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Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Art Celebration features Show-stopping Students

by Abby Cloud, Mansfield ISD PR Specialist

As I entered the familiar front doors of Martha Reid Elementary on the evening of April 7, I found myself in a pleasantly unexpected setting. I was greeted by a young man dressed in a clean black suit adorned with a nametag that read, “Fine Arts Docent.” The hallway was buzzing with the sound of classical music and the chatter of excited visitors, all of whom were there for one reason – to celebrate art.

I quickly realized this was no ordinary elementary school event. The students carried themselves with such impressive poise. It was plain to see they not only understood the idea of a fine arts show, they appreciated the importance of the event and behaved accordingly.

My attention was pulled toward the library, which was filled with an eclectic collection of artwork, contributed by middle and high school students of Mansfield ISD as well as local artists. Viewers of all ages studied and admired an assortment of paintings, drawings, ceramics and sculptures. I found myself forgetting I was in a school library. As I exited, another young Fine Arts Docent thanked me for coming and flashed a sincere smile.

As I walked toward the next exhibit, I enjoyed Pablo Picasso-inspired student artwork displayed throughout the hallway. Art truly was everywhere, which allowed for a seamless transition from one display to the next.

A brass and woodwind ensemble thundered throughout the gymnasium. The volunteer performers were from the Mansfield High School Tiger Band and Jazz Choir. This mini-concert showcased the level of skill cultivated by MISD’s music programs. As the Martha Reid parents in the audience admired the soloists, it seemed as though they were envisioning the musical potential of their own children.

Wigley and Lemke

The 3rd grade performance in the cafeteria drew the largest crowd of all. Several classes joined to present a series of songs entitled, “Celebration of Music!” The three musical pieces showcased a wide range of cultural influence. Students played barred xylophones and metallophones, also known as Orff instruments, named after Carl Orff, a 20th century German composer. Tubano, djembe and bongo drums were used in an Irish folk song called “Patsy Ory Ory Aye.” The students also sang a song in Latin called “Dona Nobis Pacem,” meaning “Grant Us Peace.”

Throughout the evening I was treated as a welcome and respected guest at a professional art show. The event highlighted the students and staff of Martha Reid Elementary School and demonstrated the wealth of opportunities made possible by Mansfield ISD Fine Arts programs. Special thanks to music teacher Bridgett Wigley and art teacher DeAnna Lemke, whose hard work and love of art made this extraordinary event possible.

In the end, the Spring Celebration of Arts was an evening dedicated to celebrating the students, who will always be our brightest stars.