Brian Handley conducting the finale
VAPA (Visual & Performing Arts) was in the spotlight last night at Carmel High School as a capacity audience had an opportunity to see what their kids have been up to on campus when not cracking the books or engaging in gladitorial combat on the playing fields. This was an evening to honor students’ artistic creativity, and I mean creativity in just about every medium and genre you could imagine. It involved song, dance, poetry, drama, animation, photography, art, costumes, masks and some tongue-cheek-clowning
Since the theme of this presentation was “Around the World in 60 Minutes,” we observed music, dance and art from just about every corner of the earth, often introduced by a student coming out to address the audience in a foreign language about what we were about to see or hear. We were hearing announcements in almost as many languages as Baskin-Robbins has flavors, or so it seemed. Because there were no subtitles, programs or program notes, I am not able to give credit to the many individuals who had important contributions and starring roles.
Having observed events at CHS featuring the drama and music departments, I was prepared for their high quality production values. What surprised me was the contribution by the photography and video production departments. The photographs from all over the world contained some arresting images, one of which was the intense stare of a young boy up to his neck in water. As you looked into his eyes, you wondered was this just an average student in the CHS swimming pool, or was there a darker, deeper emotion simmering just below the surface of his gaze?
Young Boy in Water
A striking video was the montage of interviews with people from many different countries sharing with the camera little snippets of their personal feelings and attitudes. Less serious but especially entertaining was a series of short video animations, each one centering on a different country. Because Latino music and dance have been so influential during the past century, it is no surprise that we heard a fair share of Latino traditional and jazz music, including an extended and elaborate tango.
Music Instructor Brian Handley seemed to be everywhere, not only conducting several ensembles, but also directing traffic and moving props on stage in between sets. When you figure that well over 100 students were involved in this entire production, a lot of effort and time went into its preparation. It was worth it.