GALLERY: Arts Festival retrospective

By on May 12, 2017



It’s been a week now since the wrap-up of the two-week-long School District 58 Arts Festival, and the applause continues to resonate, and the positive feedback to filter in.

” The district fine arts team did a fantastic job. We’ve received a lot of great letters and comments, and we’re really looking forward to getting together at the end of the month to make plans for the future,” said SD 58 assistant superintendent Dr. Christine Perkins. “So much excitement was generated; there’s definitely going to be another one.”

Perkins went on to add, “[The Arts Festival] was a magnificent public display of all the tremendous fine arts programs that are taking place in our school system, and in our community. It included both the visual and performing arts. The kids loved it, and so did all those who came out to see the various presentations.”

The Arts Festival organizing team was comprised of representatives from all the schools in SD 58 (including Princeton) and several members of the community. The group also received valuable assistance from the Nicola Valley Arts Council.

“It was a complete community collaboration, and celebration of the arts,” said Perkins. “There was a lot of work behind the scenes, from finances, advertising and transportation to the booking of venues and arranging for equipment. “I really have Shannon Dunn in Merritt and Amber Herbison in Princeton to thank for leading the way, and the entire fine arts team itself for putting it all together,. There was really a lot of work done.”

“Each member of the team took on one part of the festival, and the others supported them. It helped to spread the work load around. That’s what the arts are – collaboration.”

“It fits in so well with the new curriculum, and the festival’s theme. Learning nowadays is all about co-operation and teamwork, and going deeper and deeper into a big idea. And it’s not just about learning for now, but for a lifetime,” said Perkins.

The Arts Festival had so many components over the course of the two weeks, beginning with a talent showcase, Step Into the Spotlight, at Merritt Secondary School on April 24. Musicians, dancers and even jugglers from both the elementary and secondary schools were showcased.

On April 25, the theatre arts program at Merritt Secondary presented a delightful play entitled Murder in the Heir – an interactive murder-mystery-comedy that had audience members at times on the edge of their seats, and at other times in stitches.

April 26 was the official opening of the visual arts display at the Civic Centre, with over 500 multi-media pieces by students from throughout the district from K to 12.

On the same day, students from Central Elementary School, under the direction of James Clark, presented the musical Dreamcatcher to an audience of over 400 of their peers, also at the Civic Centre.

April 27 saw the grand opening of another visual arts display at the Courthouse Gallery on Nicola Avenue. It’s Not only Black and White featured primarily works by senior art students from MSS.

The first week of the Arts Festival wrapped up a talent show at Bench Elementary School, an art walk at Diamond Vale Elementary, and Jazz Dessert Night at Merritt Secondary School, with special guests The Justin Glibbery Quintet from Penticton.

The Bench Talent Show

The Diamond Vale Art Walk

The MSS Jazz Dessert Night

Week two of the festival kicked off with Music Monday, a collaborative, district-wide band workshop that had elementary band students from each of the local schools working and playing alongside their counterparts from the Merritt Secondary band program.

May 2 featured An Enchanted Evening of Dance at the Civic Centre. The gala performance showcased young performers from the local Love To Dance Academy, as well as from area schools.

On May 3, the MSS fine arts department offered an Artists Space Workshop as part of its Choice Block options. Students were introduced to a variety of media by local artists working in the community.

A Celebration of Music highlighted the second-last day of the Arts Festival. The evening included performances by the Nicola Valley Community Band, by the Naramata Community Choir, the Kamloops Men’s Chorus, and the LTD Academy.

The Nicola Valley Community Band

Love To Dance Academy

Naramata Community Choir

Kamloops Men’s Chorus

The fabulous two weeks of the arts concluded with a photography show at Brambles Bakery entitled The Student’s Eye – featuring the works of Photography 11/12 students at Merritt Secondary School.


All in all, this year’s SD 58 Arts Festival was a magnificent endeavour that students and organizers should be very proud of.

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