Portions of this article contributed by Fadila Addaouki and Alexa Colas ’13
All of Dwight-Englewood’s finest artists got the chance to perform and/or display their artwork twice during the past 2014-2015 school year at the School’s two Arts Festivals, held in February and April. Both festivals were filled with phenomenal performances of many varieties and were a testament to the arts at D-E. Students across campus have many opportunities to become involved in the festivals, with groups ranging from the Eighth Grade West African Drumming Ensemble to the Handbell and Guitar Ensembles. Held in the spacious hallways and classrooms of the Klein Campus Center, as well as Schenck Auditorium, students showcased their many creative influences that help them to culturally enrich the campus year-round.
As a successful performing flutist, D-E Performing Arts Chair and faculty member John Littlefield has cultivated these seasonal events with the help of his colleagues. Welcoming the month of February, the Upper School Winter Arts festival took place on the first of the month and featured all of the Upper School ensembles, each with their own unique characteristics and musical selections to compliment them.
The annual Spring Arts Festival and Orchestra Extravaganza events featured fantastic live performances—in a packed Schenck Auditorium—from all our instrumental and vocal groups including the newly formed Lower School Winds and String Orchestra ensembles; our Middle and Upper School handbell ensembles; Dwight Mix; and the D-E Guitar Ensemble. Displays of ceramics, line drawings, watercolors, and mixed media pieces rounded out the event, which was enhanced by a reception hosted by the D-E Parents’ Association “Friends of the Arts” group. Cabaret Night, a more cozy affair in Hajjar Auditorium in late May, showcased Stage Band and Upper School vocalists in soulful performances of “Stay With Me” (Smith); “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (Porter); and “Manteca” (Gillespie), among others.
Our youngest artists and performers in the Lower School created works inspired by Monet, Van Gogh, and Pollack; dramatically demonstrated the timeless appeal of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest; and carried on a great tradition with the fifth grade’s “Crew of 52” original opera production titled Inside Out. Middle School thespians were equally inspired and created #dreaming, an original and memorable modern-day rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Within the Upper School, the Orchestra shared performances with visiting ensembles from the United Kingdom and Australia, and the spring musical, Seussical, was a hit with all ages. The elite ensemble StringJam worked on its first professional recording – click here for a preview! The Swartley Gallery was fortunate to host “Selections from the Conglomerate,” an exhibit featuring the works of Phil Young (professor emeritus of art, Hartwick College, and father of visual arts teacher Caitlyn Young), and also hosted our most accomplished student artists with the annual Senior Spotlight Exhibit (kudos to this year’s exhibit winner Isabel Levin ’15).