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Arts Abound in Lower School

Nobody will stop you from creating. Do it tonight. Do it tomorrow. That is the way to make your soul grow.
Kurt Vonnegut

Last week, the Lower School took over the Carol Franc Buck Hall of the Arts with a remarkable Lower School Art Exhibition, followed by our annual spring showcase Arts in Action music and dance performances. Artwork from the entire Lower School was on display all week in the lobby, and parents and guardians flocked to both events to cheer on their performers.

An artists’ reception was held early on in the week, during which Middle School students Kailash B. ’29 and Leona B. ’29 played piano as the backdrop to the artistic experience. “Walking into the gallery space filled with natural light and breathtaking colors was magical,” exclaimed Director of Lower School LeaAnne Parlette, crediting Art Teacher Susan Turner for her creative artistic guidance. “The artistry with ceramics, weavings, sculptures, chalk, and paint was stunning.” 

Later in the week, families, guardians, and special friends returned to campus for Arts In Action, a music and dance performance by students in third, fourth, and fifth grades, where guests were treated to a diverse setlist of music and dance. 

The Fourth and Fifth Grade Rock Band opened the show with songs by The White Stripes and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, under the direction of Music Teacher and Band Director Ari Giancaterino.

Next up was Dance Explorations, an after-school dance class taught by Dance Teacher Alyssa Carnahan. The students gave the audience a taste of this popular dance class, demonstrating warm ups and stretches, followed by a choreographed piece.

The Third Grade Band then performed “Yellow Submarine,” incorporating singers, ukuleles, and marimbas, led by Music Teacher Steve Pierce. 

The Fourth and Fifth Grade Chorus sang an arrangement of the song “A Million Dreams,” where students took turns passing the mic and bravely singing solos. They were accompanied on piano by Music Teacher Louise Nalbandian. The chorus also combined solos and group singing on the recent pop hit “West Coast.” 

Then it was time for Fourth and Fifth Grade Percussion, who showcased the school's brand new marimbas on an African-inspired song entitled “Mbira Jam.” Students intertwined three different marimba parts with drumming for a lively performance directed by Mr. Pierce. 

The Fourth and Fifth Grade Violins shared two songs, demonstrating great progress on their instrument. For “Sweet Strings Swing,” Violin Instructor Turi McClain led them as they bowed notes and danced their feet at the same time. The Fourth and Fifth Grade Cellos also shared two songs, showing off their progress with bowing and fretting notes, directed by Cello Instructor Amy Leung. 

Everyone loved the musical jokes delivered by students to entertain the audience—complete with the drummer from Rock Band to provide essential “rim shots”— while the stage crew set up instruments for the next act. 

Lastly, the big finale to close the show! Rock Band, Cello, Violin and Chorus all collaborated to perform an old 80’s hit, “The Promise.” It was arranged and directed by Mr. Giancaterino. Mr Pierce called this group of over fifty students “the debut of the Lower School Orchestra.” After the show, families enjoyed refreshments in the lobby surrounded by Lower School artwork, while congratulating their proud artists and performers.