Last night was the Upper School Spring Concert and Arts and Letters Evening, via Zoom of course. Typically held in the Chapel, it is a night to celebrate the hardworking musicians and artists on our campus. The night opened with a duet by Mrs. Simard and Mr. Byrnes as a tribute to vulnerability and courage that each student must have as a musician. They performed "This Land is Your Land" with Mr. Byrnes on the guitar to express the need of unity during this time during the pandemic and the disagreement on opinions in our country.
First, we saw a slideshow of Wooster artists' work. We got to see a variety of styles and personalities, well representing our diverse and talented student body. Many seniors have worked hard this year to create collections of drawings, paintings, sketches, and other pieces that are still available to see in the online exhibition.
We saw performances from C.I.E., Chamber Ensemble, and Madrigals, where each performer was in their own video carefully stitched together to create a new take on band performances. What many of us don't get to see is the work these students put in every day, and have all year, to get ready for the concert. This was a perfect way to capture and share the hard work of each musician with the community.
This year, the program was very creative. In addition to the typical concert agenda, we got to hear poetry written collectively by students. In a piece called Seasons, we got to hear the literal and literary voices of many. We also got to excerpts from the Upper School show, Secret Garden, which was performed this Winter.
As the last part of the night, the Arts and Letters Society Inductees for 2020 were named. Students with ten or more art credits are inducted in junior or senior year. The description of this reads as: "The mission of the Arts and Letters Society is to promote the aesthetic growth of the Wooster community. This includes generating relevant programs that educate, enlighten, and excite the student population by exposing them to a culturally diverse world rich in music, theater, dance, the visual arts, film, literature, and poetry. The committee works to further the development of a campus enlivened by the arts, connect the Wooster community to the larger world, and promote the self-expression and creativity of all."
Ms. Carlson explains that "this society is a group of faculty and students committed to promoting the arts at Wooster. We share ideas, support one another's aesthetic efforts, provide arts experiences for the Wooster community, and serve as a forum for collaboration. Arts and Letters reflects Wooster's culture of thinking and learning and strives to make the arts visible at Wooster and in the greater community"
In addition to the inductees, the recipient of the Cordelia Manning Award was named. Cordelia Manning was the Director of Admissions at Wooster and founded the Arts and Letters Society to showcase the talents of students in the arts. The description of the award says:
"The Cordelia Manning Service to the Arts Award is named after Cordelia Manning, Wooster's Director of Admissions from 1995 - 2001 and the founder of the Arts and Letters Committee. This award, presented annually, serves to recognize a student who has demonstrated a love and dedication to the artistic and cultural life in the Wooster Community. It is awarded not for a specific talent but instead for the commitment and work that goes on to help artistic undertakings come to fruition, be they plays, concerts, exhibits, or publications. Often the work takes place behind the scenes; and is often unglamorous and thankless."
This year, the award went to Morgan Reilly, a student committed to her role in Madrigals and in the theater program. Her time and hard work that she has dedicated over her years at Wooster have made an impact on many on campus, both students and faculty.
This night was a special culmination of all of the arts on campus. This was an important tribute to all of the efforts our students and teachers have put in throughout this year, even while stuck at home. Even while restricted to online resources, this night was still a special showcase of the talent we have here in our community.
Arts and Letters Inductees:
- Olivia Ambrosio
- Nina Bigelow
- Tori Ingulli
- Lindsey Jarrett
- Lily Newman
- Isha Patel
- Alice Purkiss
- Will Russell
- Chris Strilowich
- Reggie Stuhr
- Avery Wadehra
- Anastasia Wei
- Amy Zhao
- Luke Borrero
- Meghan Bourgeault
- Max Chelso
- Bella Friedman
- Morgan Nolan
- Michaela Yang