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Denebola » Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 New wing celebrating American art open to MFA members http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/new-wing-celebrating-american-art-open-to-mfa-members/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/11/02/new-wing-celebrating-american-art-open-to-mfa-members/#comments Tue, 02 Nov 2010 08:10:23 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4983 On November 14, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston opened its new wing Art of the Americas, which chronicled American forms of art from the first millennium BC to the late 20th century. 
Being a member, I was fortunate enough to attend.  
The exhibit was divided into floors, each one defined by a specific period or style of art.  At the entrance of each level was a gallery, intended “to give a general overview and a dramatic visual introduction to the period and the MFA’s collections.  A sign says, “If your time is limited, you can travel from floor to floor and enjoy ‘Ëœa broad brush’ introduction to the wing and the Art of the Americans, by visiting just these central galleries. 
I first entered the exhibit through the lower level, which housed Ancient American, Native American, 17th century, and maritime art.
It was, perhaps, the least familiar portion of the exhibit, though certainly engaging.
And, while I wasn’t fond of the transition from Ancient American art to the more austere Puritan works of the 17th century, I was nevertheless taken aback the art on this floor. 
There were some really intricate models of ships, followed by some breathtaking metal pieces from Peru.
The craftsmanship in ancient American art was truly incredible.        
I then traveled up a set of stairs to the next portion of the exhibit of the Museum, technically on the first floor.  Here, I was met with art from colonial America to the early 19th-century. As I walked through this portion of the exhibit, I happened to overhear a small lecture on “The Passage of the Delaware, a piece done by Thomas Sully.  This piece was, frankly, enormous, nearly seven feet tall and twelve feet wide, not including the frame, which I imagine added another foot going all the way around the piece. 
Despite its size, Sully’s attention to light and dark was stunning, bringing to the front the subjects of his piece, George Washington and his horse. As it happens, North Carolina intended to put Sully’s painting in its state house.
Alas, the building could not accommodate the piece, and it was never hung.
“The Passage of the Delaware was the first piece to be hung in the new wing of the MFA.
After the exhilarating visual experience on the exhibit’s first and ground floor, I then traveled upward to view 19th century and early 20th century art.  Having studied American History last year, I was probably most familiar with the portion of the exhibit.  I immediately recognized a piece done by Thomas Cole, whose work I have studied extensively.
Much of the work on this floor was in an impressionistic style, which brought together the traditional elements of previous artistic approaches with loose, visible brushwork.  
What also drew my attention was the way in which some of the artwork was hung on this floor of the art show.  In the 19th century, curators were apt to fill every square inch of wall space with work, endowing their galleries with a sort of cluttered effect. 
This style of gallery, however, is no longer popular, since it confuses the viewer’s eye. 
Curators today are careful not to overcrowd the walls of their shows. Still, this part of the exhibit was certainly entertaining, as it transported the viewer into a 19th century gallery 
Finally, after climbing up three flights of stairs, I reached the last portion of the exhibit, which displayed 20th century art through the mid-1970s.
Of course, there were some works, particularly Georgia O’Keefe’s desert inspired paintings, that were fairly recognizable, at least in my eyes. 
But, there were, perhaps, more artists with whom I was not familiar on this floor. 
Some of the art was abstract; some work relied on the human image. The range of artwork on this floor alone was incredible and made the visual experience of walking through the gallery all the more exhilarating.
Take, for example, the modern, clean furniture from the 1940s displayed in the back room of the exhibit.
Furniture from mid 20th century America was largely composed of bold shapes and forwent the traditional, ornate elements of furniture from previous decades. 
Here, on this floor of the exhibit, was an absolutely fabulous chair, accompanied by other really sleek, intricate household items.  What was more interesting, however, was the history behind this furniture.  After World War II, manufacturing infrastructure used to support the military was repurposed for the assembly of furniture. 
As veterans and their growing families moved into the suburbs, there was a heightened need for household equipment.  
Overall, I’d say this exhibit was pretty stellar. The work was diverse, ranging from ancient metal pieces to modern abstract paintings. This wing, without a doubt, left me with a renewed appreciation of the American culture.
Needless to say, I definitely plan on going back.

