Winter Choral Concert
Posts Tagged ‘Camden Hills Regional High School’
The following article is reproduced from the Courier Publications’ Village Soup on February 10, Editor Dagney C. Ernest.
Christensen is a professional potter who currently works with the sgraffito technique on porcelain. He creates thrown and handbuilt forms and uses the ancient technique of sgraffito for surface design. This technique entails coating the clay with black clay slip or underglaze, and scratching through to reveal white clay underneath.
Christensen has demonstrated his working technique and discussed his sources of inspiration. He uses the medium of clay to tell stories about the natural world and our relationship with nature. He explained that he typically starts a piece with the beginning of an idea in mind, and draws intuitively with a freehand technique directly on the clay. During the process of drawing on the clay, the full “story” of a particular piece develops. The idea from one piece may lead into another, until the entire story emerges in a series of clay forms.
Students began their projects working with sgraffito on flat, leather-hard tiles, drawing into the underglaze with a variety of tools. Christensen is meeting with students several times and will develop the project further with handbuilt and manipulated slab forms with sgraffito.
This artist residency is sponsored by Youth Arts and the CHRHS Art Club with advisor Brown. For more information about the artists, visit timchristensenpottery.net.
This is the 36th in a series of blog posts telling arts teacher’s stories. The first 19 were told last year by the phase I Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leaders. The series continues with the stories from the phase II teacher leaders. These posts contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.
Suzanne Southworth started teaching in NY where she grew up and has now taught for 15 years in Maine Public Schools. Currently, Suzanne is at Camden Hills Regional High School where she has been for the last 6 years. The courses she teaches change up from year to year but she always teaches the Jewelry classes and usually teaches the Advanced Art Portfolio class. This year the IA teacher and Suzanne piloted a course that they call Metal Sculpture where students learn basic welding techniques and learn to use those skills to design beautiful metal sculptures.
“The thing I like best about being an art teacher is that it gives me the opportunity to help students learn to work with their hearts, hands, and minds together as well as the ultra focus it takes to be a successful artist. In today’s busy world it is so important to teach subjects that engage students this way. I also really like the ever-changing subject matter and the excuse to constantly search for my own inspiration in order to share the joy of the art making process with my students.”
What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?
It doesn’t take much to run an art program but if you want a really good successful program you need to have organization, dedicated art professionals who work hard in the classroom, advocate for the program and exhibit student work, and a community who supports.
I was involved in the MAAI this year and found that after learning so much I realized how much I still need to learn. In my short career everything has changed so much and I find myself digging my heels in, refusing to update my way of thinking. I think I still do to some degree but the change is happening. What it has done for me is to see how the arts have never been more important to the well being of our next generation. As a parent and a teacher there is not so much of a buffer from a child’s environment to do what is right so, it is up to us to arm ourselves with the knowledge to protect and educate our youth at the same time.
How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?
I feel that through well crafted assessments we can engage students and make learning personal and relevant. My favorite assessment is a written reflection. I find that having regular assessments in the classroom to be a useful tool in keeping both teacher and student in check. I also like the idea of keeping teachers accountable for good teaching practices and students engaged in their own learning process.
What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?
Being a part of the Arts Assessment Initiative has made me so much more visible in my school and Regional area. It has been so nice to really know what the new ideas in education are and not be left in the dark during staff meetings and workshops. The best thing I got out of it though was the networking. Art Educators are generally pretty dynamic people. Just being around other conscientious Art teachers is a real boost to my attitude toward teaching and provides me with a lot of inspiration.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am most proud of the results I see in my students work and being there when they make a breakthrough in their work and their individual ideas and watching them go through the stages from directed work to independent.
What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?
The thing I find most difficult about my teaching is the number of hours outside of the school day needed to do a good job and the multitude of other aspects of my teaching assignment.
What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?
One of the things about teaching art that looks easy from the outside but takes a great deal of skill is to create an environment in the classroom that is conducive to “thinking” and creativity. Where there is a balance of “free thinking” and guided structure. I think this is a gift that you either have or you don’t but that it can be developed and improved regardless of the level of talent in this area.
Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?
If I were to give advice to other teachers I would say to keep updated on what is going on in art education. It is amazing how much voice we have here in Maine and we are fortunate to have people watching our backs at every level. Those people need our help in understanding the concerns of the classroom. Without our everyday art teacher input the decisions and initiatives won’t work to cater to the needs of our very real programs.
If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?
If I were given $500,000 I would hire a team of top-notch educator’s who would write curriculum complete with the core standards, assessments, and technology and any other requirements. The team would write curriculum and build a library of lesson plans and boxes filled with non-consumable tools and materials to support the lessons that could circulate per request of the teacher throughout the State of Maine.
Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?
Years from now I think I would look back and be really proud of the number of students who went on to continue with creative pursuits but I would also think that perhaps I did not get the concept of “Don’t sweat the small stuff so well and that I had a darn good job!
Thank you Suzanne for sharing your story!
Center for Maine Contemporary Art
On Saturday, April 27 the opening for the Annual Student Exhibition at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport was held. The CMCA staff worked with Camden Hills Regional High School art teacher Carolyn Brown to organize arts activities for children and families which saw around 330 guests! Student volunteers from CHRHS helped with the activities for younger children.
This year the show includes student work from Appleton Village School, Hope Elementary School, Lincolnville Central School, Camden-Rockport Elementary School, C-R Middle School, Camden Hills Regional High School, PeoplePlace Cooperative Preschool, Ashwood Waldorf School, Riley School, Children’s House Montessori School and the Community School.
