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Have you ever had an experience that made you know you were really alive? I don’t just mean alive as in living and breathing; I mean a time when you felt as though you could do anything you put your mind to?
I had this type of experience at Governor’s School for the Arts this summer, where I studied instrumental music on the flute. The faculty members were amazing performers and teachers. They were encouraging and positive, and helped us improve our music in even the most minuscule ways.
I was able to work on chamber music in small ensembles that included instruments I had never played with before, such as a flute/clarinet/oboe trio, as well as a flute and viola duet.
I also learned to improvise music to fit scenes that some of the drama students at GSA acted out. Music students were paired up with drama students, and each group had 45 minutes to make up music to fit the drama scene. We then performed for our peers. It was like putting music to a movie scene.
I also performed with the GSA choir at two churches in Lexington, once for an interdisciplinary night and the other for the final day performance. Though I only knew a few of them the first time I rehearsed with the choir, the vocal students made me feel right at home. I was overwhelmed by the power and beauty of the various choral voice parts blending perfectly and felt truly honored to play my flute with such an awesome group.
Each discipline had an immersion day during which all activities were focused on that discipline; various classes called “Smorgs” (short for smorgasbord) were offered based on that discipline.
During visual-art immersion day, I took “Experience the Living Figure.” In this class, we took turns posing and drawing in charcoal. I’m not the greatest visual artist in the world, so I preferred posing over drawing. Nonetheless, the teacher gave me useful tips.
On new-media immersion day, I participated in a “Claymation” smorg. First, we sculpted figures in clay. I created a smiling apple with the head of an evil gargoyle on top.
Then we broke into small groups to create short movies by taking photographs of the figures to make them “move.” Seven photos were required to make one second of movie time. When we were done, we watched our movies. In my group’s movie, a bunch of figures were dancing and partying, and then my apple/evil gargoyle entered. A clown slipped on a banana peel and his foot knocked the evil gargoyle head off the smiling apple. All the figures then fell to pieces. As silly as this seems to me now, is was a very interesting process.
The morning and evening performances were always spectacular. My favorite performance was the Bridgman/Packer Dance. Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer choreographed and performed dances that involved highly complex video and projections on screens. The dances were very interesting, but the technological twist made them even more intriguing because the screens were constantly playing tricks on my eyes.
I went to GSA to become a better flute player, but I left much more than that. This three-week summer program broadened my horizons by teaching me about other artistic disciplines and by introducing me to all types of people from across the state. I have made many friends with whom I will to stay in touch.
I have learned that there are many people in the state who share my dreams and desires. I anticipate interacting with these students again, as we are all striving toward artistic and personal perfection, as well as toward world improvement through the arts.
Angela Woods is a junior at Carroll County High School and is a free-lancer for The News-Democrat.