Four OHS staff members pointing above at a large sign that announces the performance for the day. The sign says
Credit: Michael Skura

After a variety of different acts and performances, National Arts in Education Week has come to a close. Starting on Sept. 12, twirling colors and vibrant dances had showcased themselves in the Oswego High School auditorium during periods 4-7, bringing different cultures and expressions alike. From Visual Jazz Art to long, explosive dances, there was something for every student to enjoy.

Started in 2010 by the National Arts Education Association, National Arts in Education Week is a countrywide celebration that acknowledges and highlights the artistic and creative sides of American education. This can include anything from slam poetry to interpretive dance, painting, and many more. The performances are meant to spread awareness and introduce students to activities that may interest them. OHS has been celebrating National Arts in Education for 10 years, helping introduce students to the programs the school has to offer. 

“With OHS being such a big school, Arts in Education Week really puts a lot of clubs and groups out there that people might not know about, and also just the importance of the creative output that is available for people that doesn’t just come from a painting or dance class,” Hanna Hill, a coach for the Pantherettes, who performed a routine on Sept. 15, said. 

Performances started on Sept. 12 and ended Sept. 16, each day starring a different group or extracurricular that OHS has to offer. Students were given the chance to go down to the Barnes Performing Arts Center to watch students perform during their guided study period. “It’s basically to showcase all of the creativeness that happens in school and encourage kids to take creative courses, whether it’s in English, in music, in theater, visual arts, dance, or if any other programs wish to join us in celebrating creativity in general,” Michael Skura, the fine arts department chair at OHS who is responsible for organizing Arts in Education Week at OHS, said.

The performances shown throughout the week were as followers:

Sept. 12 – Jazz Monday

Jazz ensemble performing on September 12th
Credit: Michael Skura

The award-winning OHS Jazz Ensembles performed musical numbers, featuring a bass, drums, keyboard, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, and clarinet. Joined by dim lights and a spotlight on the talent,the auditorium became a setting that highlighted the band as they performed. “It was a really good performance,” junior Ayden Berrones, who was in the audience, said. “Especially during the solos; they were crazy.”

Sept. 13 – Show Choir Tuesday

Show choir performing on September 13th
Credit: Michael Skura

The renowned OHS Show Choir performed a music arrangement by Brian McCallister. The group performed music such as “Race With The Devil” and many others, filling the auditorium with the captivating voices of passionate choir students.

Sept. 14 – Word Wednesday

English teacher and creator of the creative writing curriculum for Oswego High School, Erin Holtz, joined by English teacher and author Michael Leali, helped students experience creative writing in school and at home. They led students through the creative process and steps that go into writing, teaching lessons that helped expand the students’ skills.

Sept. 14 – Improv Wednesday

Student led improv performance on September 14th
Credit: Michael Skura

For students who were interested in the physically expressive side of art, OHS Theater hosted comedy skits in the Black Box Theater stage. The whole performance was led by students, allowing them to test the waters of being on stage and performing in front of their fellow peers. “It was cool seeing students go up to the stage and try out acting,” junior Vincent Bilbo, who was in the audience, said. “It may have even inspired some of the students to look into improv.” 

Sept. 15 – Dance Thursday

Pantherettes performing on September 15th
Credit: Michael Skura

OHS’s dance team, the Pantherettes, performed contemporary dances accompanied by various songs, all differing in emotion and theme. Some dances were executed with the grace of a ballerina, and others were meant to empower the audience, and raise the spirits of the students. Throughout their performance, they changed their formation, movement, and pace according to the song being played, allowing them to demonstrate what their practice has gone into creating. 

Sept. 16 – Jazz Occurrence Friday

Jazz Band Munjunje and artist Lewis Achenbach perform Jazz Occurrence on September 16
Credit: Ruby Williamson

Jazz band, Munjunje, and abstract painter, Lewis Achenbach, took to the stage and performed a musical number accompanied by Mr. Achenbach working on multiple pieces at a time. Members of the band would switch who would lead the act, allowing for a numerous amount of emotions and themes to be conveyed in their music. Mr. Achenbach would paint according to the pace of the music, painting faster and using more impacting colors and splatters as the pace would pick up and paint more gently as it slowed down, creating a piece with many different style techniques and emotions.

“It exposes creativity. It’s to show that the arts, and specifically creativity, is something that needs to be fostered, and that it’s not something that is just offered for extra curriculars. It’s something that I feel like we need for students to have a well rounded education,” Skura said. “It’s good to have something there where they can show their hard work and creative process.”

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I am a junior at OHS. This is my first year on staff as a news reporter and editor. I am interested in the gym and video games.

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