300 converge here to focus on art

Published 6:06 am Friday, April 14, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Brandywine Middle/High School belonged to artists Thursday.
Around 300 students and multiple guest clinicians graced the hallways, classrooms and gymnasium of the school for the 2006 Lakeland Fine Arts Festival. All of the performers and artists were students from the high schools of Berrien Springs, Brandywine, Bridgman, Buchanan, Coloma, Cassopolis, Edwardsburg and River Valley.
The festival's theme, Give My Regards to Broadway, was brought to life through renditions of song and dance from productions such as ‘Carousel,' ‘Wizard of Oz' and ‘Death of a Salesman.'
Students were hand-picked by teachers to represent their schools in the categories of band, drama, choir and fine arts, which included ceramics, drawing and painting.
Principal of Brandywine Middle/High School Greg Jones said the day-long instruction combined with one large performance in the evening makes for an intense day.
More than 75 vocalists were belting out a chorus from ‘Les Miserables' in front of Jones and guest conductor David Crew of Edwardsburg High School.
Other guest clinicians instructed the students in Raku - an Americanized way of firing ceramics - sculpture, glass and beads, charcoal, drama, choreography and band.
Throughout the day, students were shuffled to workshops and rehearsals from one side of the school to another.
Edwardsburg sophomore Lisa Quick said the scene was a bit overwhelming when she arrived at Brandywine around 8:30 a.m.
By early afternoon, Quick and two of her friends from Edwardsburg, junior Heather Drake and freshman Renee Wilkins, had settled in and were enjoying the idea of performing with so many other students. “It's nice, actually. You interact with a lot of different people,” Drake said in-between drama rehearsals.
The day of practice and instruction was preparation for the evening's culminating performance at 7 p.m. in the school's gymnasium. The Grand Performance was scheduled to include two shows from the band led by guest conductor Robert Boerma, three drama performances headed by Randy Colborn and John Ignacio, one choir piece with Carew and a final combined performance featuring all participants in the festival.