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Talented teachers explore the arts http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/talented-teachers-explore-the-arts/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/talented-teachers-explore-the-arts/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 08:06:27 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4819 As hard to imagine as it may be, South teachers harbor talents in fields other than education, specifically music and dance. 
Dr. Paul Estin, who teaches history and psychology, has been a keen musician all his life. He first forayed into music at the mere age of nine, when he learned how to play the violin’€an instrument his older sister incidentally played as well. Since then, Estin has learned to sing and to play other instruments, such as the guitar, ukulele, harmonica, and bass guitar.   
Estin enjoys playing in a variety of styles, for example, jazz. And, in addition to playing by himself, Estin has actively participated in several bands. “Dr. Snark was my original band, but I’m the only remaining member, Estin said. “I was also in a band called Don’t Fret the Small Stuff for a short period of time, but the organizer moved to Ohio. [Additionally, I am often involved in a] few, informal jam sessions and what not with other musicians. 
Similarly, physics teacher Derek Van Beever, has immersed himself in music. He mainly plays the acoustic and electric bass, but he also dabbles in the guitar and piano. Van Beever began playing the electric bass while he was in high school, when a friend lent him an instrument.   
Sharon O’Connor, who works in the mathematics department, is also a performer; however, she is drawn to dancing, specifically tap.
As a little girl, she learned to Irish step dance, but, as she entered her twenties, O’Connor started to attend tap classes at night. Since retiring from teaching, however, O’Connor has been able to take classes during the day.
She also devotes herself to the tap group About Time Tappers, a local adult ensemble with dancers between the ages of 35 and 87.
“The same feeling you get from any kind of sport you get from dancing. It’s exhilarating, O’Connor said.
Unlike O’Connor, Van Beever devotes himself to music. His taste in music covers a wide range of genres. “I will pretty much listen to anything as long as it is good. I am not too up on the current music scene though, Van Beever said.  “I used to listen to only rock music, but now I am open to country, hip hop, Afro-pop, classical, and whatever categories you want to name.
Estin, on the other hand, has a strong affinity for comedic music. He is particularly drawn to the band Da Vinci’s Notebook, but he also enjoys listening to several Canadian groups with notably quirky names, such as Arrogant Worms.
Estin explains that, as a performer, he prefers comedic music because it allows him to be more entertaining. “When I first started performing, I didn’t feel very confident as either a singer or guitar player so I wanted the audience to at least be entertained, and using humor seemed like the best way to do that, Estin said.
Estin’s niche for playing comedic music is filk’€a genre of music belonging to science fiction. “Filk has been variously described as ‘Ëœnot so much a genre as a community,’ Estin said. In addition to playing filk, Estin will admittedly also play traditional folk and rock music. In his listening, his tastes are broader, ranging from musicals to hip-up and electronica.   ­­­
While Van Beever and O’Connor refrain from using their talents in the classroom, Estin has, from time to time, planned lessons that incorporate music.
“I especially love when I can sing a song that’s relevant to a class topic, Estin said. 
 “Last week, in studying Hinduism in my ninth grade World History class, I played ‘ËœDivine Monkey,’ a four-minute musical version of the Ramayana, and ‘ËœGalileo,’ and an Indigo Girls song about reincarnation, Estin said.
Of course, in his class, Estin will only employ singing when he believes its usage is appropriate for class discussion.
“Music is useful both as part of a topic’€music and the arts are part of history, how we hear and enjoy music is part of psychology’€and as an alternative way to convey ideas, one which maybe gets a student’s attention a littler better, Estin said.  
Outside of the classroom, Estin further displays his musical talents. 
Since he began teaching at South, Estin has performed every year in the Faculty Talent Show. His performance routinely receives a standing ovation and attests to Estin’s humor. 
Van Beever and O’Connor have also performed in the faculty talent show and, like Estin, have been widely acclaimed by students.
While dedicated to the subjects that they teach, South teachers engage in pursuits outside the academic world.

