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Students dedicate summer to arts

 The cast of “Passion Play” poses with their musical instruments at the Newton Cultural Center.

by Peter Diamond

While some students spent the summer working jobs or attending camps, others spent the summer honing their skills in visual arts, music and theatre.

Visual arts

Senior Amalia Sweet attended a pre-college program at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), at which she studied painting, design, drawing and art history.
“The RISD pre-college program was simultaneously one of the most educating and exhausting experiences I have had,” said Sweet. “Though we were all working like crazy all the time, I made a lot of friends.”
The program helped her improve as an artist, she said.
“Critiques, though often a bit brutal, helped me be honest with my work and showed me areas in which I could improve,” she said. “Additionally, the opportunity to watch other people from all over the world produce art helped me gain a new appreciation for a wider variety of styles and approaches to art.”


Senior Chris D’Agostino chose to teach the arts for one week in the summer, as opposed to creating new  work himself. He was a counselor-in-training at Days in the Arts, a weeklong overnight camp in the Berkshires sponsored by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
“The primary goal of the camp is to immerse middle school students in the arts,” said D’Agostino. “A goal of the staff is to establish a non-judgmental environment, so the campers can try new activities, develop skills they never knew they had and thrive.”
A musician, freshman Henry McEwen studied chamber music, a form of music for small ensembles, at Point CounterPoint, a camp in Leicester, Vermont.
“It was honestly the most fun I’ve had in my life,” said McEwen. “It was my third year there, and it felt great to be somewhere with 45 people who enjoy the same things I do.”


Sophomore Will Champion performs in “Les Miserables” with the Weston Drama Workshop.

Some student actors participated in theatre programs. For example, junior Will Champion performed in the musical “Les Misérables” with Weston Drama Workshop, an education- and production-based theatre company  in Weston, Massachusetts for high school and college students.
“In these shows, the directors also help hone and fine tune the actors’ and singers’ skills, on top of putting on rather stellar productions,” said Champion.
Champion considered performing “Les Misérables” to be challenging yet rewarding.
“For those that don’t know, ‘Les Misérables’ is all sung through and rather depressing,” he said. “It’s emotionally and physically draining, but sort of stimulating, in a paradoxical manner. And yet, we, the directors and the cast, ended up creating something, if I do say so myself, magnificent that I’m going to remember fondly for years.”
Sophomore Aiden O’Neal, who also participated in Weston Drama Workshop, studied and performed musical theatre at Stagedoor Manor for the last three weeks of summer. Stagedoor Manor is a drama intensive in Loch Sheldrake, New York.
“I really enjoyed the classes there because I felt like I was able to learn a lot in a short time,” said O’Neal. “The people were really nice and welcoming, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a theatrical summer camp.”
Ten actors from this school participated in the third season of Circuit Theatre Company, a student-run theatre company founded in 2010 by Skylar Fox ’11.
This past summer, Circuit Theatre Company performed four plays, including a Boston area tour of “Passion Play” by Sarah Ruhl, featuring junior Juliet Roll.
“I had a fantastic experience in ‘Passion Play’ this summer,” said Roll. “It was hands-down the hardest I’ve ever worked for a show since we each played three distinct characters and also spent a lot of time analyzing the text.”
Roll described the summer as a perfect time to practice the arts.
“Theatre is super fun in the summer,” she said. “It’s fabulous and totally rewarding to spend your free months doing something creative that you love.”
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