The exhibition will be open until May 12, Thursday -Sunday, 1-5 pm.
Camden Hills Receives High Marks at Music Festivals
On April 3rd, 140 Camden Hills Regional High School Band and Chorus students and 14 chaperones boarded three Cyr coaches to travel to Virginia Beach to take part in the Fiesta-val Music Competition. Despite the 17 hour bus ride, the students were excited to have the chance to sing and play at a National music festival. A last minute change in plans by the Fiesta-val company to change the festival location from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg, actually became a boon for the ensembles; as they were able to also take part in a concurrent music festival in Williamsburg, hosted by Heritage festivals.
Friday, April 5th began with a 6:30 AM departure for one bus load of students. The CHRHS Chamber Singers and Women’s Choir, plus a few loyal supporters, climbed on board for the lengthy ride to Williamsburg to sing before a panel of three judges at the historic Kimball Theater. While there, the students had a chance to hear choirs from other schools, with fine performances by Lakeland High School from northern New Jersey. The choral ensembles finished their performing and quickly boarded the bus, with some students changing outfits into Band uniforms, in order to meet the other two buses of students at WarHill High School for the Fiesta-val portion of the day.
The CHRHS Jazz Band performed first, and students quickly grabbed gear and instruments from beneath the bus in their efforts to set up the Jazz Band in time for their warm up and competition performance. The schedule continued with the CHRHS Concert Band performance, followed by the three CHRHS chorus ensembles: Chorale, Women’s Choir, and Chamber Singers. Lunch was a dizzying dance of schedules in between the performances, with some students changing outfits from Band uniform to Choral formal wear.
Finally the last leg of the full performance day was near: three buses were scheduled to travel to Heritage High School in Newport News, VA for the Concert and Jazz Band Heritage Festival performances. Unfortunately, it was at that time that a major snag hit the stream-lined plans. One bus broke down, refusing to move from the War Hill HS parking lot. Suddenly, students, instruments, and chaperones were juggled to allow all instrumental students and gear to load on to two buses to quickly travel to the next performance destination.
While the busload of students left behind relaxed in the parking lot, another unforeseen calamity occurred. A major traffic emergency stalled the two functioning buses for over an hour on the freeway- delaying the performance times of the two CHRHS instrumental ensembles. Finally, with determination and goodwill by all; the stranded students were picked up and the 140 students, instruments, and chaperones squeezed onto two buses to make the last leg of the journey back to the hotel in Virginia Beach.
On Saturday, the students had a chance to relax and ride at Busch Gardens and the day culminated in two Award ceremonies. At the Fiesta-val Award Ceremony, schools were graded on a national scale of standards with awards of Superior, Excellent, Good and Fair. We are happy to say that Camden Hills students swept the awards: The CHRHS Chamber Singers, Women’s Choir and Chorale received Superior awards and the CHRHS Concert Band and Jazz Band received Excellent Awards with the Concert Band being only a tenth of a point away from a Superior Award. Special recognition was given to the Jazz Band as they received the “Outstanding Brass Section Award.” Judges’ Commendation Awards were given to four individuals: Rebekah Johnson, soprano; Aidan Kaczynski, tenor; Alex Crans, tuba and Camilla Walker, French horn. The Chorale received a Champion award in their category, and the Concert and Jazz Bands swept the competition with 1st place awards, the Grand Champion Award, and a Highly Distinguished Conductor Award to Nancy Rowe.
Later in the evening, the Heritage Festival Awards were announced. Again, CHRHS proved that they could perform well, even under the pressure of a long and arduous day. The CHRHS Women’s Choir and Chamber Singers both received Gold Awards with Women’s Choir placing 2nd and Chamber Singers placing 1st. Aidan Kaczynski was again recognized for his solo with a Maestro Award. Both chorale ensembles received invitations to next year’s Heritage Festivals of Gold and Carnegie Hall. The CHRHS Concert and Jazz Bands received Silver Awards, with the Jazz Band receiving special recognition; and Orion Krause received the Maestro Award for his solo in “Mr. G. K.”
The musical travelers arrived safely home on Sunday, April 7th, with many thanks to the chaperones and the bus drivers. Ms. Rowe and Mrs. Murphy would like to thank the Five Town Community for their support of the Band and Chorus students.
Portland Museum of Art
The 19th annual Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) Youth Art Month opening took place this past Saturday at the Portland Museum of Art (PMA). This year marks the 33rd anniversary of YAM which is celebrated to emphasize the value of art education and to encourage public support for art education.
PMA Director Mark Bessire, organizers Stacy Rodenberger and Dana Baldwin, and PMA exhibition designers and installers did an incredible job displaying the 123 pieces of Maine K-12 student artwork. The PMA site states: Sharing this work by K-12 students allows the museum to recognize the value of art education for all children and to encourage public support for quality school art programs.
Congratulations to Manon Lewis for coordinating the event and for the other MAEA board members for their contributions. And congratulations to the teachers who took the time to select the work, transport it to Portland, and provide the information for display. In many cases the teachers attended the opening reception to celebrate their students.
The Saturday event also recognized 2 Outstanding Art Educators: Asa Adams Elementary School K-5 art teacher Nancy Lloyd-Fitch and Camden Hills Regional High School art teacher Carolyn Brown. Both well deserved recognitions for their years of dedication to Maine students.
All the work in the show is outstanding, located near the entrance of the museum and the 4th floor, and will remain on display until March 31st. I recommend that you don’t miss it!