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Vaudeville meshes together diverse talent in one show http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/vaudeville-meshes-together-diverse-talent-in-one-show/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/vaudeville-meshes-together-diverse-talent-in-one-show/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 08:04:52 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4823 ­From September 30 to October 2, South Stage Vaudeville put on a show with plenty of variety and lots of laughs. The vaudeville-style show, a form of entertainment once popular in the early 20th century, was directed by Jeff Knoedler, and stage managed by senior Jocelin Weiss.
Knoedler suggests that the appeal of Vaudeville lies in its range of theatrical elements. 
Vaudeville is unique in that it combines comedy with singing and dancing.  It is theatrically singular and brings together a diverse group of acts. 
Vaudeville has attracted actors of all sorts, and, in recent years, the genre has been assimilated into a more modern format. “George Burns, Milton Berle, and Harry Houdini all had careers on the vaudeville circuit, and some performers made the transition to radio and later TV.  We can still see the influence of vaudeville in sketch comedy shows and segments on late night TV such as Letterman’s Stupid Human Tricks, Knoedler said.
South’s own Vaudeville show certainly lived up to expectations, showcasing the multitude of talents of South’s students.
Sophomore Rebecca Shapiro exalts the range of theatrical elements apparent in Vaudeville’s style of entertainment, noting the “plenty of variety in our acts- there [are] comedic skits, songs, dances, gymnastics, and just about everything that could be put into a show.  
Though sporting a primarily younger cast, the show proved no less competent or engaging. The acts were peppered with clever, sometimes off-color jokes; the audience was certainly never bored.
With tones ranging from serious to comedic, acts from stunts to dances, there’s really no way to describe Vaudeville except as an amalgam of thoroughly entertaining sketches.
The show opened with the entire cast on stage, in all their costumes. “Another Openin’, Another Show, they sang, shedding light on the thoughts of performers of such vaudeville shows.
Comedic skits were plenty, even incorporating some Jewish jokes geared towards the particular audience from Newton. The announcer, “Master of Ceremonies sophomore Zoe Clayton cracked constant jokes, keeping the audience entertained throughout. Though many of these jokes, as well as others during the acts, were cringe-worthily corny, they were perfect for the show and added a great touch to the whole experience.
Unique performances included sophomore Leyah Melikian’s rhythmic gymnastics routine, with flips and ribbons. Along with junior Annie Humphrey who delighted with a gymnastics routine, the two went on later in the show to pursue an interconnected plot between their acts, with a sharp and cutting brawl between best friends.
Sophomore Raphael Kasobel amazed the crowd with his impressive command over knives, even if they were fake ones. A combination of knife spinning and a light show, it was certainly a highlight.
Sophomore Emily Ho added some ethnic variety to the acts with a Chinese dance, “A Rose for You.
Even oddities of nature were not too weird for Vaudeville. Sophomore Hayley Goldstein and Junior Charlotte Cohen played Siamese twins in “Two Peas in a Pod, a delightfully witty number that highlighted the strained relations such closeness can bring.
Musical numbers were many. Sophomores Samantha Boucher and Alex Conrad each sang beautiful solos, “My Funny Valentine and “My Man, respectively, adding a more serious tone.
Even the musical accompanist, junior Josh Harlow, got his own solo number, playing some cool jazz piano.
South Stage Vaudeville clearly lived up to the historical style of vaudevilles, and at the same time put on an enjoyable show for the modern South audience.
This year, South Stage’s decision to do a Vaudeville show means that it would replace South’s previously annual improv show and cabaret.
“South Stage Vaudeville is a combination of the previous year’s improv show and cabaret. Variety was the key to successful vaudeville shows. Producers would line up all kinds of performers from singers and actors to acrobats and animal acts.  Comedians and novelty acts were especially big draws, Knoedler said. 
According to Knoedler, the first production slot, normally held by the improv show, is better suited for a variety show. Improv, which requires a native wit, intimidates some South actors.
“For this first production slot, we need a show that has flexible casting and can be successful with an abbreviated rehearsal process. Our improv show fits this description, but since some actors are scared of improv, we weren’t getting the interest levels we needed to cast it well, Knoedler said. 
“A variety show like Vaudeville seems like a perfect solution: actors can work on their scripted pieces or songs independently over the summer and can begin rehearsals on the first day of school with the bulk of the work already in place, Knoedler said.
Even the auditions were a grab bag of performance styles. “There was a monologue audition for acting, an audition for a singing part, and a dancing part audition, too. To prepare for the show, we were given our scripts and songs over the summer to practice and memorize our lines before school started, Shapiro said. 
And, although Vaudeville was the first show of the year, Shapiro noted that students were neither anxious nor nervous about the performance. 
“I don’t think it’s more stressful because it’s the first show of the year, I think it’s more because of school just starting, so it’s difficult to balance getting used to new classes and getting work done and focusing on the show at the same time, Shapiro said.    
Since Vaudeville is a mix of comedy, music, and dance, the show developed over the course of several scenes, many of which were not related.  
“Most of the scenes aren’t related, but a few are, just by the characters in them. There are two actors playing a married couple, and they’re in multiple scenes together, though not all of the scenes are directly related besides the people in them, Shapiro said.
Ultimately, Vaudeville was certainly a success. “South Stage Vaudeville aims to take the audience back in time to 1920 with costumes and comedy sketches from the period and songs in the style of vaudeville. With an evening of song, dance, and comedy, there [was] something for everyone, Knoedler said.

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Actress ventures out of her comfort zone and onto TV http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/actress-ventures-out-of-her-comfort-zone-and-onto-tv/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/actress-ventures-out-of-her-comfort-zone-and-onto-tv/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 05:29:50 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4075 South has nurtured the talents of many noteworthy movie and television actors, namely John Krasinski and B.J. Novak. Like these theatrically adept South students, junior Madeline Schulman has recently entered screen acting, and auditioned for a role in the sitcom Quintuplets.

Schulman received notification of this opportunity from her father, who insisted that she audition.

She had little experience with screen acting and felt that an audition would broaden her skills.

