "jurors" to reflect the fact that both male and female student actors made up the jury of the play's title. The cast included Akeem Martindale '18, Cristle Ike '19, Cara McTaggart '18, James Turner '20, Stewart Zurbuch '21, Christine Chen '20, Andy Dupree '20, Austin Brannan '19, Santiago Brunet '18, Piper Jackman '21, Vincent Chen '18, Shridhar Singhania '18, Lamar Duncan '20, and Adrian Watts '20. To encourage thoughtful reflection, Taylor posted quotes on inequality, injustice, and the American legal system from Bryan Stevenson around the Forbes Theatre. You can see photos of the production on St. Andrew's Flickr page and on the Forbes Theatre Instagram account.
On Sunday morning, families gathered in the duPont Memorial Chapel for an Episcopal service. The homily was delivered by Laura Schutt P'18, which you can listen to on our website. Following Chapel, we closed out the weekend with outstanding performances by the School's choir and dance students in Engelhard Hall. The SAS Dance Company mounted its most ambitious project yet: an original full-length ballet of Alice in Wonderland; you can watch the entire performance on our Livestream channel.
"The dancers had performed a small excerpt of a story ballet last year, and they loved that experience and wanted to do more this year," explained Dance Program Director Avi Gold. "We decided to tackle our biggest project to date and chose to create an original full-length ballet of Alice In Wonderland. Ninety-five percent what we do is choreographed by the students or by myself—it makes our dance much more personalized and special. The students threw themselves into their work and the creative process. The end result was a spectacular performance with students excelling in their movement quality, performance quality, and technique. The students passion for this project made it one of the most efficient, productive and least stressful Arts Weekend performances we have undertaken to date. I am incredibly proud of their work!"
The Andrean Ensemble and Founders Choir (the School's advanced and beginner choirs, respectively) then performed a program titled "Postcards," which consisted of 15 songs sung in 14 different languages. (The choirs also sang the Postcards program while on their spring break trip to visit schools and churches in Bermuda.) You can also watch the choral performances on our Livestream channel.
At the close of the choral program, VI Form singers took a moment to thank Choral Director Quinn Kerrane, who took over the School's program last year. "I think we definitely made it harder for her than we needed to," said Cindy Lay '18, "but we're really really grateful, because she's done so much for all of us—so a huge thank you for that."
"You as mothers have made incredible sacrifices to send your kids to St. Andrew's, and to trust us to bring out the very best in them," said Head of School Tad Roach on Sunday, which was Mother's Day. "We can feel you leaning in every day, supporting them, affirming them, and inspiring them. And then when you all come in these numbers and represent this parent body that supports everything that we aspire to do, it brings out the very best in all of us—the faculty, the staff, and certainly the students. We love having all of you here."