By GRACE LIU & VARSHA BADAVIDE
From March 11 to March 15, UHS’ campus bustled with activity, excitement, and most importantly, art, as UHS ASB hosted its annual Fine Arts Week. It is an event that showcases all the visual and performing arts programs at UHS.
“We started planning Fine Arts week around 1-2 months in advance,” Fine Arts Commissioner, senior Rojan Javaheri said. “I think the most important part of it is to communicate well with the VAPA [Visual and Performing Arts] teachers and to have activities that everyone can contribute, to like finger painting, face painting and tie dying. I’m excited for every single day, honestly.”
Fine Arts Week kicked off with a performance by UHS Jazz Band on Monday, along with face-painting and bracelet-making.
Monday lunch was the first event of the week, featuring UHS Jazz Band, who performed four pieces in the crossroads: “Oh Lady, Be Good,” “Cottontail,” “God Bless the Child” and “Cubauza.”
“The solos sounded the best they’ve been, especially the saxophone trade off in ‘Cubauza,’ [performed by juniors Samuel Dishon and Sam Ghahremani] probably because of the energy of the crowd and hearing yourself through a PA for the first time,” junior Jaimin Patel said. “I want people to take that there’s more to Uni arts that classical music, we have a more energetic/free side.”
Additional lunch activities included tie-dying Uni Arts Core T-shirts, face-painting and finger painting, allowing Uni students to see not only the talent of their fellow classmates, but also giving them a hands-on opportunity to explore their own creativity.
On Tuesday, students joined various performing arts groups in the gym for the highly anticipated Fine Arts Assembly, the primary showcase of UHS’s performing arts programs.
The split-schedule assembly was run by the Fine Arts Commissioners, Javaheri and senior Angelina Ross. The assembly started with a performance of the Star Spangled Banner by the Madrigals, the most advanced choir group. Color Guard performed a piece called “Joy,” featuring intricate sunflower-themed flags, props and choreography.
“What I wanted most for people to take away from our performance was that the arts do not just exist in visuals or sound alone,” sophomore Tara Nguyen said. “Art can be anything, and anything can be art, and I think color guard is a perfect example of how the arts can incorporate so many different aspects in a single piece.”
Wind Symphony, the top band, under band director Mr. Corey Heddon, performed two movements from Vincent Persichetti’s “Divertimento.” In preparation, Wind Symphony has been working on different musical aspects including styling, pitch and tone.
“There’s a lot of people with really cool talents you don’t expect in arts or academics or whatever so I’d like people to see the work some people put into what they love,” principal oboist, junior William Huang said. “I personally know a lot of people who dedicate hours to music but you would never expect it…so it’d be cool for their hard work to get some recognition.”
Dance Company performed two pieces: a hip hop piece choreographed by junior Danielle Lee and a larger group performance choreographed by dance director Mr. Edward Johnson. The hip hop piece garnered great popularity, while the second piece was inspired by the capture of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. It was a unique performance featuring four main dancers dressed as the characters Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow, as well as others as flying monkeys.
“There’s a misconception that art is supposed to be beautiful and uplifting, and anything that deviates from it is not truly artistic – something I hope the audience can capture from our two vastly different pieces,” junior Diya Chakraborti said. “I want people to recognize the dance encompasses a variety of styles and can express any emotion.”
The Madrigals choir performed “Wade in Water”, arranged by Moses Hogan. The performance also featured three soloists: senior Christie Snug, junior Kyle Annett and sophomore Sydney Spencer.
“The Fine Arts Assembly is one of our biggest events so we made sure to practice the song consistently, fine-tuning it so that we’d have it perfected and sounding impressive by the time of the assembly,” junior Clare Jun said.
UHS’ Symphonic Orchestra performed the song “Hoedown” by Aaron Copland, a traditional American piece.
“I’m most excited for seeing all the performing groups come together and display our talents, especially for orchestra, which doesn’t really have much time to shine in school-wide settings,” junior Jingwen Hu said.
The assembly concluded with the musical cast performing two numbers from How to Succeed in Business Without Trying: “How to” and “Coffee Break.” In preparation for the assembly, the cast and the crew spent countless hours, practicing and building.
“We have been preparing by performing our show three times so far, as well as the months of rehearsals prior to the show opening. I am most excited for the school to see what we’ve been pouring our hearts into making! The musical features 107 students in the cast, crew and pit, who have all spent long hours dedicated to making the show a success,” said junior Emi Nishida. “I want anyone watching who has not yet seen the musical to be inspired to come watch our last three nights of show.”
During Wednesday office hours, the UHS Dance Company hosted a workshop to teach students a piece of choreography taken from one of the many dance pieces to be performed in the UHS Dance Department’s annual show. The choreography presented was a latin dance number performed to “California Dreaming” by Sia, and it was taught by sophomore Victoria Cheng. With a great turnout, the students present were absorbed and engaged in the energetic choreography, picking up dance moves almost immediately.
“I thought [the workshop] was very fun,” junior Jordan Lee said. “[The dance company members] were very good at making people feel comfortable and welcome.”
Students were divided into several groups after Cheng taught a few sets of the choreography to showcase their new dance skills in front of each other.
“It went [really] well…Everyone was super supportive and we all tried our best,” junior Dance Company member Lucy Chen said. “I think we could have taught a little bit more. Nonetheless, everyone enjoyed it.”
Wednesday’s lunch activities also gave students the opportunity to join one another in the MPR to paint along to a relaxing Bob Ross tutorial.
Thursday marked the fourth day of Fine Arts Week, and the Undertones and the Footnotes, two student-run acapella groups at UHS performed at Latin Hill during Lunch. The Undertones, dressed in black shirts, performed “Writing’s On The Wall” by The Nor’easters, while the Footnotes, dressed in white sweaters, performed a medley from the Greatest Showman.
“The performance was a great medium for individuals involved in various art forms to gather and create synergy,” junior Mansi Solanki said. “I feel that the expression of emotions through music is one of the most genuine ways of releasing any pent up thoughts.”
Along with the performances, there was free hot chocolate served for students, as well as a friendship bracelet making activity.
Fine Arts Week concluded on Friday with a lively performance by the Library Fund in front of the Big Theatre. Featuring seniors Amrut Ayyala, Rojan Javaheri, Lee McEligot, Daniel Bolotin and James Wang, Library Fund performed a multitude of songs. They began their performance with two original songs, before following with covers of “Wish I Knew You” by the Revivalists, “Rocket Man” by Elton John, “Cold Cold Man” by Saint Motel, “Treasure” by Bruno Mars and “New Light” by John Mayer. Friday was also the last day for students to view the fine arts gallery, “348.”
“The mood of everything, with the music and the face painting and the tie-dying, everything was just [so] fun and nice,” junior Sophia Zekria said. “The environment was really enjoyable.”
Ultimately, Fine Arts Week was an opportunity for students to develop new appreciation for UHS’ different programs. It also provided the chance for students to find their own niches, and perhaps become inspired to join groups where they may find their place on campus.
“My freshman year, when I saw the Madrigals Choir perform at the Fine Arts Assembly, it was that moment that I decided that I would find the courage to audition for choir,” Jun said. “I hope that there were some freshman Clare’s in the audience…who saw our performance and thought about joining choir because it’s definitely been one of the best experiences of my high school career, and I hope that more people will get to experience it.”
“Uni has such an amazing arts program and everyone in each visual and performing art works really hard to improve,” Javaheri said. “It should be spotlighted for the school to enjoy.”