“I’d never really done any camera acting before so it was a good opportunity to find out more about it, Schulman said.

During her audition at the Boston Center for the Arts, Schulman remained calm and poised.

“They were really nice and definitely tried to make me feel comfortable. I guess I didn’t feel much pressure because I knew that I was auditioning for more the experience than any expectation that I was going to get the part.

Schulman had rehearsed scenes beforehand, but did not have to memorize them.
At the audition, Schulman read with one of the casting directors; however, she spoke for only a few minutes.

“It was the quickest audition I’ve ever been to, Schulman said.

Though she would enjoy playing a role in the sitcom, she will not be disappointed if she is not cast.

The intent of her audition was not to acquire a part but rather to expand her expertise as an actress.

“I always like to audition as much as I can just for the experience, but I think this particular audition gave me a really nice taste of screen acting and the film business. [Screen acting] is much more concise than theatre, both in time management and the actual script. I was a little skeptical about acting on screen before, but now I kind of like it, Schulman said.

While opportunities like that of Quintuplets are infrequent, Schulman is interested in pursuing screen acting. She remains keen on pursuing stage acting first and foremost, however. Nevertheless, Schulman refuses to agonize over her future.

“I’m not thinking that far ahead yet.

Schulman is confident that she impressed Quintuplets’ talent scouts.

She still hesitates, however, before declaring her audition a success. She found her lack of familiarity for screen acting to be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

“[It] was not my best, but they had me read it a few times after giving me some direction and I always like that in an audition because I feel comfortable taking direction…I guess it was all so new to me that I didn’t really know how to evaluate myself because I didn’t know what they, or any other film director, are looking for, Schulman said.

Screen acting and stage acting are distinctively different mediums.

According to Schulman, screen acting is more condensed. Its monologues are generally short, and its stage directions are more descriptive.

Also, cameras play an integral role. Consequently, screen actors bear the burden of both a larger audience and greater scrutiny. “The camera is so close up that everything needs to be looked at a little bit closer, Schulman said.

After leaving the audition, Schulman was pleased with her performance.“I just felt lucky that they had let me read it more than once. I also felt a little surprise because the audition was so short. It was much more direct than any other audition I’d gone to and I wasn’t really sure whether or not I liked it at first, she said. Schulman is more accustomed to stage acting, but she has used her recent audition to expand her expertise as an actress.

While Schulman did do the audition to expand her expertise, one day she may very well join the ranks of South’s most famous alumni.

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“Art Step-Up Day” enlightens eighth graders http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/%e2%80%9cart-step-up-day%e2%80%9d-enlightens-eighth-graders/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/%e2%80%9cart-step-up-day%e2%80%9d-enlightens-eighth-graders/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 08:33:30 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3858 The art department of Newton South successfully kindled an interest in the arts among eighth graders currently attending Brown and Oak Hill Middle Schools.

Over the past month, teachers collaborated to arrange an opportunity for eighth graders to survey high school art classes, thereby fostering an awareness of Newton South’s art offerings.

Not all students decided to attend Newton South’s several “art step-up days, a phrase coined by studio art teacher Megan Crist. “Eighth graders who had me before signed up to go, Brown’s art teacher Chris Vaillancourt said. The experience was completely voluntary and by no means a requirement of her class.

After days of rain, the journey across the field was strenuous. Nevertheless, neither the students nor the teachers were discouraged. In fact, students strongly enjoyed visiting the art classes. “Kids loved it [and] some of the kids were speechless, said Vaillancourt. “Students liked meeting teachers because they could put a face to a name.Newton South “has an exciting creative environment that is the product of an outstanding fine and performing art department that should be shared with the incoming freshmen, Crist said.

While many students were hesitant about voicing their individual concerns, teachers encouraged them to ask questions. Ms. Crist said that students “looked impressed with what Newton South had to offer.

The students received a tour from Mr. Knoedler, head of the fine and performing arts department at South. As a visual arts teacher, Vaillancourt felt more inclined to visit the visual art classes.

When eighth graders visited studio art, they “got to see the students in action, working on paintings, drawings and prints, Crist said. In addition, students were invited to view the honors and advanced artwork, currently exhibited in the hall display cases.

Students also spent time in the ceramics room. Ceramics teacher Karen Sobin-Jonash, recalls that students who saw her wheel-throwing class immediately expressed interest in taking the course.

Reflecting on the art step-up day, Sobin-Jonash explained that students with an interest for the arts gained a greater understanding of the courses that appeal to them. After piloting the event, she affirmed that it was a success.

Vaillancourt’s sentiments were similar to Sobin-Jonash’s. She explained that students voiced their preferred mediums with enthusiasm. After visiting mixed media, one student expressed strong interest for the class and later revealed plans to enroll in the course. Other students expressed intrigue for different mediums as well.

