The Art of Inquiry
Those who attended all three nights of the 2011 Arts Festival could not help but be impressed with the range and quality of performances from the Junior, Middle and Senior School items; these were three nights of superb entertainment with many items warranting a second viewing.
Held every second year, the Arts Festival was originally conceived as an opportunity for each and every boy to be able to demonstrate his involvement in both the static and performing arts. This year, the art displays were put on show for the first time in the Jubilee Sports Centre where the stairways and nooks and crannies made for interesting display venues for paintings, drawings, mixed media, sculpture, ceramics and the Open Shutter photographic competition. Confident buskers also made the most of the venue both inside and out hopeful of collecting spare change from those who stopped to listen - this was to be donated to the Tear Fund Waitoto Choir. This was the first foray into the use of the JSC as an art gallery and the spacious architecture lent itself to easy viewing of the comprehensive displays. The Old Collegians’ Function Centre on the top floor, along with the adjacent courtyard made a perfect venue for a ‘pre-show dinner’ at the ‘Cafe de Garcons’ where students, suitably dressed with a ‘touch of Paris,’ sold a range of goodies to supplement the meal.
However, the main focus of each evening was on the musical and dramatic performances in the J C Chalmers Hall. Each syndicate had their own show night and it soon became clear that an enormous amount of work had been undertaken to bring these performances to the stage. Attending all three nights allowed the viewer to see the full array of developmental talent that spans the eight years of our School and also to gain an understanding of the many meaningful learning journeys that underpinned the work in our classrooms to bring these performances to fruition. The sub-title of this year’s festival was ‘The Art of Inquiry;’ a reference to the inquiry style of learning. It became evident that a great deal of prior learning had been undertaken. From a dance routine showing emotions at Year 2, through the powerful poetry of Hone Tuwhare in Year 5, to a forensically investigative drama at Year 8, the Arts Festival demonstrated the value of an integrated curriculum based on authentic learning opportunities.
During the course of the year, the boys have been studying dance and drama with the team from Performance.net with support from our own staff. Together, they combined to bring us a fascinating range of dance and drama that was at one moment funny, and the next thought provoking and emotional. Over the course of the year, the boys have developed their skills to be able to deliver a confident performance that in some of the items in particular, belied their years.
The Junior School focussed on an inquiry about how stories entertain and inform us, allowing our imaginations to grow. Amongst their performances was the depiction of Joy Cowley’s ‘Cricket Storm’ and the great rumpus of Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where the Wild Things are.’
The Middle School focus was New Zealand-centric with some very powerful dance performances depicting majestic, restless volcanic landscape of the central North Island, the cultures that make up New Zealand and a wearable arts parade as a dramatic response to the letter from Mother Earth to her children -‘Dear Children of the Earth.’
The Senior School focussed firstly on the power of media advertising, bringing the year Rugby World Cup to life. Their second focus related to their classroom study of forensic science, culminating in a thought-provoking dance that dramatised a car crash as a result of drink-driving; a powerful message from our youth, to our youth.
The Arts Festival was the culmination of an enormous amount of work from an enormous amount of people with the combination of friendship, food and art making for a most enjoyable occasion.