Review: Spring Into The Arts Senior Schools

April 28, 2023

[Written by Dale Butler]

The arts in Bermuda are flourishing in all areas and age is never an issue to growth and development, as revealed on the Ruth Seaton James stage on Thursday, April 20th when acting officer for the arts, Mrs. Shannon Rose Robinson, sat with pride as parents and friends enjoyed the hard work of teachers and the performers during “Transformations: A fresh perspective”.

Seven senior schools delighted the audience with jazz, song, dance, and skits. It was an evening worth more than the token $5 we paid for entry. There were numerous highlights:

  • Saltus Jazz Band directed by E. Cagen opened with “Road Song” by Wes Montgopmery with a very gifted team of young players who should feel proud to have tackled this standard. The second song “Cold Duck Time” by Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra left us wanting more. It was clear that this very competent group, with their teacher also performing, were determined to leave behind standards like Summertime and expose us to something where they could really flex their muscles.
  • The Berkeley Institute Dancers directed by Ms. Nikita Manders used “Freedom” by Beyonce gracefully to give us a beautifully choreographed dance. The two dancers were followed by 5 dancers who did an excellent dance to “Cool Off” by Missy Elliott.
  • Warwick Academy Choir: directed by Mrs. D. Friessen, consisted of about 25 very young high school students plus 2 teachers who gave us two songs that were highlights, “Memories” being one”. Well done.
  • Somersfield Dancers: directed by Ms. E. Moran-Lee. Out of nowhere came this classic dancer wearing a beautiful “pancake” Tutu rarely seen in this day and age with too much “funk, punk, rock dance.” This student is destined for greatness and why she made the front cover of The Royal Gazette. Using the music “Drigo:Esmeralda -Pas de deux” and holding a tambourine which became a signature for this dance from its inception from the day it was presented by the Ballet of Her Majesty’s Theatre, London , on March 9,1844. The auditorium was dead quiet as we witnessed a star in the making. Two additional pieces by other students, “For Free” song by D.J. Khaled with three dancers and “Lip Gloss” by Lil Gloss were off the chart and well coordinated. A third dance with 5 dancers to the song “Deja Vu” by Beyonce featuring Jay-Z left the audience demanding more. The dancers burned up a lot of energy. And we received a reward with a 4th dance “Arrival of the birds” [2008 - from the album Les Ailes pourpres “Le Mystere des flamants.”] A beautiful and strong piece of music which the dancers used to shine. Impressed.

Sprint Into the Arts Review April 2023

  • CedarBridge Academy piano duet: student Kenshae Richardson and event coordinator and CedarBridge Academy music teacher Tiffany Fox performed “What a Wonderful World”. Euphonious.
  • Saltus piano solos: directed by Mr. C. Cooper. “Toccata” written in 1932 by Aram Khachaturian who went on to compose the well known ballet Spartacus. The piece chosen by this gifted and talented SGY 2 student, Tamara Leach, who is about to sit her ABRSM grade 8 examination, allowed her to show of her “touch” without any sheet music as she kept the audience in the palm of her hands with full chords, high harmonies, rapid runs and virtuoso elements. This was no “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” piece to cover. This was serious music. Wow. She deserved a standing ovation. MC for the evening teacher Gina Davis had to admit she was “amazing.” Bermuda Festival material.
  • Warwick Academy vocal solo directed by Ms D. Friesen. The student sang confidently in French, Derniere Danse [2013] by Indila which was nominated for the World Music Award for the World’s Best Song in 2014. Well done. Well done. Remember she is in a “High School” and not the Julliard, Boston Conservatory or the Curtis Institute of Music. Definitely another candidate for the Bermuda Festival.
  • Mount Saint Agnes ensemble: directed by Mr. M. Pastor. A good 4 piece band and 3 singers and a choir performed Love You Zoe, Without You, I’m So Blessed, and Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi. The two young male singers were spirited and stirred up the audience. The school offered a lot. Well done.

I have made comments about each school and realize that there were ffve more acts also with great performances but space does not permit me to continue. Be that as it may I commend the organizers, the teachers and students for providing a great insight into the work taking place in our schools. This was by no means a competition. Students appear to be much more confident, enthusiastic and almost “accomplished” on stage and I can only additionally salute:

  • The Berkeley Institute ensemble directed by Mr. Johnny. Woolridge. Congratulations to Dominique Brown who wrote a tribute to honour him as he retires.
  • The Saltus theatrical skit directed by Ms. T. Bean
  • The CedarBridge Academy Strings directed by Ms. T. Fox
  • The CedarBridge Vocal solo: directed by Ms. T. Fox
  • The Berkeley Institute theatrical extract ; directed by Ms. J. Williams. The Greatest Showman [See full review on Bernews]

The “showcase” events are a must attend and continue as follows:

  • East family of schools, Wed. May 3rd, 6.30 – 8.30 p.m. at Clearwater Middle School.
  • Middle/West family of schools, Thurs. May 11th, 6.30 – 8.30 p.m. Ruth Seaton James Auditorium, Cedarbridge Academy.
  • Middle/East family of school, Thurs. May 18th. 6.30- 8.30 p.m Whitney Institute Middle School.
  • West family of schools, Wed, May 24th. 6.30 – 8.30 p.m.Sandys Secondary Middle School. And look out for the art exhibition in May.

- Dale Butler is a former President of the teachers union [1981] during which time the annual school cultural pageant was revived. In 1995 it was resuscitated by Dr. Shangrila Durham Thompson now acting Assistant Director for Curriculum and Assessment and called “Spring into the Arts”.

Read More About

Category: All, Entertainment