One student was thrilled at the possibility of designing outfits for the drama department. Upon receiving a brochure of Newton South’s art offerings, Vaillancourt distributed them among her students who visited Newton South.

Students “were quite excited when they came back, Vaillancourt said. She trusts that Newton South will see increased enrollment in ninth grade art classes. Newton South should expect to receive students with a strong passion for the arts next year.

While the art step-up day was a major success, Vaillancourt will supervise the event differently next year. Instead of overseeing 20 students by herself, she will either reduce the number of students that she chooses to bring or request a substitute teacher for assistance.

She has also contemplated how she will handle lunch in years to come. This year, students hauled their lunches from Newton South and ate them in Vaillancourt’s room before returning to class.

The collaborative effort to enlighten middle school students about Newton South’s art offerings proved to be a success. In light of this triumph, the Newton South art department is eager to host eighth graders in years to come. With this in mind, middle school students can now seek to attain a better understanding of Newton South’s art offerings before enrolling in classes.

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Art Focus: Stephanie Fong http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/art-focus-stephanie-fong/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/art-focus-stephanie-fong/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2010 08:29:34 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3652 Stephanie Fong has always enjoyed art as a form of self-amusement and has consistently impressed her audience with its stunning detail and fabulous craftsmanship. Though every piece involves a lot of hard work, Fong finds the overall process rewarding.

She works with nearly all mediums of art, ranging from pastel to pencil.  While she does not take art classes outside of South, she spends most of her leisure time working on her pieces, a testament to her strong passion.

Fong spends up to six hours or more on paintings and drawings and devotes a comparable amount of time to working in her sketchbook.

She spends her weekends drawing, where she will sometimes work on art for two days straight.

Fong attributes her strong artistic dedication to her parents.

“As a child, I remember watching my mother draw for hours, she said. “Back then, I never understood why [someone] could sit for five hours or more, just to draw one piece.

Her father also promoted her appreciation of the arts by introducing her to his architectural projects. As a child, Fong used to design her own dream house.

While her parents have pursued art, she hesitates to choose art as a career. “I’m scared that I might lose interest one day, Fong said.

She definitely wants to pursue art during college and has applied to both art schools and liberal arts colleges. Like most seniors, Fong remains uncertain about what she wants to pursue later in life. She is considering psychology, but remains undecided.

Fong takes AP Art, a course that stimulates creative inventiveness and demands a strong dedication to the arts.

While some of her previous pieces were done whimsically without any form of planning, her work this year requires more artistic thought.

Each piece must have meaning and display a background story in order to appeal to its viewers, Fong says.

Over the past few years, she has learned to hone her skills and develop an aptitude for a wide range of artistic mediums.

Fong has learned to use various materials, allowing her skills to improve. “I never used oil pastel before but after a few strokes, I got the idea of how to use it. Sometimes I just have to challenge myself to try new things.

With this outlook, Fong continues to hone her creative deftness and learn new techniques that demonstrate her artistic ingenuity.

As the end of her senior year approaches, she is interested in being selected “Best Artist as her senior superlative. Though she has discovered that some of her peers have voted for her, she is still concerned that too few people know of her artistic talent.

Fong has also submitted a portfolio to a competition called the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards this year. While she did not receive an award for her work, she is not discouraged as she recognizes that the judges’ tastes change every year.

Outside of her art, Fong enjoys other interests, which include playing on the school volleyball and badminton teams.

She has been a member of the volleyball team for four years and is also currently the president of the badminton club. While she has no favorite academic subject, she enjoyed studying chemistry.

With encouragement from her peers, many of whom are artists, Fong has pursued her passion while still hanging out with her friends.

“To me art is everything. I’m a fan of art more than anything in the world, she said.

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Seniors consider the arts as they draw out their futures http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/seniors-consider-the-arts-as-they-draw-out-their-futures/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/seniors-consider-the-arts-as-they-draw-out-their-futures/#comments Wed, 23 Dec 2009 07:59:14 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3339 As South’s senior art students apply to college, many are now contemplating how they will assimilate their passions into their future endeavors.

Hannah Fürgang is a funny, charismatic senior with a strong passion for theatre. Recently, she has performed in the performances Burial at Thebes, Macbeth, Guys and Dolls, and The Miracle Worker with South Stage and The Producers and Wonder of the World with the Newton Summer Stage. Currently, Fürgang is preparing for her upcoming role as Alice in Sweet Charity.

Though Fürgang has been a part of theatre throughout her four years at South, she has considered pursuing a future outside of this. “I love theatre but I can honestly say that I hate the competitive nature of it, so I’ve crossed it off of my list of career aspirations, she said.

