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By ANGELA WOODS
Many young artists of Kentucky recently spent three weeks at Transylvania University in Lexington for the Governor's School for the Arts program.
Of the more than 1,500 high school juniors and seniors who auditioned for the program, only 241 were selected to attend. The program offers in-depth instruction in one of nine artistic disciplines: architecture, creative writing, dance, drama, instrumental music, musical theatre, new media, visual arts or vocal music.
The student artists were immersed in a rigorous schedule of daily seminars, master classes, lectures, hands-on workshops and field trips.
During the intensive three week program, students were immersed in a rigorous daily schedule of seminars, lectures, master classes, hands-on workshops and field trips, allowing them to refine techniques and explore new concepts. GSA is a college-like experience for the students, and focuses on performance, discipline, history and theory.
The experience showed Luke Wilkins “what it would be like if I decide to be a vocal music major in college.”
“If I go into dance in college, which I plan to do, I’ll be more prepared for that because at GSA I’m dancing all day, everyday,"
said dancer Michael O’Neill. "Being at GSA has taught me to give it my all, no matter what; even when you mess up, you get back up and try again.”
Meaghan Spencer of North Oldham High School attended GSA for instrumental music on the piano. “I have learned how to practice better and how to perfect music even more than I thought possible,” she said.
Taran Parsons participated in visual arts. “Being at GSA makes me look deeper into myself to figure out what I really want to express.”
On a typical day, students were engaged in studio time in three blocks: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2-6 p.m., and 7-10 p.m.
“It has been tiring, but completely worth it," said Whitley County student actress Victoria Petry. "I thought I loved art, but now I know I do.”
Reilly Richardson agrres. Participating in the musical theatre discipline, Richardson said, “I have learned more at GSA than I ever have in my life anywhere else.”
During the time not spent at studio, students were treated to a variety of professional performances, including the Flamenco Louisville dancers; acting by Phillip Cherry; a vocal music performance by Hope Koehler; a trumpet recital by Vincent DiMartino; a dance performance by the Crossing Lines Project; the Cincinnati Klezmer Project, which performed authentic Jewish folk music and invited students to dance on stage; Broadway performer Mary Hart; a band called The Betweeners; and Bridgman/Packer Dance, and more.
The faculty at GSA also performed throughout the program.
The program also offered interdisciplinary activities to "immerse" students in other areas of arts. "Immersion Day" was held for each of the nine disciplines, offering a "smorgasbord," or "smorg" of classes to introduce specific concepts.
For example, on Instrumental Music Immersion Day, "smorgs" included "The Wonderful World of African Music," "Mystery and Mayhem: Music for the Films of Alfred Hitchcock," "So, You’ve Always Wanted to Play the Piano" and "Writing Your Own Music."
“Participation in different art forms enriches what the students do in their own discipline,” said Scott Locke, Ph.D., a member of the instrumental music faculty at GSA.
Along with an opportunity to collaborate and share aspirations with other young artists, GSA provided a "family" atmosphere, in which participants encouraged and motivated each other.
“It’s great to be around people like myself, people that are creative," James Hart, a visual art student, said. "In my community, there aren’t as many people like that, so it’s great to be in this community of artists.”
Craig Brauner, a drama student, agreed. “Being at GSA is great. I’m with a bunch of artists, with a bunch of people like me who are striving to be their best too.”
“We’re all in this together and we all want to see each other grow,” Teran Sundy, who participated in the creative writing discipline.
“GSA has changed who I am as an artist, and as a person," said,Jenna Day, a musical theatre student.
Angela Woods is a junior this year at Carroll County High School and is a free-lance writer for The News-Democrat. She also was named a Governor's Scholar and attended the arts program to study instrumental music for the flute.