Woodland hosts annual Fall Fine Arts Night

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BEACON FALLS — Jazz legends John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Thelonius Monk all were revived, so to speak, at Woodland Regional High School’s Ninth Annual Fall Fine Arts Night Tuesday.

An 11-piece student jazz ensemble, led by music teacher Stephen St. Georges, hammered out original arrangements of Coltrane’s “Blue Trane,” Monk’s “Blue Monk” and Davis’s “Four,” among others.

Electric bassist Samantha Schwind and percussionist Jameson stock hold down the rhythm section in a jazz ensemble performance at Woodland's Fall Fine Arts Night Tuesday.
Electric bassist Samantha Schwind and percussionist Jameson stock hold down the rhythm section in a jazz ensemble performance at Woodland's Fall Fine Arts Night Tuesday.

Four electric guitarists, an electric bassist, two percussionists, a pianist, and three sax players donned black dress and mimicked the cool jazz cats of yesteryear, perhaps recalling attendees’ memories of smoky cosmopolitan nightclubs and the warm, crackling analogue of vinyl.

“I was very impressed with the size of the ensemble,” said Susan Cinoman, theater arts director for Woodland, “And also with the improvisational nature of the music, how well the kids can improvise but still follow the band leader.”

But bebop and cool jazz weren’t the only offerings in the art wing of Woodland on Tuesday night. A stripped-down choral performance, accompanied only by pianist Nick Barra, followed on the ensemble’s heels. Sean Lewis led the 24-piece chamber choir, who performed “Agnus Dei” and “Espiritu de Dios,” a traditional Cuban song, among others.

In addition to these two ensemble performances, all four vocal registers were represented throughout the night by solo performances in a separate room: Corinne Marshall, an alto, performed Antonia Caldara’s “Alma del Core”; Ryan Frechette and Artian Kica, tenors, performed Francesco Durante’s “Danza, Danza Fanciulla”; Dan Lyons sang “Nina,” of unknown composition; and Sarah Melville, a soprano, performed Antonio Caldara’s “Sebben Crudele.”

The music department’s prodigies weren’t the only ones flexing their creative muscles; throughout the night, artwork from students of all four art teachers, Kristen Lengyel, Susan Lewis, Lisa Seagren, and Chris Misuraca was on display in the fine arts wing. Before the musical performances, visitors browsed varied 2-D and 3-D artwork in various media. The works of Rachel Englund, Daniel Park, Kelsey Dumond, Ariel Duby, Stephanie Badale, Taylor Byrne, Zach Naylor, and others were featured.

The Fine Arts Booster Club provided refreshments.

Susan Lewis, Fine Arts Department Head at Woodland, said the school holds the event twice a year, once each in the spring and fall. The department tries to tie in the fall event with homecoming weeks and “that whole lead-up to Thanksgiving break.”

Lewis is looking forward to coming arts events, like a concert band performance in December, a choral performance in January, and a district-wide fine arts night in April, which will feature work from artists of all ages, music from fourth- to 12th-grade students, and interactive arts booths for children.

In addition, the department will submit artwork to both the state- and national-level Scholastic, Inc. Art and Writing Awards.

In the past, Lewis said, “for such a young school, [Woodland] has done really well.”