Owl News and Blog

2017 Arts Department Achievements
Posted 06/19/2017 01:49PM

Alexander Mischel with Director Ray Karns at the Cappies Gala

It has been a remarkable year for Wakefield's Arts Department. On Sunday, June 11, Wakefield Junior, Alexander Mischel, who had received one of five nominations in the Metro DC/MD/VA region won the Cappies award for Best Actor in a Play for his gripping and memorable performance in The Elephant Man, a dramatic telling of the life of John Merrick, a severely deformed man of late 19th-century London. Compared to other high schools participating in the Cappies Program, most of whom are public schools and have many times the enrollment of Wakefield's Upper School, this was a particularly proud moment for Wakefield's Arts Department. This is the second time in the last four years that a Wakefield actor has won this top prize at the annual Kennedy Center Gala, and it is truly an astounding distinction and recognition of the talent of Wakefield students. Eloise Colón, '18 received a Commendation Award from the Cappies for her skillful lighting design and operation in The Elephant Man. Members of the Class of 2017, Tianshu Wu (flute) and Anya Parks (viola), achieved auditioned positions as members of the Cappies Gala Kennedy Center Orchestra, and performed in a very challenging awards format program for this celebration.

Chloe Osborn, "Senior Chairs"

In addition to this prestigious award, for the second year in a row, Wakefield School has a winning student artist featured in the prestigious Southern Teachers Agency calendar contest. Southern Teachers Agency, located in Charlottesville, VA is a premier placement service for private and independent schools in the South. Tenth grader, Chloe Osborn's watercolor, Senior Chairs, was chosen for one of the coveted twelve slots from hundreds of entries coming from states as far north as Pennsylvania and as far west as Texas. The calendar contest asked high school students to "focus on a distinctive, recognizable feature of a campus building or structure of the school attended by the artist." Anyone familiar with Wakefield knows that the Adirondack chairs, traditionally enjoyed by Seniors in their garden, are a classic element of the school's picturesque campus. Chloe completed her watercolor in her Studio One class, under the guidance of art teacher, Teresa Duke. In addition to being published in the 8th Southern Teachers Agency calendar, Chloe was also awarded a certificate of commendation and $50.00 gift certificate compliments of Blick Art Materials.

As a student centric school, the Performing Arts Program petitioned the student led Arts Council for a new way to encapsulate the end of the year awards and celebrations at Wakefield, which resulted in the first Annual Arts Gala. Held in the two story art gallery and classrooms, the building was bursting with spectators enjoying musical and theatrical performances, artistic demonstrations, and an award ceremony facilitated by the students. Eloise Colon and Kayla Swede, the respective SAC President and Vice-President, inaugurated the leadership of this new student activity and developed and led the membership in an amazing first year of arts activities. Other members of the SAC include Grace Seaborn, Alexander Mischel, Lee Perritt, Gracie Sacripanti, Chris Wagner, Audrey Brown, Kristen Guiney, Hannah Tonney, Justine Jones, Brittany Leggott, Chloe Osborn, Sara Rheintgen, Ethan Rosenfeld, Allie Adrian, Lauren Bacchus, Brie Handford, Kylee Hendrie, Inara Junkala, Charlie McKee, Claire Thompson, and Michael Wei. Congratulations to our new Student Arts Council!

The young artists shared their talents with the community at large by displaying twenty-four pieces of work at the George Washington University's Ashburn campus in the 10th district show and twenty-one students participated in this year's Piedmont Regional Show. The Congressional Art Show season proved successful as well. In the 5th district, Molly Cesanek's, '19 graphite drawing, "Shapes in Space," received an Honorable mention. Additionally, Congressman Garrett was so impressed with the Wakefield work that he asked to display Molly's piece along with Conchita Edmundson's,'19 colored pencil drawing, "Cuttlefish," and Sadie Bushara's, '18 graphite drawing, "Untitled - Camera Being Held" for the next year in his D.C. office.

In addition, a very appreciative group of twenty-two students and their faculty chaperones attended a performance of Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This modern setting of a classic Italian opera was performed by the Washington National Opera, and the evening's performance was a special presentation of young artists by the Domingo Cafritz Foundation. With gratitude to our host benefactor, The Plains neighbor Mrs. Jacqueline Badger Mars, Chairman of the Washington National Opera Board of Trustees, our Wakefield students have now had a second opportunity to attend two very different operas. Appomattox, our first exposure, and now Madame Butterfly, could not be more diverse in their compositional styles of this classic art form, and it was delightful to hear our Upper School students developing the ability to compare them with newfound skills and interests of young reviewers. We are grateful to Mrs. Mars for her ongoing support of the arts, and especially for her generosity in providing our students and faculty chaperones an extraordinary opportunity and privilege.

Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten performing "Goldilocks - A mixed up Fairytale"

The school year ended with an original musical play, Goldilocks - A mixed up Fairytale, written by Arts Department Chair, Chris Mulligan. Marked by amusing costumes and a very colorful set, the lines for their characters were written by the Kindergarten students, and delivered with confidence for an appreciative audience of parents, guests, faculty and staff members, and their First Grade peers! The program also included some French songs, a patriotic barnstormer, and some jazzy songs played by Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten on their classroom rhythm instruments.

We are grateful to have such talented students and supportive teachers to aid our young artists and performers in achieving their goals, reaching for endless heights and pursuing their passions. We look forward to another year of artistic explorations.

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