By Nate Efinger
This spring, Landmark High School’s Performing Arts faculty thought “outside the BLACK box” for ways to connect, motivate, and inspire their actors, dancers, singers, and technical theater students during the shift to remote learning. While the concert and recital series came to an unanticipated end for the 2019–2020 school year, we still found ways to collaborate with, influence, and motivate our students who participated in the Performing Arts.
Evening of Dance
The cornerstone of our virtual performances was our annual Evening of Dance recital. Yes, you read that correctly. We still held this annual event—just not in our traditional way. Dance instructor Evelyn Burke tirelessly pieced together videos, some from rehearsals before the stay-at-home advisory, and some recorded from Google Meet classroom sessions. The end result was a virtual version of the Evening of Dance performance. In coordination with the Marketing and Communications team, the Performing Arts Department hosted the event on Facebook and Instagram Live on May 22 and then posted the recording on YouTube. The platform gave us an opportunity to come together in a safe way, to be entertained, and to celebrate the talents and year-long dedication of our dancers.
Virtual Choral Performance by and for Our Community
In music classes, we shared our musical skills over Google Meet and other platforms. The Advanced Chorus finished a large project: a virtual choral recording of the Kacey Musgraves song “Rainbow.” We shared the sheet music and rehearsal tracks with students who worked on their part independently, using acquired skills taught during brick-and-mortar teaching. The students taped and submitted their videos to the instructor, who used video and audio editing software to create a group performance that was then adapted to include additional recordings of alumni, faculty, and other members of the Landmark chorus. We dedicated the final composition to the graduating class of 2020.
Virtual Night of Music by Jack Bram ’23
Witnessing the success of these virtual performances, Jack Bram ‘23, a student in the Exploring Music class, took it upon himself to create his own project, A Virtual Night of Music. Jack sent out the call for contributors to submit videos of themselves performing music in any format or genre. Jack pieced together several diverse performances submitted by faculty and students, as well as two pieces of his own. Dylan Timpone ‘23 served as the emcee for the show, which was presented to the community on June 18 to help celebrate the last day of a very memorable school year.
Technical Theater Takes to the Small Stage
The Technical Theater Department adjusted brilliantly to our remote learning model as well. While the class had been geared toward the practical application of skills through experiential learning, the new virtual curriculum utilized hands-on learning through a more theoretical approach. Nate Haywood, Technical Theater director, engaged his students in a challenge to create miniature models of sets for popular children’s stories. The 3D model represents Hansel and Gretel, and was designed and built by the talented Dylan Almeida ‘23.
Article originally published in The Lantern Spring/Summer 2020.