Woodwind section of the Walker Elementary 5th grade band perform.

Fabulous Fine Arts @ Cville Schools

Here are just a few highlights of what has been happening lately in the Fine Arts program at Charlottesville City Schools.

2018 CHS Symphony group photo
2018 CHS Symphony

The annual CHS Symphony/Chorus/Fine Arts Celebration featured all of the Charlottesville High School fine arts in one evening.  The performance combined the talents of the CHS Symphony, CHS Choir, CHS Jazz Band, CHS Visual Arts, and CHS Theatre. CHS Choir teacher Will Cooke noted that eight CHS Choir alumni were also singing among the choir.

CHS orchestra teacher Laura Thomas credits the strong foundational programs in the elementary and middle schools for enabling the successes at the high school.

Medium shot of CHS symphony“The Symphony Orchestra is the product of so many behind the scenes, long-term arrangements and effort,” said Thomas during her remarks to the audience.  “In Charlottesville, it starts at the elementary schools where we have such a solid general elementary music program. And then in fifth grade at Walker, where many choose an instrument and or continue to sing. And then, we have this world-class music program at Buford, and at the high school we schedule the String Ensemble and the Wind Ensemble at the same time, so that we can actually combine to rehearse and create this wonderful thing. I was just telling my students a couple days ago, ‘This doesn’t happen everywhere. The symphony orchestra is really a rare thing at a high school.’ I am so very, very proud of this symphony orchestra, and I hope you are too.”

To view selections from the performance, use the following links:

Woodwind section of the Walker Elementary 5th grade band performs.
Woodwind section of the Walker Elementary 5th grade band performs.

The Walker Upper Elementary School fifth grade beginner band and the Buford Middle School jazz band both recently  performed for their schools. Walker band teacher Susan Allen showcased each section of the band–brass, woodwinds, and percussion–to teach the audience about the different instruments.

17 Buford Middle School musicians made the 2018 Junior Regional Orchestra! The JRO auditions were held on January 27 at Jouett Middle School and included musicians from Lynchburg, Roanoke, and Cville/Albemarle. Each student played two scales, two prepared excerpts, and a sight-reading selection. The JRO event will take place on March 23-24 at Heritage High School in Lynchburg.

For the month of February, artwork by Johnson Elementary students is on display at Charlottesville City Hall and artwork by CHS students is featured in the teen section of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.

A CHS artist uses a photograph to paint a portrait for a child.

CHS art students in Ms. Mildonian’s classes have been painting portraits for children of Puerto Rico who were affected by the hurricanes last year. In partnership with memoryproject.org, these artists are using photographs of the children to create special keepsakes which will be hand-delivered to the children when they are completed.

“We want our kids to understand that sharing kindness through artistic expression can be really meaningful,” said Mildonian. Hopefully, these paintings will make the children of Puerto Rico, many who have lost everything, feel loved and not forgotten.”

Bioluminescent fish
Bioluminescent artwork by a Clark second grade student.

What happens when second grade students combine art, reading, and STEM all in one unit? Clark Elementary students make bioluminescent creatures using circuits and glow paint!  This illuminating cross-curricular activity was inspired by the Hot Read of the Month, “Glow: Animals that Make Their Own Light.” iSTEM teacher Teresa Amasia helped the students design their own light-up sea creatures by building a suspended pendulum and using glow in the dark paint.

Painting by Marcelle Van Yahres "Maya Angelou"
“Maya Angelou” by Marcelle Van Yahres

The CCS Faculty Art Exhibit, a long-standing tradition for Charlottesville City Schools, is now on display in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performance Arts Center (MLK-PAC) lobby from January 22, 2018 to March 26, 2018.  The show features drawings, paintings, photographs, sculpture, digital art and mixed-media created by faculty and staff members who work for the nine schools in our division. With more than 20 participants, the exhibit includes works from visual art teachers, school counselors, instructional assistants, administrators, and other support staff. Read more about it here.

CHS art students at Second Street Gallery worked with American-Nigerian artist Adejoke Tugbiyele to create a collaborative work of art
CHS artists show off their collaborative art project at Second Street Gallery.

CHS art students took a field trip to the Second Street Gallery to view Adejoke Tugbiyele’s multi-media exhibit “Language of the Heart.” Internationally known, Tugbiyele’s work draws from her experience as a Nigerian-American. She uses a combination of installation, sculpture, video, photography, drawings, and collaborative performance as a metaphor for self-progress. She worked with our students to create a collaborative, mixed-media figure of a superhuman. Special thanks to the artist and to SSG Director and Chief Curator, Kristen Chiacchia, and Outreach Director, Lou Haney for providing this opportunity.

TheatreCHS is busy putting the finishing touches on the upcoming production, “South Pacific.” Poster of "South Pacific" theater productionTickets are on sale now for the performance which runs February 22-25, 2018 at the MLK Performing Arts Center at CHS. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting http://theatrechs.seatyourself.biz.

Meanwhile, preparations are already underway for two spring productions, “Chicago,” presented on March 29-30, and “The Tempest,” on April 26-27. Here is a sneak peak of Velma and Roxie at rehearsals.

To see more great TheatreCHS daily action–everything from “High School Musical” pep rallies to courtroom drama–follow them on Twitter @TheatreCHS.

The annual Venable Elementary School Soul Fest will be held on February 16 from 5:30 – 7 p.m.  In addition to great food, the event includes some amazing performers who will join the third grade chorus and first grade presenters this year. Thanks to Jon Lohman and the Virginia Folklife Program, the students will perform along with former musical director for the Virginia State University Gospel Choir Cora Harvey Armstrong, a renowned gospel singer from Virginia.  In addition, Mr. Benjamin Nussbaum’s fourth grade class will present their video, “The Rainbow Schoolbus Goes Deep Into Protesting,” which was showcased at the Virginia Film Festival earlier this fall.

Image of band in New Year's Day parade in London.
Screenshot of CHS Marching Band participating in the 2018 London New Year’s Day Parade and Festival. The parade was televised around the world.

The CHS Marching Band travelled to London to march in the 2018 London New Year’s Day parade. The largest New Year’s parade in the world, it includes more than 8,000 performers and an audience of 500,000 people. Band director Jason Hackworth helped plan the trip itinerary which included a tour of London’s most famous landmarks like Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Tower of London.