Students from every school in Richmond County showcased their talent on Thursday and Friday at the annual Arts Alive! event in the Cole Auditorium.
For more than 10 years, students have been showing off their musical and artistic talents at a free showcase through instrumentation, chorus, painting, ink drawings and sculpture.
“It’s a big event. Always a big draw for the community,” said Joey Bennett, Cole Auditorium director.
Bennett also said it was a great experience for the kids.
Besides showcasing the students’ talents, the event also helps celebrate both National Youth Art Month and National Music in Our Schools Month which are held every March.
Arts Alive! maintained its format from last year by hosting two days of performances and the art exhibit. Bands performed on Thursday and choral groups performed on Friday.
The band talent, which began playing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, was comprised of the All-County Band, the Raider Jazz Ensemble and the Raider Concert Band.
The All-County Band, which is made up of middle schoolers from all four Richmond County middle schools, also got some extra instruction when more than 15 members of the U.S. Army Ground Forces Band came to help the students. The members broke the middle schoolers up into sections based on their instruments and helped them with their playing.
“It is amazing for them to get that help. It gives the kids different experience and a different perspective from someone who performs all the time,” said Phyllis Lupo, Hamlet Middle School Band director.
Mike Ward, band director for Richmond Senior High School, said the members of the All-County Band are selected by the middle school band directors.
The conductor of the All-County Band was Marvis Rorie Jr. and the band performed “Madrigal for Band,” “Train Heading West & Other Outdoor Scenes” and “The Tempest.”
The Raider Concert Band performed “Symphony no. 15, Finale,” “Crossings in Time” and “Our Kingsland Spring.” The Raider Jazz Ensemble performed “Pentatonic Blues,” “A Search for Who?” and “San Juan Hideaway.”
Ward said that the task of the band directors is to “ … provide positive musical experiences for all of our band students … .”
Friday, at 7 p.m., guests heard the Leak Street Chorus, the All-County Elementary Chorus, the All-County Intermediate Chorus and the Richmond Senior High Show Choir.
The Leek Street Chorus performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “How Can I Keep From Singing.” The All-County Elementary Chorus, which consisted of elementary students from all seven Richmond County elementary schools, performed “Antiphonal Kyrie,” “Afternoon on a Hill” and “Sesere Eeye.”
The All-County Intermediate Chorus, which consisted of middle school students from all four Richmond County middle schools, performed “Gaudeamus Hodie,” “Tres Canciones de los Elementos” and “Shoshone Love Song (The Heart’s Friend).”
The Richmond Senior High Show Choir performed “Fields of Gold,” “William Tell Overture” and “Stand by Me.”
Richmond County Schools Superintendent George Norris said the event gives the kids, “an opportunity to play with other serious musicians from other schools. I think it always does good for them to spend some time around each other.”
“The kids were excellent, their music was excellent. It really sounded professional,” Norris said.
Students also showed their artistic side through different art mediums. “The artwork was fantastic, I loved it. I saw a lot of really creative things … ,” Norris said.
The students exhibited artwork on the different subject matter they are studying in their art classes. According to the pamphlet handed out at the event, the elementary school students study still life, portraits and landscapes. Middle school students study different styles, artists and cultures using different types of medium and high school students learn to write about and critique works of art.
Lupo said Arts Alive! is “a way for the kids to be able to express themselves and show their talent.”
Richmond County Schools K-12 Director for English, Language Arts and Social Studies, Donna Gephart said that the event is a great way to support the students. “It is our way of celebrating our students,” she said.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.