Nevertheless, Fürgang, who will attend Tufts next year, has not completely eliminated the arts as a possible major she might pursue. “I still want to explore it further in college, she said. “If I do an arts-related minor, I’d probably choose music.

The lack of security in a career has steered many students away from art-based professions. “I don’t want to choose a profession that would depend so much on auditions and physical health and looks and other factors that I can’t control, she said.

Instead, Fürgang will probably incorporate theatre in other ways. “I don’t want my job to be completely monotonous, but I’d rather complement it with art than have art be the main focus.

Like Fürgang, senior Ariel Kirshenbaum has also prioritized her interests. “I’ve never planned on doing anything big in college pertaining to the arts, but now I think I want to minor in it [¦] I don’t really care about the esteem of the school’s art program’€as long as there’s an opportunity to do it, I’ll be happy with that.
Like many other art students, Kirshenbaum’s interests cover a wide range from athletics to art.

While Kirshenbaum and Fürgang will pursue the arts to a lesser extent, other students intend to study the subject more keenly. South Art teacher Megan Crist explains that “this year it is hard to tell what the majority of students are interested in pursing.

At the same time, “This year seniors are leaning towards liberal arts colleges with a strong art program, she said.

Crist believes that some students will reassess their interests after they enter college. “Two or so people find that their favorite course is the art course and transfer [to a liberal arts school], Crist said. With this in mind, students who reevaluate their college plans can find comfort and solace.

Senior Noa Belfer is one of the seniors who has decided to pursue art in college. As an AP Studio Art student with many years of experience, Belfer is only applying to art schools.

“I value art more than any other interest or school work, she said. “For me, art has become a priority. I find it more important to do well in art class than to succeed in my other classes.

Still, Belfer has a few concerns about the process, believing that there is not always enough information on art colleges. “Even if you know a school is good, it is often hard to find information about a single program within the school, she said.

Belfer also remains uncertain as to what she plans to study. While she is considering illustration or animation as possible majors, she is still undecided.

Nevertheless, Belfer is confident in her decision to attend art school rather than a college of the arts and sciences. “I make this decision, just like I made the decision to go to art college, because I am more passionate about arts than anything else in my life, Belfer said.

Belfer, Fürgang, and Kirshenbaum are all enthusiastic about what lies ahead. Though senior art students face the same dilemma, the decision they ultimately choose will not restrict them from pursing their passions.

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Art classes offer more than just art http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/art-classes-offer-more-than-just-art/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/art-classes-offer-more-than-just-art/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2009 07:44:19 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=2890 The ban on students’ lunching and snacking in the traditional but unhygienic stomping ground of South’s lobby has led them to journey to the 9000s’€the art rooms’€for the comfort and seclusion not offered in the cafeteria.

The art rooms are unique in that they remain unparalleled in their capacity to house several cliques as a single group.

As Glass and Mixed Media teacher Jeffrey Wixon explains, students enjoying the comfort of the art rooms are “one big happy family.

“There is some variety, but generally, all of the people who eat in the glass room like the same atmosphere and typically know one another, junior Brittany Bishop said.

It is this comfort and familiarity that makes art rooms so inviting.

While there are subtle distinctions between social groups that inhabit the art rooms, the cliques that constitute this body of students are extremely interconnected.

The atmosphere of each art room is strikingly different, and offers students a variety of social hangouts from which to choose.

The studio art room, which usually houses no more than ten students when classes are not in session, provides a more tranquil environment for students seeking to finish art projects while simultaneously chatting with friends.
In the furthermost part of the room are worn sofa chairs that echo the warmth and comfort of the beds students left at 6:30 that morning.

“The art room is an awesome place to do work, art-related or otherwise, or just to hang out. It’s always quiet, with plenty of room, and you can come in to do some extra work on a project pretty much any time during the day, junior David Melly said.

In contrast to the more intimate feeling offered in the studio art room, the neighboring mixed media and glass rooms furnish a more lively and bustling atmosphere for students seeking more social opportunities.
“Friends can go in and out without being yelled at by the teachers and the atmosphere in general is very relaxing. When I go to the glass room, I feel like I am able to do anything, whether that includes actual glass, homework, listening to music, or hanging out, Bishop said.

Social cliques who enjoyed the environment of the South lobby and halls prior to the institution of the new food policy, which prohibits students from eating on the floor, have largely found repose in these rooms.
“I think that if the hallways were still open to the students for eating, the [number of] people in the glass and mixed media rooms would decrease immensely, Bishop said. “When it comes to hanging out and eating, the glass and mixed media rooms are definitely the most popular.

Karen Sobin-Jonash, the Sculpture, Ceramic and Mixed Media teacher, offers an opinion for why the ceramics room is generally less crowded than the glass and mixed media room during lunch.

