On May 14, KO held its first outdoor Arts Night, featuring performances from the Upper and Middle School band and orchestra, the select Upper School choral ensembles, the theater department, and solo performances from various students, as well as an art show featuring the works of KO’s creative arts students.
Arts Night featured the first ensemble performances at KO in nearly 15 months, and in order to comply with social distancing requirements in the state, all the stages were set up on the outskirts of the senior green with the audience members in the middle, all sitting six feet apart. There were two larger stages for the orchestra, band, and choir and a smaller stage for the individual, theater, and dance performances. The art show was held inside Roberts Theater, displaying the drawings, paintings, and sculptures from students to showcase their artistic talents.
In the weeks leading up to the performance, the excitement during rehearsals was palpable. “I could tell all the students were just as excited as I was to showcase the things we had worked so hard on all year,” Todd Millen, director of creative arts, said. As the conductor of both the Upper and Middle School band and jazz ensembles, he has been able to see firsthand the impact that having a live concert had on his students. “After the concert, everyone was talking to me about how they couldn’t wait to have a live concert again next year,” he said.
A special addition to Arts Night was a performance of “Mama Who Bore Me” from the musical “Spring Awakening.” “Since we didn’t have an official musical, it was fun to get the opportunity to sing and dance with a group of other people since I haven’t done it in so long,” junior Kyleace Hunter said. The performance featured librarian Nancy Solomon, who was a bit nervous about it but happy with the results. “It was really fun to see Mrs. Solomon go out of her comfort zone, and I think she did a wonderful job,” Kyleace said.
The performers all had a great time both watching their peers perform and performing themselves. “It was a big change going from recording to singing in front of an audience,” senior Mary Kaliszewski said, “but I think just the feeling of singing in front of everyone was really gratifying.” Arts Night really helped to foster a sense of community – something that students and faculty alike have been craving during this time – and strengthen the connections between all of the creative and performing arts students. “I really enjoyed listening to everyone else because I haven’t gotten to do that all year, and I thought they all did a wonderful job with their performances,” junior James Beerbower said.
Overall, Arts Night was a huge success. “Truly, the event was exactly what I wanted it to be and it couldn’t have run more smoothly,” Mr. Millen said. “I am really grateful for the work that all the teachers and grounds people did that went into making this event happen.”
While the plans for next year remain up in the air, the arts department is looking forward to being able to perform for a larger audience in the future.