The creative, performing, and visual arts at KO have recently advanced to greater serve student artists in their artistic practices. Beyond the annual fall play, winter musical, and student-directed one-acts, the theater program at KO under Director of Theater Kyle Reynolds has truly evolved to provide greater opportunities for artists and performers to express themselves through the arts.
The editorial board believes that the success of theater and arts in general at Kingswood Oxford deserves praise and recognition. After becoming an award-winning program with their production of Chicago, KO theater continues to implement new programs that will enhance the performing arts curriculum, which now strives to have a greater emphasis on singing, dancing, and acting.
With the Choreographer Showcase, student dancers had the opportunity to learn from professional choreographers over a span of ten weeks, as an after school initiative. This program not only improved the skills of previous theater students, but broadened the program with the addition of many new students who had never danced before. This was an opportunity for them to start their performing arts experience at KO. Moreover, the “Broadway at KO” masterclass series has served as an opportunity for students to learn from successful and experienced artists in the performing arts world. Diedre Goodwin, who visited last January, provided some great acting and singing advice to students.
Last May, Ben Frankhauser constructively critiqued students’ storytelling through physicality and emotion. Most recently, Autumn Hurlbert taught students how to properly deliver a song. All of these experiences, with many more in store, have given student artists on campus a greater guidance and opportunity to practice their skills, in preparation for KO’s theater productions and for theater in college.
KO’s success in the arts extends beyond just theater. In the visual arts department, a relatively new after school initiative by creative arts teacher Katherine Burnett, gives students the opportunity to create art free of curriculum requirements and deadlines. This encourages students to pursue their love of art outside of the classroom. With the freedom to pursue projects that interest them, students have the opportunity to evolve and develop their own styles as visual artists. Recently, Creative Arts Department Chair Todd Millen has also implemented some changes with the band curriculum. He revised the different levels of band to give students more musical exposure and worked to seamlessly integrate them into the schedule.
Basically, students now have the opportunity to play both jazz and classical music, whereas in the past they had to choose between jazz combo and concert band. This allows for students to explore different styles of music and further develop themselves as musicians. All in all, the performing, visual, and creative arts programs at KO have recently been taking steps in creating opportunities for students to further learn and practice how to express themselves through the arts, and this has served artists on campus.