She explains, “Mr. Wixon’s room is probably more popular during lunch because it is cleaner, she said.
Students have found it somewhat uncomfortable to eat at tables covered in dust and ceramic clay.

Additionally, while a “decent number of people go to photo, Bishop said, the room is somewhat small and smells of chemicals used in photography.

“I think that if the hallways were still open to the students for eating, the [number of] people in the glass and mixed media rooms — Brittany Bishop ’11

That being said, all art rooms are great places for students who share similar interests to pursue a passion or simply hangout.

“I usually eat in the glass room, but even that can be a little full sometimes, and the [studio] art room has a much quieter atmosphere. Every once and a while I will go eat in there when I need to do work or something, Melly said.

Mr. Wixon attributes the popularity of his rooms to their proximity to the cafeteria, constantly streeming music, and, multitude of tables for students to enjoy eating their lunch at with their friends.

These provisions and the lively atmosphere have generated popularity that has come to greatly rival that of the cafeteria.

While Bishop and Melly are emblematic of Newton South art students, the glass and mixed media rooms also open their doors for students who may not be enrolled in an art class at South.

“The art rooms definitely do not appeal only to the art students. Now that the hallways are off limits, many people tend to go to the art rooms for lunch, Bishop said.

The increased popularity of the art rooms has led to a large amount of student traffic in them.
“Mr. Wixon always talks about the [number] of students in his rooms and how he can’t go out to lunch anymore because he has to watch over the rooms, Bishop said.

While there have been no serious issues to date, if students continue to leave their rubbish behind, Wixon will be forced to suspend the availability of his art rooms during lunch.

With that in mind, Bishop reflects on the possibility of eating in the cafeteria. “I, personally, would hate to have to go back to eating in the cafeteria, she said.

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Maya Lee-Parritz http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/30/art-focus/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/30/art-focus/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2009 05:59:27 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=2593 Senior Maya Lee- Parritz represents one of the rare “triple-threats in the performing arts. Lee-Parritz’ unparalleled devotion to dance, singing, and theatre are plainly obvious, and catapult her to a level of technical skill that few possess.

Whether or not she continues to exploit her aptitude in the performing arts later in life, Lee-Parritz will always find comfort in these endeavors.

During her younger years, she kept her talent for singing largely to herself. Yet, when the Oscar winning movie Titanic opened in theatres, her talent surfaced, ultimately catching her mother’s attention. After singing the motion picture’s widely acclaimed song, “My Heart Will Go On, Lee-Parritz’ mother enrolled her in the local choir.

While her mother was quick to support Lee-Parritz in her pursuit of singing, she was slightly less enthusiastic about her daughter’s interest in dance. Lee-Parritz’s parents were concerned that joining dance classes would force her to succumb to “peer pressure; however, despite her parents’ initial unease with dance, “it turns out that I really loved it, Lee-Parritz said.

Unlike singing and dancing, Lee-Parritz’ talent for theatre surfaced later in life; as a freshman, her friends encouraged her to begin auditioning. After Lee-Parritz’ performance in Urinetown, she began to seek other opportunities in theatre.

“Everyone has that one thing that they do to express the things they can’t express with words.
– Maya Lee-Parritz, ‘Ëœ10

Recently, Lee-Parritz has also been cast in the South Stage productions Woman and Wallace, Guys and Dolls, and Edges.

That being said, Lee-Parritz argues that her true passion lies in singing and dancing, rather than in theatre. “Dance is an expression of my soul, Lee-Parritz said. To focus on ballet, she has transitioned from a general dance school to a school that focuses solely on ballet.

Although she recognizes ballet is the hardest style of dance to master, she believes that it helps hone the fundamentals of body movement and spatial configuration. Lee-Parritz spends approximately three hours a day on ballet every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as a way to relax before starting her homework.

When she is not dancing or finishing homework, Lee-Parritz practices with Newton South’s nationally recognized a cappella group, Newtones.

Lee-Parritz’ experience with Newtones began during her freshman year when she felt the need to get involved upon entering high school.

Although the likelihood of being selected for Newtones seemed improbable, she was ultimately among the fortunate few chosen to participate in the group.

Since her audition, Lee-Parritz has been given countless opportunities to practice and demonstrate her singing abilities. Last year, the Newtones collaborated with Ben Folds on his new album.

“[We] spent five hours with a celebrity, but talked to him as if he were a friend, Lee-Parritz said.

Newtones also performs at school events, at Acafest, and at an a cappella competition in New Jersey. Although Newtones is a high school organization, “we want to be at the caliber of college students, she said.

While she is surrounded by popular music chosen by Newtones, her passion for folk music remains unchanged. Lee-Parritz recognizes that there is a clear distinction between what she likes to listen to and what is most practical for the a cappella group to sing.

