Berkshire Arts & Tech Students Show Off Talent

By Robert MangiameleiBerkshires Intern
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Art teacher Rachel Branham choreographed this year's showcase.

ADAMS, Mass. — BArT students put on dazzling performances and in various fields of the arts for their semi-annual Art Showcase recently.

Through art, paintings, photos, choir, drama and creative writing, the students at Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School, displayed talents that reflect the college-preparatory public school. Parents and teachers alike came out on Nov. 17 to enjoy their youngsters' artistic skills.

One aspect that was different from previous Art Showcases was the addition of dramatic and musical performances along with the topping of some slam poetry.

"This allows people to see the time and effort these students put it to their art," Assistant Principal Christopher Hayden said about the event. "They get to share their pieces and time with parents, who don't always see the hard work that goes into our showcase, and this provides the perfect opportunity to bond with the community."

With a student body of 280 and a student-teacher ratio of 10:1, it wasn't hard to catch someone's piece or performance.

BArT's goal is to raise each student's aspiration by delivering an innovative, supportive educational program.

Visual arts teachers and department leader Rachel Branham had the opportunity to choreograph this semester's showcase.

"The showcase is holding its own as an integral component in BArT's community events calendar," she said. "I'm looking forward to our next showcase in March already!"

For the first hour, parents, students and teachers browsed the 8th-grade Gallery Exhibitions, which featured abstract watercolor triptychs and still life drawings. The opposite side of the gallery featured high school drawings, AP-2D art and digital photos that expressed ideas and captured moments. Regardless of the age, many works sparked interests from the viewers as they planted their feet and gazed at their favorites.

At 7, the high school choir performed six songs for the crowd. With all the choir members bellowing out their tunes, it was easy to notice the hard work put into each song. Two classics, Billy Joel's "The Longest Time" and Nikolas and Valerie Ashford's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," were obvious favorites from the crowd's reactions. Their performance of "Ritmo" required choir members to clap sporadically throughout the song, which spiced up the performance overall. Their rhythmic pattern, sharp tunes and high key notes perfectly led the way for the school's thespians.

Some monologues were next with the tone and mood set by each performer. With outlandish acts, cunning lines and word-for-word emphasis, no one was left unsatisfied. Many actors made the crowd laugh but all performers got huge applauses at the ends of their monologues.

The final conclusion brought the crowd into the free-spirited world and mind of slam poets. It was evident that a lot of time and emotion was put into each poem that was read. Freshman Caraghan Hadfield and junior Chip Kirchner were two popular poets while math and creative writing teacher Curtis Asch was the emcee for the event. It was the perfect finale to a night of art.

"I think this year's showcase was a huge success," said Branham. "I think that the students are beginning to understand the value of arts education, and I am proud to be a part of it."

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