Celebration of the Arts: A night of district-wide appreciation

Student artwork in the 30s hallways. On the right, are student submissions for firefighter t-shirt proposals created by Art Production 1 and 2.

Abigail Roedersheimer, News Editor

On March 14 from 6-8 p.m., Laguna Beach High School hosted the Celebration of the Arts in the English and history halls, Greene Room and Artists’ Theatre. 

The night included performances from the combined Top of the World/El Morro Strings and Band, LBHS Strings and Band, LBHS Jazz Band, LBHS Dance and a performance preview of the LBHS production of Mamma Mia. In addition, students from all school sites posted art of their choice on the walls. Many students listed their pieces for sale at varying prices. 

Sarah Wolsey, the K-5 Visual and Performing Arts ToSA (Teacher on Special Assignment), started planning the elementary portion of the night in August with the Visual and Performing Arts team. 

“I loved the pride that students had in their work. It was exciting to see the community come together to celebrate something as important as the arts,” said Wolsey.

Rachel Blanco, an LBHS student, emceed the performances at the event. 

“It was a great opportunity to show different sides to the whole Laguna Beach school district,” said Blanco.

The combined El Morro and TOW strings performed an array of songs, including “First Scale March.” The El Morro and TOW band performed songs like “Go Big Red,” played in the Patriot’s Day Parade, and “Ode to Joy,” a new song they recently rehearsed. 

“They meet once a week after school to practice,” said Richard Hartford, the El Morro and TOW band instructor. “We wanted a chance to showcase these pieces that they have worked so hard on.” 

Jeremy Chung, the LBHS band and strings teacher, was also grateful to have the chance to perform. 

“We were thrilled to have the string ensemble to perform for this event,” said Chung. 

The ensemble played songs that varied from classical toBroadway to rock. 

As for the artwork displayed, students from all four district schools contributed their pieces to don the walls of LBHS. 

Ivy Leighton, the Thurston Middle School Art and Yearbook Teacher, picked the art representing the school from current classes of 6th, 7th and 8th graders, as well as art from fall classes.

I think the best thing all in all was seeing all the students and families, showing pride in their work,” said Leighton.

High school studio art students submitted three to five pieces from their “gallery unit” to feature. They had the option for their work to be put anywhere. Proposals for individual space went through the department and district to hang installations or collections of work.

“[I really appreciated] the bonding of the arts department. We have a lot of students complain about the blank hallways, and to me it’s like a giant gallery,” said LBHS art teacher Jamie Kough. “A lot of teachers have said it’s nice to have color in the hallways.”

AP Ceramics students and some Ceramics 2 students also displayed their work. They are making about 25 pieces this year, and almost every artist has a shelf dedicated to their work. 

“Parent feedback about how much it meant to them made it all worth it in the end,” said Selway.