“I like Bob Dylan but Bob Dylan doesn’t translate well into a cappella, she said.

Despite her passion for the performing arts, Lee-Parritz is considering either literature or psychology as a potential major in college. Although her childhood ambitions of being a professional ballerina or a pop star have evolved, Lee-Parritz is still looking for a college that offers singing, dance and theatre.

Lee-Parritz views her artistic abilities as a unique means to express herself.

“Everyone has that one thing that they do to express the things they can’t express with words, she said. Lee-Parritz puts her soul into dance, music, and theatre, which allows her to channel her thoughts and emotions into her performances.

She acknowledges that through her experiences at Newton South she has been able to perfect these artistic abilities.

Depending on where she goes to college, she hopes to return to Newton South to watch the productions put on by South Stage.

Lee-Parritz is a talented young woman with a fine skill for a multitude of performing arts.

While dance, theatre, and singing may not ultimately represent her chosen profession, her experience and success in the arts will undoubtedly help her to pursue any endeavor she seeks in the future.

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Shakespeare collaborative triumphs over budget cuts http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/05/13/shakespeare-collaborative-triumphs-over-budget-cuts/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/05/13/shakespeare-collaborative-triumphs-over-budget-cuts/#comments Wed, 13 May 2009 16:57:12 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.sandbox.denebolaonline.net/?p=2336 The annual Newton North/Newton South Shakespeare collaborative Macbeth soldiers on despite this year’s budget cuts to the theatre programs.

“Shakespeare has proven himself able to bring out the struggle of the human heart, but it seems Shakespeare has more recently brought out the struggles here in Newton, said Jim Honeyman, a Newton South English teacher and director of last year’s Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet.

In May of 2008 the FY09 Allocation Budget, which encompasses all areas of the Newton School System, was formulated to itemize what support various school programs would receive. In the report, Supplementary Music and Drama was cut by 24%, which included “The loss of all elementary plays and musicals, the reduction of middle school theatre productions by one half, and the elimination of the joint high school Shakespeare Project. 

As a result, after 25 years of bringing the works of Shakespeare to life, the North and South Shakespeare program was about to be eliminated.  

Cast member sophomore Abi Oshins was beyond upset when she heard that Newton’s treasured Shakespeare program was going to be eliminated from the school system’s budget. 

“I was so mad, I said that I’d fund the show myself if I had to but I wasn’t going to let them take away Shakespeare, she said.

“The Shakespeare production just means so much to those involved and I think that that will be made apparent to audiences when they come see Macbeth, Oshins said.

Nonetheless, almost miraculously, this year’s Shakespeare production, Macbeth, is scheduled for  May 14-16 in South’s Seaholes  Auditorium.  

“I think what [the Newton School System] did was they started charging fees for elementary school instrumental lessons and that allowed them to make up the funds that they would have to cut from us, said Theatre Department head, Jeff Knoedler.

The cast and crew of Macbeth are grateful for the chance to once more be a part of Newton tradition. Knoedler agrees with Oshins that the Shakespeare program is indispensable. 

“I think it is valuable that we have Shakespeare productions at our school.  I think it’s a great asset to the community because it involves both North and South. Principal Brian Salzer said.

Oshins is thrilled about her show’s highly acclaimed premiere.  The directors and cast have embraced the fact that Shakespeare is open for interpretation, thus the directors may incorporate modern elements by using more current army attire found at a salvation depository. 

Oshins also explains the show is an enjoyable bonding experience for students from the different schools. Before they begin to review scenes from the script, the entire cast participates in a warm-up game. “There was a clear separation between the North and South kids, but by this point we’ve really bonded with each other.  The North kids are so talented and so much fun to work with, Oshins said.

Knoedler also believes that the show has offered an opportunity for students from Newton North and South to work together as a single company. “We have a North lighting designer for Macbeth and some others are working on the show, Knoedler said.

Overall, the cast each year for the Shakespeare program is usually split equally between students from North and South.

Knoedler also reveals that Macbeth was chosen due to its salability and rousing script.

“We wanted a play that was marketable¦ It was a play that people could get excited about, Knoedler said.

With a play that people know and felt passionate about, South stage could work towards protecting it’s funding.

Ultimately, Shakespeare offers a challenging script that challenges the actors with unique language.

“Stylistically radically different from the way modern people think, because Shakespeare puts it in the language and modern playwrights don’t, Honeyman said.

Macbeth provides for many actors the chance to sharpen their skills so that they can apply their acting to a wide variety of texts and scripts. 

For Oshins, Macbeth has given her a rewarding experience as both an actor and a human being. Like many participating actors, the Shakespeare program has convinced her to continue to act in Shakespeare’s plays and perhaps direct Shakespearean productions in the near future.

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